How to sharpen a fish fillet knife

How to Sharpen a Fillet Knife Correctly (With Videos)

Are you a passionate angler who likes to fillet their catch? You need to know that you will require the services of a filleting knife in your daily activities (duh!).

If you are new to filleting, a sharp fillet knife is a very important tool when it comes to separating bones from your fish.

Unfortunately, the filleting knife is perhaps the hardest when it comes to sharpening mostly because it is highly flexible and narrow, making it difficult to hold in place.

Do not worry though, we are here to teach you how to improve your knife sharpening skills and do it right as well.

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Basic Rules for Sharpening a Fillet Knife

Sharpening of knives just involves rubbing of the knife’s sharp edge on another rough surface right?

Well, there is a little difference when it comes to filleting knives in terms of how to do it and the various ways to do it.

Below, we have discussed the fundamental details on how to sharpen a fillet knife at home – the DIY style.

The burr

The burr refers to the elevated piece of metal that forms when two edges rub against each other. When you see a blur, it is the first indication that your knife is getting sharpened.

You can always feel the burr even though it is not visible at times. Note that the burr runs from the heel toward the tip when sharpening is successful.

What's the burr of a fillet knife?

Sharpening Consistency

Maintaining the same angle while sharpening your fillet knife sounds easy, but that is hardly the case. It takes a lot of patience and practice to learn how to do it.

And it is important as well if you want a successful outcome.

The Sharpening Technique

As you sharpen your filleting knife, it is highly likely that you will have to decide whether you want a polished or coarse edge.

For filleting however, you will require a polished edge since you will be cutting through meat fibers and pushing them aside.

You will not have to spend a lot on maintenance of a polished edge because it is more durable. A coarse edge on the other hand wears out faster meaning that you will have to lay yourself open to more sustenance costs.

The Process of Sharpening a Fillet Knife

Regardless of whether you are a chef, fish monger, or angler that has to prepare fish for eating, the fillet knife plays a crucial role.

That said, you need to have a sharp fillet knife at hand for effective and safe filleting of fish.

Now, there are several tools you can use to sharpen your fillet knife depending on your budget and where you are.

For instance, there is no way you can use a corded electric sharpener while you are out in the water fishing.

Why? It is quite obvious that there will be no supply of electricity in your boat and you would have to use other methods to get your knife sharp.

With a Sharpening Stone

If you are the conventional type, you might find yourself inclined to sharpen your fillet knife with a whetstone most of the time and that is not a bad thing either.

The whetstone does come with its own benefits, and the biggest one is the level of control you will have while sharpening your knife.

If you have invested in purchasing your fillet knife, getting a diamond or whetstone to learn this ancient method of sharpening is definitely worth it.

Here’s a helpful video on how to to this (using a sharpening stone):

With an Electric Sharpener

If you are the kind of person that likes simple and quick fixes, then the electric sharpener is your best bet. Most electric sharpeners involve at least two stages – the actual sharpening of the knife and honing stage.

Fortunately, regardless of the electric sharpener model you pick, the sharpening principles remain constant.

Using an Accusharp Tool

Imagine a scenario where you are out in the water and need to sharpen your fillet knife. Of course, using either a whetstone or electrical sharpener would be close to impossible for obvious reasons.

An accusharp tool is a handy and portable tool that offers an easy way to sharpen your knife while you are on the move since it does not require an electric connection.

Using a Sharpening Rod

Once you are done sharpening your fillet knife, you can slide your knife over a round metal steel to polish it.

You may want to do this at the same angle you used with a sharpening stone. It is also important to slide the knife in the opposite direction from you if you are not an expert at doing this.

If you need something that can do quick touch ups on your fillet knife, there are several filing tools in the market that can do that.

Now that we are through with the basics of sharpening a fillet knife, let us look at the Rapala knife, which is pretty much the same as a fillet knife but worth looking at anyway.

How to Sharpen a Rapala Fillet Knife

As an angler or chef, you know that using a blunt knife is neither safe nor effective. This is because a blunt knife requires you to exert additional effort, not forgetting that the knife can easily snap on your hands and end up injuring you.

Therefore, having a sharp knife at hand is actually necessary and sometimes even compulsory if you want to deliver exceptional results.

It is also easy to miss your target while using a blunt knife, which means you, could end up hurting whoever is around you.

Regrettably, most people have no idea how to sharpen their fillet knives and for this reason, we are going to disclose the different means of sharpening your Rapala fillet knife.

Here’s a helpful video on how to do this, step-by-step.

With a sharpening stone

With a sharpening stone, you will have greater control over the level of sharpness your Rapala knife should have. Keep in mind though, that this method requires unmatchable skills to be effective.

This is because you could either destroy your knife or get a really sharp knife. With the sharpening stone, the final result relies on the technique and angle used.

The Technique

Sharpening a fillet knife with a stone is quite easy. Just assume that you are slicing something and slide the sharp edge of your knife over the stone.

This method has been proven to be effective in sharpening knives, but you should be careful about the angle in order to keep yourself safe.

With an Electric sharpener

Just as we mentioned before, the electric sharpener is the easiest and simplest way to sharpen your fillet knife and not any different with the Rapala knife.

No effort would be required from your end because this sharpener does everything. There are two stages involved while using this sharpener as we have previously mentioned.

One thing we need to emphasize is that you need to take more time at the honing stage to prevent your knife from becoming dull.

Actually, we do recommend putting your knife through this stage for as long as possible.

Using a sharpening rod

Just like with regular filleting knives, using a rod to sharpen your Rapala filleting knife requires you to follow the same instructions of the sharpening stone.

You will need to slide your knife over the sharpening rod and away from you but if you cannot do it, leave it to an expert.

Again, the sliding angle is important for your safety and successful sharpening. Alternatively, you can use a filling tool to sharpen your knife.

A filling tool is something that can fit into your pocket like a pocket knife so it is easier to pull out when required.

If your Rapala knife often becomes blunt after several sessions of filleting, this tool will come in handy.

With an Accusharp tool

Using Accusharp Tool to sharpen fillet knife

buttonThis is the best tool to own and use while on the move. It is mainly used by anglers since there is no electricity in boats to use the electric sharpener.

Aside from the convenience it offers, this tool is easy to use as well. All it takes to sharpen your knife is placing it on a flat surface and ensure that the cutting edge faces up.

After that, take your accusharp tool and place it on the v-shaped section of your knife and then just slide it repeatedly until you get to the level of sharpness you require.

In Conclusion

You are now equipped with all the knowledge you need to know how to sharpen your fillet knife. Not as hard as you had imagined right?

All you have to do is get the fundamentals right and everything else will fall into place.

Another thing to remember is that practice makes perfect so trying out all the methods we discussed will help you settle on the best choice for sharpening your fillet knife.

Further Reading

Review of the Best Electric Fillet Knife: Meet the Top 8

Boning Knife vs Fillet Knife: Insightful Head to Head Comparison

Erick Thompson

Hi, I'm a fishing & kayaking enthusiast who enjoys sharing tips and tidbits with newbies, intermediates, and experienced anglers alike.

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