Ice fishing is still going on in many areas. But even if you’re not a fan, its not too early to get gear prepared for spring fishing.
A good filleting knife can make processing the day’s catch a lot easier.
Last year, I tested Bubba Blades filleting knives and was curious to see if the relatively expensive products stood up to the hype.
All filleting knives from Bubba Blade are made from 8CR13MOV stainless steel, which is low- to mid-grade steel manufactured in China.
The blades are Teflon coated and full tang in the handle. The upswept trailing point blades come in a variety of sizes from seven to 12 inches, tapered or standard width, and either flexible or stiff.
All Bubba Blade knives share a comfortable handle design. The combination of synthetic handle material and surface texture gives a sure grip even in semi-wet conditions such as a fish shack or the shoreline.
I selected the nine inch model with standard blade and flex. It came with a functional but unremarkable synthetic sheath.
The blade was reasonably sharp out of the box but required honing before it was suitable.
The test knife felt capable and responsive, despite the larger blade. The edge cut and sliced well once it was satisfactorily sharp. The curve of the blade coupled with the ergonomics of the handle gave a feeling of confidence, even in smaller cutting tasks.
The geometry of the cutting edge really made the Bubba Blade fillet knife perform. The curve and distance of the edge to the hand felt outstanding. The Teflon coating seemed to reduce friction when slicing through meat. The synthetic handle material and coated blade were easy to clean after use.
I selected a Bubba Blade that was supposed to have flex but found its suppleness to be limited.
The test knife was unable to retain a good edge through a day’s catch of adult northern pikes and walleyes, tearing rather than slicing the last fish. This is likely a sign of the 8CR13MOV stainless steel coupled with poor blade heat treatment in manufacturing.
The Bubba Blade filleting knives can be bought for $60 to $70, depending on what features and size are selected.
I was impressed with the handle and overall ergonomics of the knife but was disappointed with the blade’s poor edge retention.
Fillet knives are available on the market that perform better overall for less money.
Kim Quintin is a Saskatoon outdoor enthusiast and knife maker. He can be reached for column content suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 306-665-9687.