Great Lakes Angler Blog

Proper Sharpening is Key to Safe, Effective Filleting By Stan Watson

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Share |

The fisherman’s fillet knife is a truly specialized tool. Good fillet knives have strong, comfortable handles and thin, flexible blades. These thin blades tend to roll over more easily and dull more quickly than the thicker blades on chopping knives, so fillet knives require special treatment to keep them up to the task of quickly, efficiently and safely filleting a freshly caught fish. This special handling includes proper sharpening, preferably with precise diamond sharpening stones.

One of the keys to proper sharpening is ensuring that the knife blade meets the stone at a consistently correct angle. A guided sharpening system like the DMT Diamond Machining Technology Aligner Pro Kit helps to assure this. DMT’s Kit utilizes a seven-angle adjustable clamp to hold the blade at a pre-determined slant so there is no fluctuation in the angle at which the blade meets the stone during the sharpening process. It takes the guesswork out of sharpening and ensures the bevel on your fillet knife will return to the manufacturer’s specifications so you can continue to properly prepare your catch for grilling, frying or sautéing.

Guided sharpening guarantees success. It helps you avoid over-sharpening and wasting blade life, which improves performance and protects your investment. If you’re like most serious anglers, you take pride in using the best equipment. That means you likely have an $85 to $150 fillet knife in your tackle box—and a knife costing that much demands thorough, regular sharpening.

If you choose to use the guided sharpening system in the DMT Aligner Pro Kit, set the guide rods to the lowest possible angle and place the clamp in the center of the spine of the blade. You should always sharpen both sides of the blade using the same number of strokes. DMT’s Diamond Sharpening Stones do not need lubrication, but you can use water if you wish (do not use oil). One more piece of advice: Take your time. Diamond sharpening technology does make sharpening quicker (approximately 10 times faster than conventional abrasives), but you still need to be careful whenever you are working with knives.As long as you are sharpening regularly, you will only need two grits: fine and extra fine (diamond whetstones in both of these grits are included in DMT's Aligner Pro Kit). You should only use a coarse grit (also included in the Kit) if you’re attempting to salvage a damaged blade. Use light strokes with the fine grits, otherwise you run the risk of removing too much material and shortening your blade’s life.

There’s nothing like sitting down to enjoy a meal including fresh fish, especially if the fish just came off your hook. Next time you’re prepping the daily catch, take a few minutes to sharpen your fillet knife. You’ll be glad you did.

Stan Watson is the technical director for Diamond Machining Technology, manufacturer of a full line of Made in the USA diamond sharpening tools for use in woodworking, camping, fishing, hunting, outdoor and winter sports, culinary arts, gardening, police/security and industrial applications. He is the holder of 11 engineering patents in the sharpening industry. He can be reached at

GlAngler Subscription

Recent Posts


Shoremaster Niagara Falls Gravity Deep Sea Diver MATE USA Autotether Side Imaging WeatherStation dock lines MUSHING GPS for Lightning Connector Tournament Grade Circle Hooks blue marlin Hamlin NMEA AmVets Ranger Aluminum Deep V Series award fitness Andrew Semprevivo Global Spectrum Tournament Titan Chain 580P lenses Lip-Stix Trout Unlimited Traditions Media Streams Topwater Delorme Marine General KVD Speedbag Wormfile Fuel DuraSafe Minn Kota Bug bite relief ice fishing, Bro Show, Traditions Media Okuma Minnesota Swim Whizz U.S.S.A. Speakers Lake Assault Muskie Lure BASSMASTER CLASSIC Berkley Hobie Northwest Indiana Steelheaders LCWCC Owners tournament Spencer Yachts Launch ramp spinning rod Oshkosh Clay Dyer Ultracoat Izaak Walton League High school bass fishing Betsy inReach iPad Goby Beckson Marine Marcum St. Croix Husky Jerk YUM Dinger InvisaSnap Jeff's Tackle Shop JVD Ditty bag Coast Guard Walleye tournament Lake Huron USO DuraSafe Electronics Lock Glacier Glove Frabill Brian "Bro" Brosdahl Plano Size limits Lake Erie Mack's Lures Ranger Boats Lowrance SOG USSA Lead SeaEra QC Catch & Cook 360 Rovermax LR 100 Fish Hawk XD4 STRATTEC Extended Warranty NAIFC Championship Aqua Vu Michigan City, Indiana Conservation Marathon Extreme Baitcast Reel Coleman cooler Shelter Matt Straw Sun protection Kayak Trade Shows Prosepec Electronics Slender Spoon Boga Smartfind S20 Personal AIS Beacon Scott Martin Bro Brosdahl Wild River series Cabela's Home Port Marine Marketing Audio EZ BoatPort DSC Wisconsin Holland Mystery Tackle Box Silver Horde Dogs Team Aqua-Vu South Haven Lake trout VMC JBL Green Bay Magnum Flow-Troll Micro-Mobile Pro Viewing Case Indiana DNR Whistler Spoon Dan Egan Ryan Wilson Frigibar Lund Future Fisherman Foundation Promise Keeper Chatterbait CLASSIC RAT FINKEE Slide Moor mudsnail The Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls Aluminum Deep V Series Ranger Knives Earth Day Orca Fin System Apps hardbaits Bait head Footwear GPS Speedometer Ice Features Multi-species Hevi-Beads Plano Tackle Boxes LakeMaster Western States Version Andrew Dordek Air show Normark Hunting Tackle Bag Boating safety Marine NewsWire Alaska Shock Wave Vick LOTSA Angler 175T exotic species Dave Mull Blog SeaLife Cameras Insurance Sunstream Boat Lifts Chicago barrier Evinrude CUSTOM JIGS 'N' SPINS Mary Snyder Lock Iaconelli BASSMASTER Uncle Norm's Rescue Grady-White Hobie Pro Angler Davis Instruments Keep Kool Olcott, NY Shoes Mark Chmura binoculars Mag Light Onyx Mark Zona Wildlife Forever Bristol Bay Bad Elf Evolve New Zealand Chaco Line Mustad Rippin Lips Bass Pro Shops Four-Person Dome Tent with Screen Porch Todd Sokolow CMP Global Practical Sailor Martin-Flory Sheldon's Innovative Outdoors Gill NA Bass Pro Shops Reese Acme marlin Alabama Rig Jeff Wenzel Ultimate Flannel Shirts HELLA John E. Phillips Smart Guide to Freshwater Fishing Tyee redfish ATV Beckson Marine Stowaway Bag Plates and Kits Personal Flotation Devices Brad's Mr. Twister Sphaera Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo Bass fishing Homeport Marine Marketing Gull Lake Marine Mack's Lure toilet iPilot Link 1675 Pro Guide Costa Sunglasses Tracker Marine Beckson Lake of the Woods Army Corp of Engineers Steve Wood WileyX Ditch Fort Wayne, Indiana Glorvigen Masters Walleye Circuit Venice, Louisiana Bethel University Oculus Moisture Muncher Records McMurdo Marsh Madness Tommy Skarlis Downriggers Accon Marine University of Buffalo Black Earth Creek Swedish FireKnife Coleman Snow-Shoe Tip-Up jigs Boat US Contest Stabenow USCGA Bob Schmidt Lake Michigan Synergy Outdoors spoon OHIO Conservation Rain suit Strike King Rough Weather Great Lakes Troller Angler Costa Del Mar clubs METS Bibs Kevin VanDam ABT Sportsman's rights Pro Polish Dave Mull Camera mount Brite Wash Chronglobal Michigan DNR Raritan EZ Splice Fasteners Turning Point Props Lakemaster Radial Electronics radar Kurt Mazurek Cannon Free Fishing Weekend Ranger VS1780 Nautical Tight Lines Jewelry B.A.S.S. Brown trout Gary Giudice Manistee Radio Bait Rigs iPhone New Lures Storage Bristol Bay Salmon Serious Shine Sport Shows Rapala Gene Larew AKOYA Headgear Grand Rapids Ultimate Outdoors Show Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Clam BOLT Padlock Monel Metal Marine Radio eZSplice LineSnubber Beckson Marine Stowaway Bag Plate ShowSpan Legend Extreme KVD Foul weather gear Jerky Baitcast Fishing Pole BBQ Lighter ChartSelect Brian Brosdahl News Rods Lund Boats Catfish Balog great lakes Power Blue Heron Communications The Harry Lure LineGrabber Contaminants Boat Covers Kevin Van Dam Simrad Volvo Penta Tip-Up Bass Pro ABT X-2 Countdown Line Recycle Bin Custom Jigs & Spins Ethanol Bait Holder Oakley Sunglasses Youth Wake Fishing tackle storage Boat lifts Bass Pro Shops Gift Card EZ Dock Port of Indiana boat rental exotic invader tree stand injury Skamania Mania Blue Collar Outdoors Ascend Safety Soft Jigwobbler Yamaha ATV FLW Rubrail National Guard Grab Rail Traxstech Dollahon Northland Swim bait YUMphibian ODNR Marine Speakers Lake Ontario Aquatic AV Tim Popfinger Navigation BoatUS News/Social iPilot USCG Shipping Smart Guide Publications Boat maintenance sunglass Full Throttle Barry Brown Marine Accessories Technology Seakeeper gyro Crankbait Net Green Bay, Wisconsin Pop-Up LED Bowlights River Fishing Odd'ball Fin Spin Telescoping JIggler Long Rod WFN Fishing Clubs Torpedo Divers Whale Salmon Aqualuma RedHead Black Velvet St. Croix Rods Swanson-Russell Triton Boats Traditions Legend Gold Princecraft PulseTech Airmar Personal Flotation Device Shurhold Milennia MIL-iDock Pharmaceuticals BoatUS Angler Buff Forage Minnow Skarlis Salmon Unlimited of Illinois Muscle Squared 65 Gear Wedding Ring Gary Dollahon Ryan Kleckner TRAC Matt Serbenski Water Buddies FRIDAY FUNNIES Lighting Tides Mercury Marine Rain gear La Mar PRADCO Mosquito repellent Asian carp Rippin' Lips Wind Power Side Thruster Wounded Warriors Alaskan Quantum PLB Whale Pumps Kill switch KVD Speedbag Bass lure MWC Rushton Gregory Lake Superior Tournaments Rig'N Tails YUM Macho Minnow Soo Locks TRAC Ecological Tom Neustrom Patrick Hurst Walleyes Lights Kindle book Fiberglass tiller IGFA Tools Beckson Marine Deck Plate Grunden's Soul5 Tackle Labs Spreads Chargers Dollohan Scholarship Honda Scott Glorvigen Walleye Louie Stout Up Stream Hydration Back Pack ONIX Safe boating Fishouflage weather Larson Electronics Brandon Newby Mike Seymour On board Ravenswood Media bimini top PFDs treestand injury South Haven, Michigan Knife sharpening ASA Dunkirk, NY Deck Plate Rugged Shark Video Michigan Reef Runner Insect repellent Sharpeners Weather Buoy F-Series Storm Gear Interlux Dogwood Canyon Trail Runs Jonathon VanDam Jack Links Bug repellent cruzin Sunglasses Big Bear Products Cliff Pace Ned Rig Boats Marine Lighting New York Boating Ice Fishing Bheestie Bag spreader light Fish America Foundation Flat Slider 75 Bass Faria Church Tackle Endura Humminbird Thermacell Lures Yamaha Dave Genz MULL BLOG Absolute Outdoor, Inc. Invasive species Optima Boat names Kayaks EVOLVE FISHING CO Fishing Costa splice Batteries Jeff Gustafson Corey Schmidt Multitools Gunnison, CO One-Handle-Does-It-All System Aqua-Vu Z-Man Mazurek Plano Synergy Games Fiberglass boat