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Reviewed by Kevin Power
Dean Grooby is passionate about his fish filleting - and this has led him to develop a range of knives and sharpening products in Christchurch, which he’s been supplying to the commercial fishing industry for some time now. For the last year or so we at NZ Bay Fisher have also employed Dean’s services, to produce a series on how to fillet New Zealand fish species.
While professional filleters and commercial fishing companies know the importance of retrieving the maximum meat weight off a fish, from my observations over the years the majority of recreational fishers are damaging their fillets through using a knife that is either incorrectly or inadequately sharpened – and I can certainly count myself among that number from to time.
Most fishers will have a steel in their tackle box, but most will probably not know how to use it correctly – let alone know that a steel is primarily used to keep an edge on an already well-ground and sharpened knife; it won’t resurrect a badly-ground or seriously blunt knife.
For this review I had all my knives professionally ground and sharpened to get the perfect bevel, which those $49.99 electric knife sharpeners will never do. For us recreational filleters knife sharpening (grinding) needs to be done only once a year or so, depending on how often you fillet. Compare that with what a professional filleter told me: he sharpens (grinds) his knives once every week or so. Then at work - where, on average, he’s filleting a fish every 15 – 20 seconds or so - he constantly keeps an edge on his knives with a steel.
From time to time a very simple tool comes along that really makes a difference, and this is the case with the V-Sharpener, which is essentially a bit of nylon and a spring, attached to a conventional sharpening steel. Most non professionals like us recreational fishers struggle to get a perfect edge with a conventional steel as we don’t slide the blade across the steel at the correct angle; this makes a huge difference to the cutting efficiency, as I have found out. But the simple-to-use V-Sharpener’s nylon block guides your knife at the correct angle onto the steel, creating a perfect cutting edge. I used to think I already had sharp knives - but using the nylon guide on the V-Sharpener has raised the cutting efficiency of my filleting knives to another level altogether. They cut fish flesh like a hot knife cuts butter!
No; this is not an advertorial - and yes, I have given it a bit of a rave ...but it’s made a real difference to the ease of my filleting: it’s simple, smart and most effective.
$59.95 from Knifetechnz.co.nz