A Deba for freshwater fish?

Discussion in 'Cooking Knife Reviews' started by jvang998, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. jvang998


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    At home cook
    Hi everyone, I've been trolling for awhile now on here, and decided to join in on the fun.

    As an avid fisherman, I'm looking for a traditional Deba to use on freshwater fish like crappies (9"-12"), walleyes (15"-22"), and smaller pike (20"-28").

    I've been looking at Mac CL-4 4" deba and Tojiro DP 155mm deba. My question is do you guys the think 4" deba would able to do it all or should I just go bigger? I do enjoy the nimbleness of a small knife, but would not want it to get overmatched. I would only be filleting the walleyes and pike, and sometimes I chop the heads off of the crappies. I would like to keep it under $120 since the less I spend on a deba the more knives I can buy.

    I am a novice to Japanese knives, but I recently I finished reading Chad Ward's "An edge in the kitchen", as well as purchasing my first chef's knife which ended up being a Mac Pro 8.5", and I also bought the Edge Pro Apex 4.

    Any input would be very much appreciated. Even just input or opinions of deba usage on freshwater fish or experiences with them.

  2. chrislehrer


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    Cook At Home
    With few exceptions, a roundfish is a roundfish. In my experience, a 4" knife is too small, though if the bones are quite thin and delicate you can get away with it. I have used a 105mm with pleasure on smallish trout, for instance. But you are better off going right up to 180 or 195mm, especially as you will be dealing with whole fish: a weighty and thick butt end is useful for beheading, for instance, and in general a bit larger knife is less inclined to slip in your hand.

    Do bear in mind that filleting with a deba is very different from the French method. If you don't know how to do it, we can provide references.
  3. notswedishchef


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    Professional Chef
    180 to me is a good size for an all-around Deba.  If I need something smaller, I use my honesuki(smallish trout, black bass)......Cod, Striper, Bluefish, Halbut......

    I'm a carbon guy.....so I use a Watanbe Pro Blue deba......

    I learned on a cheap $90 white steel 165 deba.  Cheap Deba's  can have some peculiar problems.....keep that in mind whilst you shop.  Be prepared to either fix the issues, have someone fix them for you, or buy a better Deba.  This is why I generally recommend the purchase of a Deba & Yanagi last in terms of set building to my guys....they're great knives and super helpful tools but you need to understand how to maintain them in order for them to be an asset. 

    Anything you can do with a deba can be done with a semi-stiff boning knife and chef knife.......