It’s an interesting fact that both a filet knife and a boning knife share similar design features. Both possess long, slender and somewhat flexible blades, usually crafted from stainless steel. Handles are also much alike, fitting solidly into the grip pocket of the handle, where they are likely not to slip. The facts are that either knife could substitute for the other and knives designed for fish filleting have often been utilized by successful hunters to separate big game muscle tissue from their associated skeletal structure.
Since many hunters also participate in angling adventures, having a knife that can handle more than one assignment provides added functionality. This is a realm where the folks at Havalon have been most creative. This firm is well known for their replaceable blade edged tools that have been covered in this column previously. Having the ability to quickly switch from a dull blade to a sharp one is a real advantage and a realm where Havalon knives have gained their inimitable reputation.
Taking that same changeable blade concept a step further, the new Havalon Talon knife features a hand-filling handle into which several different AUS stainless steel blades can quickly and easily swapped, one-for-another. Not only can they be exchanged, but each individual blade is solidly locked into the handle without any hint of movement.
The locking mechanism itself is quick and simple to use and only takes a push of a button to lock or release a blade. The advantage here is that blades of different shapes and sizes may be used with a single handle. This means that a filet blade suitable for a trout or salmon can be swapped for a much longer blade that works better on pan fish or halibut. Conversely, the same knife can also be used to bone-out a big game carcass by inserting a suitable size blade, or if the need arises, swap blades again for one short enough to prepare vegetables or salad materials for the dinner table.
While the basic Talon system is more centrally designed for anglers, the company also has additional blades available to include a gut hook and bone saw shapes. These blades expand the functionality of the Talon into the arena of big game field butchery. As it is, the 4-inch filet blade does work well as a boning blade and I’ve used one on several different big game animals, including pronghorn antelope and wild pigs. Filleting out the back straps, inner tenderloins and the hindquarters was a simple matter that went quickly when I used the Talon.
Conversely, using the knife on a large Alaskan halibut was also no challenge. I simply inserted one of the longer fillet blades into the handle and started cutting. It was an easy matter to slip the tip of the blade over the backbone and fillet one complete side of the fish in a single sweep. Fin cleanup and the removal of other bits of offal was completed with one of the shorter blades. In all, the system worked great and allowed for fish fillet freedom that had seldom been realized previously.
The Talon comes in a heavy nylon, roll-up containment system that has slots for the handle and four different individual length blades. This makes a great edged tool system for the tackle box or camp gear and will be well appreciated when the need arises. Compact, multifunctional and affordable, the Havalon Talon system is all that and much more! For more information, go to www.havalon.com.--Durwood Hollis