Fly Fishing with Doug Macnair:
A Product Update
A Fly Fisher’s Knife ©
I don’t know about you, but whenever I go fishing I usually carry two knives. One is very small and is actually a part of a clip-on gadget that has a couple of other tools. The second knife is for filleting the fish, provided of course the Ancient Fish Gods have smiled on me that day.
Over the years - and I’ve got more than just a few under my belt – I’ve learned a lot. For example, I’ve learned that anything not maintained seems to quickly go to hell in a hand basket. In the case of fillet knives, the blades become dull, rust, or in all likelihood the handle comes loose or simply falls off. Then, too, my experience causes me to wonder why they call stainless steel stainless steel. I once thought it was because it wouldn’t rust. But stainless steel rusts just like anything else, especially when exposed to saltwater. Too bad!
My solution to obtaining a replacement fillet knife used to be to head over to Walmart or some other sporting goods store and buy a new one. Trouble is the replacements now cost a lot more than they used to and are not as well made. Then, too, I have less money to spend. You see, along with the tax burden I carry I have to also be concerned with where the money is going to come from to pay for the latest Congressional pay raise, like the one they just voted for themselves without ever asking us folks what we thought they deserve. It’s funny I suppose, but the only time the democrats and republicans ever seem to agree is on their first love – greed … Just think of how nice it would be if you could avoid paying social security and after only one term retire on a minimum of $15,000 a month. I just learned of this and found it so sickening; I felt an imperative to share it with you. Having done so, I feel better…
Back to the subject of knives: the alternative to buying an inexpensive fillet knife with a wooden handle used to be to buy a really good one, like a Randall. Randall’s are beautiful knives and are highly sought by collectors. I am fortunate to own a couple of these blades that are now over 50 years old. However, a Randall knife absolutely does require maintenance – stainless steel or not. And you can count on this: a Randall is not exactly what anyone could call inexpensive.
So what’s a guy or gal to do? Well I have an answer. Despite the Congress, this is still a Nation of wonderful people. One of them is Charles Davis, the owner of Anza Knives. He is truly a Master Knife Maker who has a company motto not frequently heard these days: Built for the Collector, Priced for the Sportsman, Used by the Workingman. If this suggests Charles takes pride in his product – handmade incidentally – then you and I are on the same wavelength.
I ran into Charles by purely by accident. I was scanning eBay when I saw an old knife at auction, I liked its looks and sheath so I made a bid and won it. When the blade arrived, I liked what I saw and, to make a long story short, ended up sending the knife back to the maker, Charles Davis, for a look-see. He polished it so that it looked like new and returned it adding a recommendation that I should retain the knife as a collectible. The knife is now on display in my home. Several conversations via email followed; then one day I called Charles and ordered one of his fillet knives. That knife is what this article is all about. Since it arrived, I’ve played with it a lot. Let me give you the bottom line at the outset: this is a quality handmade fillet knife that’s functional, pretty, easily maintained, and -- affordable.
Did you ever hear the story of the fishing dragons? It seems that Papa dragon, Mama Dragon and Baby dragon all went to the seashore to catch some fish. And on this day, they were very lucky, indeed. They all caught fish and had a marvelous time. But all good things must come to an end and as the sun began its decent in the West, Papa Dragon said, “OK, it’s time we cleaned the fish.” But a funny thing happened after they began the process … Papa Dragon said: “My blade is too stiff and thick!” Then Mama Dragon said: “My blade is too thin, it bends too much.” Baby Dragon laughed and laughed. He said: “My blade is just right!” And, he cleaned all the fish in the flick of an eye. He carried an Anza fillet knife…
Yep, you, too can own an Anza fillet knife in any one of several lengths and should you have a special request, Charles will build it for you. The ordinary cost for one of his handmade blades is only around $56.00. But after your first purchase, a surprise awaits that I know you will thank me for if you follow my recommendation and try one.
Besides being a handmade knife you will wear with pride, you will wear your Anza in a quality sheath that will make you proud and last for years. Take a look and this one: it will not disappoint you.
In a day when a fishing lure can cost 20 bucks or more - I have trouble with that – an Anza knife is one of the last remaining great buys in the entire United States. An Anza blade will bring you satisfaction, pride, and pleasure. Instead of contributing to either of the political parties for the congressional elections, buy an Anza knife: it will represent you one hell of a lot better.
Before closing, let me add a couple of points. First, you must understand this knife is prone to being stolen – by your wife. If she gets her hands on it, your knife is a goner for sure. (Bless their hearts, wives are wonderful persons, but they steal –- they steal anything that works in the kitchen and believe me an Anza does that sort of work very well.) Of course, there is a chance you might get it back, at least temporarily. There will come a time when the blade finally requires a couple of swipes across a good stone or ceramic stick. After that expect, “Thanks, honey for fixing my knife.”
Second, Anza makes a wide array of knives -- a very very wide array! If you happen to be looking for something in the utility or skinning line, be sure to take a look. The Boddington, for an example, is a favorite of the troops. You won’t regret it. Quality seems to be a constant with Charles Davis’ products.
For more information, contact:
Anza Knives, PO Box 710806, Santee, CA 92072-0806. Telephone: (619) 561-9445; Fax (619) 390-6283; or dial into the Internet at Anza Knives custom hand made knife
- 30 -
© Copyright: Douglas G. Macnair, 2003-2005.