Like the single blade trapper, the fish knife is a folder pattern with a dual personality. It is either a single or double blade folder five inches long closed with a long, narrow clip blade and a powder horn-shaped handle. As with most other patterns of folder, both large and small versions of the fish knife have been produced but none have had the popularity if the five-inch. On two blade models, the second blade is normally a combination scalar or hook disgorger and bottle opener. Because fishing knives in general tend to be abused more than other forms of cutlery, fish knives have long been a popular item in cutlery economy lines.
The large size and low price led to the growth of the fish knife’s reputation. Under the name Texas Tickler, Tango Knife, Saturday Night Special, Dixie Switch and a few additional considered a tool of the street thug. Many hardware distributors actually made a point of selling the knife under two different names, depending on whether their market was sporting or urban.
On larger fish, such as salmon and steelhead, that are normally opened and iced down in the field for later steaking, the fish knife works as well as patter. Queen and Frost Cutlery, along with an occasional special run from Case and Blue Grass, are the primary sources for the fish knife folder.