A fishing knife isn't only a blade that's meant for cleaning your catch. Fishing knives come in many styles and for many functions, from gutting to fileting a fish to cutting meat into strips, or removing that loose tag end off of your fishing line after tying on the lure, but one thing that they should never do is to let you down.
The Benchmade Meatcrafter Carbon Fiber 15500OR-2 Knife claims to do all the dirty work before the catch and still be ready to create some tasty filets. I've been fishing for 50 years, and I've had my fair share of knives, but I have to say that the Benchmade Meatcrafter had a lot to prove for its retail price of $450.
I took this knife with me to the trout stream and the lake, and even used it to cut up some meat for the dehydrator, and found it being alternately easy to use and a bit much to pack.
- Approximately 6-inch blade length with an overall length of 11 inches out of the sheath
- Weighs 3.25 ounces
- Blade made of CPM-S45VM steel, high-alloy stainless steel with Benchmade's Cerakote system that purports to give it excellent edge retention, better corrosion resistance, and overall toughness
- Handle made of G10 carbon fiber with layers of woven fiberglass treated in epoxy resin, in olive or black
- Locking Boltaron thermoplastic sheath in orange and black
First Impressions: Benchmade Meatcrafter Carbon Fiber Knife
The "Boltaron" sheath, with its flashy orange and black coloring, jumped out at me, but in a way that I wasn't expecting. I looked it up, and Boltaron is a thermoplastic used for holsters and knife sheaths (among other things), but at the end of the day it's plastic, and for the price, I would love a leather holster. On the positive side, the sheath has a locking mechanism that really grabs the blade and keeps it inside of the sheath, protecting the user from its incredibly sharp blade.
Other than the black handle, the knife that I tested is colored completely orange, including the entire tang, except for the very edge of the blade, which is silver, as you'd expect. At first, I thought the orange was a safety coating that had to be removed, but then I realized that it was the Benchmade "Cerakote system," which is a specialized coating that can be applied to wood, metals, and even plastics to enhance the physical blade and improve its wear over time.
How the Benchmade Meatcrafter Carbon Fiber Performed
Because the blade locks so nicely into the sheath, it makes the Meatcrafter quite safe to pull out of a tackle bag or box. But as with any good sharp knife, caution must be maintained at all times. You'll need to take care of what you are cutting around because the blade on this knife will cut into a spool or even ruin a swivel. Overall, this knife is lightweight, easy on the hand, and the handle works great wet or dry.
I use a lot of braided lines and I need a knife (or a pair of shears) that can cut the tag ends, the line itself, or make short work of a bird's nest—all of which the Meatcrafter does excellently. At one point, I needed to shorten the anchor line on my boat so I used it to cut the rope, and it did the job with great ease, even leaving the tag end free of loose filaments.
You may think that this could be a hunting knife or a fishing knife—and from my impressions, I'd say it's a multiple-use knife that would be fine for both. That said, the blade is a bit light-duty for field-dressing purposes and it isn't exactly made for fileting, so I wouldn't give up my regular filet knife just yet. The Meatcrafter may be better suited for the campsite, shoreline cooking, or some other outdoor kitchen usage, as I could see it working well for trimming, deboning, or slicing your favorite cuts of venison, fish, or beef, but it's not made to cut through the brisket of a deer or other large game animal.
Included on the sheath are cutouts, seemingly made for a belt, but they're too small for any belt that I have, making them more of a lanyard option. To me, it just means that you'll need to pack it for your adventure like I did, as with most fixed-blade knives.
Is the Benchmade Meatcrafter Better Than Its Competitors?
There are a few other comparable knives out there, such as the Toor Knives Snapper for $200, the Gerber Double-Down for $157, and even Benchmade's less expensive version, the $370 Meatcrafter 15500O-3, which has the same length, the same trailing point blade that's made of the same type of steel, but has a G10 fiberglass handle instead of carbon fiber and lacks the orange Cerakote coating.
These all have their place as solid choices for knife enthusiasts, but at the end of the day, we have to look at the fact that there are very good knives for a lot less money. While Toor Knives guarantees their products for life, and Gerber has a limited lifetime warranty in North America, only Benchmade offers both a limited lifetime warranty and lifetime sharpening—but is that worth the significant price increase? And for $450, I'd expect the Meatcrafter 1500OR-2 to last forever, but that's something I just have no way of knowing at this time.
Should You Buy the Benchmade Meatcrafter Carbon Fiber Knife?
If you're looking for a high-end, multipurpose fishing knife that will last you for many years, there are many good choices out there, including the Benchmade Meatcrafter Carbon Fiber.
That said, I consider myself a part of the community of "average outdoorsmen" when it comes to buying gear, and I'm looking hard at the price just like anyone. And $450 is a lot of money for a knife. Benchmade is a well-known cutlery maker that offers a free Lifesharp sharpening service and a limited lifetime warranty, which could be worth the expense to you—though plenty of reputable brands have similar services.
Will you be happy with this knife? Absolutely. Whether its high retail price fits into your fishing budget is another matter.