In an attempt for full disclosure, I’d like to note from the start of this review that although I do have quite a lot of experience with knives, I actually have relatively little experience filleting fish by comparison. Thus, my thoughts on the CRKT Surf N’ Turf are relatively amateurish in the realm of fish filleting, though I will also be talking a lot about the general strengths and weaknesses of the Surf N’ Turf as a knife, which I know much more about. With that said, on to the review!
Let’s start with the obvious. This knife is gigantic. It’s got a 12.7 cm (5 inch) long blade, and although it’s relatively light for it’s enormous size, this doesn’t at all take away from just how huge the knife is. In case the picture isn’t enough of a suggestion, you really need to hold this knife to understand the true scale of its 5 inch blade, especially considering it’s a folding knife. All that being said, its ridiculously exaggerated proportions don’t stop the knife from looking and feeling good. This knife is comfortable as any.
The thumb stud placement does not interfere with the sharpened section of the blade, which allows you to take it to a zero grind should you wish. The ability to sharpen your knife to any angle you wish without thumb studs getting in the way should be an industry standard, so great job on this move, CRKT.
The knife handle tapers aggressively towards the bottom of the knife, so the pocket clip is tip down only: not a big deal since this knife was obviously never intended for everyday carry use.
The fit and finish is surprisingly good taking into account its purpose as a tool and its low price point. Everything on the knife is flush and fits solidly.
Honestly, no one could ever mistake this knife for anything but a nice folding filleting knife: it rings in super thin with a 1.5 mm width, has a 5Cr13MoV blade that tapers down to a needlepoint, and has a generous amount of flex. As a reference point, the excellent Marttiini’s fish filleting knife has a similar amount of flex in its blade.
The liner lock came with an early lock up and needed a few flicks to wear in safely. I’ve of course gotten those flicks in, and so engagement is now rock solid.
As well as a liner lock, CRKT included their auto-lawks system, a secondary lock that stops the liner lock from disengaging until you pull down the red tab on the spine of the knife. Extra safety precaution; can’t go wrong there.
In my opinion, the most disappointing aspects of CRKT’s Surf N’ Turf are the cheap scales. Cast plastic may look fine from a distance, and I have to admit it looks great in the pictures, but in hand it just doesn’t feel right, and you can see how they manage to offer this knife for only 30 bucks. Thankfully, CRKT is pretty attached to using screws, thus making it easy to just remove these handles in case you’d like to attach some nice wooden scales instead. Replacing the handles should therefore be pretty trivial to accomplish.
In terms of its weight, though relatively it is light for its size, it’s still a monster of a knife at a solid 155 grams (5.5 ounces). Again, this may not sound like a lot for a knife with a 5 inch blade, but in my opinion it’s just too much to EDC. I would keep it in a pack or tackle box, probably never in my pocket.
That being said the clip functions perfectly, and if I do say so myself, it looks rather good.
The full flat grind is lean and exclusively conceived to fillet and slice, as should be evident by now. Do not pry with this knife, it will flex and then snap. Very. Bad. Idea. And not what it’s meant for in the least.
The balance point on the CRKT Surf N’ Turf is neutral: light in the hand, and should not be tiring to use for extended periods of time.
As mentioned previously, the fit and finish was damn good. Everything is centered and pretty much perfect.
The thumb stud works works fine for deployment. I will always prefer the Spyderhole or flippers but as far as thumb studs go, this one is well implemented.
Should both locks fail (honestly, I don’t want to know what you’d have to be doing with this knife to get both locks to fail), you might not lose any digits as there is a very slight choil of sorts. Don’t count on it though.
Choking up on the CRKT Surf N’ Turf is very comfortable, though since I’m not all that experienced in filleting, I really don’t know if you’d ever need to do this with the knife. Just throwing it out there in case anyone wanted to know.
When holding the grip neutrally you can truly get a good scale for how massive this knife is.
And of course, I just couldn’t resist giving it a shot in reverse grip either. It’s comfy’ish – not advisable as a tactical knife but hell, it would certainly work.
CRKT’s Surf N’ Turf is only $30. This should be emphasized before I start any sort of conclusion because the price is just mind boggling taking into account the utility, size, as well as the fit and finish of the knife. Yes, the scales are a bit cheap and the steel could of course be better, but for the price and its intended purpose, the Surf N’ Turf is a steal.
It’s double locking system makes it highly unlikely to disengage without you purposefully intending it to, so as far as safety goes, although the blade is massive, CRKT’s got you covered. Although it can technically fit in pocket, it’s probably better to carry in a bag, as it’s still a little hefty for a relatively light-for-its-size knife.
Finally, although there is one lonely little three-star review on Amazon claiming that the lock on this knife doesn’t work, it’s apparent that the individual who wrote that review doesn’t have much experience in terms of knives in general. I said it earlier, and I’ll say it again: the liner lock on this knife comes with an early lock up which needs to be broken in before you’re able to use it safely. After flicking it open and closing it a number of times, the engagement becomes rock solid and that “issue” with the lock “not working” will disappear.
So if you’re looking for an excellent folding fillet knife, cheap in price and high in quality, chances are you’ve got exactly what you need in the Surf N’ Turf.