Fishing is an incredibly fun pass time, but nothing quite beats the satisfaction of eating the fish you caught. And even though you could bring a regular knife or an EDC knife for the job, sometimes they just don’t cut it. Terrible jokes aside, having a fillet knife can have you cutting down fishes like a master chef, so it’s always good to keep one around.
If you’re in the market looking for a good fillet knife, here is a quick guide that can tell you everything you need to know. From the best fillet knives, you can choose all the things you should consider before buying one.
The Best Fillet Knives You Can Buy
- Zwilling J.A. Henckels Fillet Knife
- Kershaw Fillet Knife
- Rapala Superflex
- Morakniv Fishing Comfort
- Rapala Electric Fillet Knife
- Bubba Blade Electric Fillet Knife
- KastKing Fillet Knife
- Dexter Russell P94813 Narrow Fillet Knife
- Bubba Tapered Fillet Knife
We gathered all of the best fillet knives that fit a specific niche as well as differing price ranges.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Fillet knife
This fish fillet knife from Zwilling features a long 7-inch blade with plenty of giving. The ice-hardening forging technique has also made the blade very rust-proof. It is also very flexible and is best for most medium-sized fish. If you’ll be using the fillet knife on smaller fishes, be careful and use ample protection. Fortunately, this knife is dishwasher safe, but it does not come with a sheath, so be sure to buy that separately.
Kershaw Fillet Knife
Kershaw is a name that needs no introduction to knives, as they bring their mastery of combat knives to fillet knives. The knife features Japanese stainless steel with a 7-inch blade and a fairly comfortable 12-inches. The corrosion-resistant blade complements the contoured handles, which makes the knife very comfortable to grip. The handle also comes with ergonomic grooves, making it great for prolonged use. Even though this is large enough for medium-sized fish and is flexible enough to cut through easily, it is not as sharp. But on the plus side, you will also get this fillet knife with a sheath.
The Rapala Superflex features a total size of 14 inches, with a 6-inch blade. To say that this blade is flexible would be an understatement. It bends effortlessly and smoothly cuts through small and medium-sized fish. Its edge retention is also remarkable, and the wooden handle is a nice aesthetic touch that also offers a good grip. You also get this fillet knife in a leather sheath, but it is not dishwasher-friendly.
Morakniv Fishing Comfort
Morakniv Fishing Comfort is an incredible knife made for anglers in general. The entire blade is a comfortable 10.6-inch in length, with a 6.1-inch blade. The added sheath comes with a clip and loop that you can attach to your belt while fishing. But secondary features aside, the knife is very durable despite being 0.07 inches thick. The high friction plastic handle does not absorb any odors. It also helps that this blade is dishwasher friendly, but it might not be good for people with larger hands, seeing how the handle is smaller.
Rapala Electric Fillet Knife
The Rapala Electric Fillet Knife features a long 7.5-inch long blade that is very good for filleting all manner of medium-sized fish. The stainless steel coating ensures that the blade does not rust, and the motor underneath makes filleting fast and efficient. If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to fillet a fish, this is a good option.
However, it does come with one very serious flaw, in that it doesn’t use batteries. So you will have to find a power source to start the knife, which is just not very versatile.
Bubba Blade Electric Fillet Knife
Bubba’s 110V electric fillet knife is versatile, coming with several blades. It comes in a 7-inch, 9-inch, and 12-inch, blade, allowing you to cut through almost any species of fish. The 7-inch and 9-inch ones are very flexible and are perfect for small or medium-sized fish. It also comes with a 12-inch stiff blade, which will be useful in gutting larger fish. But this is also corded and does not come with any batteries. So you will have to plug it into a wall source to start it.
KastKing Fillet Knife
The KastKing Fillet Knife Is very close to being the King of this list. The long 9-inch blade is durable without giving up on its flexibility or sharpness. The German steel blade offers premium quality performance better suited for larger games. While you can use it on freshwater fish, why would you buy a Maserati just to participate in a drag race? So it’s best to save this knife for some priced catches or a much bigger game. The sheath also comes with cuts, which is how you will take water out of it and offers plenty of protection.
Dexter Russell P94813 Narrow Fillet Knife
The Dexter Russell P94813 is the most affordable knife on this list but maintains an incredible level of quality. Overall, the Dexter Russell knife offers a fairly sharp and flexible knife that is certainly worth more than its current price tag. You can reliably cut through small and medium-sized fishes but struggle with the bigger game. The grip is not very good, and it becomes obvious where they were cutting corners. Even though the plastic is high friction, it does not have any ergonomic grooves. It doesn’t come with a sheath either but is generally easier to sharpen and maintain.
Bubba Tapered Fillet Knife
This Bubba Fillet Knife is one of the best knives you can get for its coating and grip alone. The Titanium-Nitrate coating gives you a blade that is very resistant to rust and corrosion. The coating is also stickproof, ensuring that you can keep slicing through meat without stopping.
It also features a trigger grip with a dedicated slot for your index finger. The grip gives you much better control over the knife and where it goes. The blade is very flexible with a very sharp tip, ensuring that you are can easily cut your way around bones.
What to Know Before Buying One
A fillet knife is not like any ordinary knife in your kitchen, which means it requires specific considerations on your part as well. It’s best to set your expectations accordingly before buying a fillet knife, as you don’t want to break it or let it rust. Therefore, here are a few things that you should know about before getting a fillet knife.
It might not come as a surprise, but these blades require a great deal of maintenance, especially since they’re a lot thinner. For one, never put a premium fillet knife in the dishwasher. Better yet, never put any premium knife in the dishwasher, as some water and dish soap is enough. Clean the knife and dry it every time you use it, and always store it in a dry place. If it comes with a sheath, keep it in the sheath except when you’re using it or if you haven’t cleaned it. Always dry with a towel; microfiber ones are the best. And make sure you never drop one, as these blades don’t last longer than one or two drops.
Fillet knives, much like most knives that you can get, are fairly expensive, especially if you plan on getting the good ones. So finding “the best” is often subjective to the money you’re willing to spend. If you don’t go out fishing as often and just want something for occasional use, most options will be fine. But if you’re someone who uses them regularly, then something in the premium range is a good investment. Furthermore, most premium manufacturers offer a lifetime guarantee on their knives, which is a good perk to have.
A quality fillet knife should always be sharp, flexible, strong, and thin, which all offer the most comfortable filleting experience. So even though you can find flexible blades on cheap, they’re more likely to break. Again, this is where premium blades often excel, as they meet all three necessities of a good filleting knife. Good construction also includes the steel used in the knife, which needs to be sharp and strong. Finally, consider the type of handle you want. You can find ones with rubberized handles, which are easier to grip even when your hands are wet and look for an ergonomic shape that is easier on the wrist.
Sharpness and Blade Retention
Always keep your knife clean and sharp, allowing you to make precise cuts. Oddly enough, a dull blade is more dangerous than a sharp one, as it has the edge in precision. However, there is also the fact that most people are a little scared when using such a sharp blade. If you are, too, some nice filleting gloves can be a good investment.
Finally, you don’t just want a sharp blade. You want one that can stay sharp as well. Blade retention is important, seeing how you don’t want the knife dulling on you while you’re cutting. But you will have to sharpen the blade eventually, so you should get used to the motions.
How to Choose a Fillet Knife
All of the knives we’ve mentioned here are some of the best you can find in the market. But knowing how to choose a fillet knife is also important. The first thing you should look for in a good fillet knife is its blade. The blade should be flexible and sharp, allowing you to separate the flesh from the bone easily.
Next, you should consider the handle and grip of the fillet knife. Even if you aren’t using it as much, you want it to feel comfortable while you’re using it. Finally, even if the premium knife is expensive, it does become much cheaper in the long run.