Fish fillet knives and fresh fish.
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5 Best Fish Fillet Knives and the Traits That Make Them Great

We just found you five of the best fish fillet knives on the market today.

It always pays to have a sharp knife. The hard part is finding a quality knife that has all the features essential for the task at hand, especially when it comes to filleting fish. Having a great handle is a good start, or a great name, but the best knives have some other qualities in common as well.

Filleting a fish is not only for separating the skin from the flesh, but for skillful removal of the bones. A good fillet knife makes the entire process smoother and proves itself by way of its sharpness, flexibility, and materials.

Not only that, but a good fillet knife in the hands of a veteran fisherman can make the difference between a good meal and a great one. Your best fillet cutlery is also versatile, and can also be used to debone chicken and even deveining shrimp, but it is best suited for the task that it was built for.

What Makes a Good Fillet Knife?

There are several basic things that you want to look out for in a good fish fillet knife, things that will set them apart from the rest. A few things to look for that you may not have thought of include the difference between using one at home, at camp on a fishing trip, and especially on saltwater. Most importantly, anglers are going to want to consider the following factors:

  • Grip Handle Material
  • Blade Length
  • Blade Material
  • Sharpness
  • Flexibility

Higher end blades offer higher carbon steel which stands up to rust much better and helps with edge retention. Thin, flexible blades offer greater control for the user since precision cuts are the norm. They will also help give a better feel around unseen bones.

Sure, we all want a filet knife with a sharp blade, and even expect it from any new knife that we buy, but without being made from the right material, it will just tear the flesh instead of going through it like butter. Low quality knives will also often lose their sharp edge quickly, requiring more time with the sharpener.

Length certainly matters since a four-inch blade designed for panfish isn't going to work nearly as well on a big catfish as it would on a perch. Mid-sized blades like a seven-inch model work quite well for salmon and big trout, but it's going to lose effectiveness on larger saltwater fish like tuna.

Knife handles basically come in wood, rubber, and plastic, (although there are some composite handles on the market) but the difference is in the grip. While wood is quite sturdy, it gets slippery when wet which is the first thing that happens when you are filleting a bucket of large fish.

That's why it's important to look at more than just the knife blade. Consider the types of fish you'll be cleaning, and where to determine the best grip. If you're planning on cleaning at the dock or even on the moving deck of a boat, you might want the comfort and control of a rubber soft grip or plastic. If you're cleaning on shore or in your kitchen, wood might be better. Keep in mind that rubber and plastic have a better grip, but they are not as sturdy as good old wood. Sturdier grips are a must when cleaning fish that are tougher or bonier like carp or northern pike. Full tang knives are more expensive, but they are also going to last longer. They also usually have more ergonomic handles. With all this in mind, let's have a look at some of our top picks for knives on the market today.

Products featured on Wide Open Spaces are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

KastKing Folding Fillet Knife

This is a lightweight, foldable knife with a G4116 German stainless steel blade for solid corrosion resistance. It has a 6.5-inch blade with an overall 13.5 inch length for extra reach.

BUBBA Cordless Electric Fillet Knife

Bubba Blade makes great go-to knifes for many fishing scenarios. This highly rated electric version might just be your next great fillet knife. This includes seven and nine inch E-FLEX blades, nine inch E-STIFF and 12 inch E-STIFF blades, a wall charger, two lithium ion batteries and a storage case.

The Serious Catch 7" Fish Fillet Knife

This is the kind of knife that we drool over. The seven inch, high carbon stainless steel blade includes a leather sheath. It has a higher price point, but like most things in life, you get what you pay for. This knife is perfect for the sportsman or woman who doesn't want to skimp on quality.

Rapala Fish 'N Fillet Knife

Is there another brand name the we trust more in fishing gear? You may not find a better knife for the price and with its included wooden handle, leather sheath, and product description etched right into the blade you'll be happy for many years to come.

KastKing Razor Sharp Fillet Knife

It comes in six, seven, and nine-inch blades for all uses, a curved stainless-steel blade, and a non-slip super polymer grip. It works as beautiful in the hand as it is to look at.

Using Your Fish Fillet Knife

Processing your fish requires a high quality fillet knife, and the ones above should serve anglers well. For many of us, it's just a matter of getting a bucket of fresh fish ready for the fryer or the oven, but for many it is a matter of pride in the way that we treat our hard-earned game meat.

Even though fillet knives are a part of the boning knife family, and are generally designed to work solely with fish, it's not uncommon to use them to nip your fishing line or cut bait but it is just not desirable to do so.

A good fillet knife can transform the whole fish into precisely cut fillets with surgical precision.

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