Best Fish Fillet Knife For Cleaning Fish

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If you plan to hold onto the fish you catch then having a good fillet knife can be a good idea. But what should you look for when you next go to buy one? How do you know which will be the best fillet knife for your needs?

To give you a better idea of what you might want from a fillet knife, we have put together a guide to help you choose. So the next time you head out on a fishing trip you’ll have a good knife for dressing your prize catch.

Top Fillet Knives: At a Glance

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Best Knives To Fillet A Fish - Cleaning - Pinterest

Fillet Knife Buyers Guide And Features

Before you go out and buy a new fillet knife there are a few things that you should consider.

The Blade

The blade on a fillet knife is probably the most important part of it, as this will determine the type of cut you will be able to make and how clean the cut will be.

For fish fillet knifes, you should make sure the blade you’re choosing is corrosion resistant, as being in wet environments - particularly salt water - can affect the performance of the blade.

A stainless steel blade can be a good choice and they are quite common on fish fillet knives and are usually corrosion resistant.

Handle Comfort and Grip

When you’re using your fillet knife, having one with a comfortable grip and handle can make the process of slicing and dicing a lot easier and quicker.

Particularly when you’re out fishing, you might often be using the knife with wet hands, which means a non slip grip may be essential for you. If you’re wearing gloves you should also make sure that you have a strong grip on the handle before you start cutting.

Knives comes with a range of different handle materials, from traditional wood to rubber or plastic. You may find it’s a matter of personal preference which handle material you choose. Just make sure that it’s comfortable for you to hold while you’re cutting and consider your slicing conditions.


How To Fillet A Fish

Size Matters

You may not think size is important when it comes to choosing a knife; just as long as it’s sharp, right? Well, actually, choosing the correct size of knife and blade can play an important role in determining how easy it is to cut and fillet a particular fish. And it all basically comes down the type of fish you plan on catching.

Blades come in various lengths, with each length suited for a particular type and size of fish. Not surprisingly, the shorter blades are more beneficial for using on smaller fish, such as crappie, or where you require more precision cutting.

With trout or bass, you may find it better to use a medium sized blade, roughly around 7 to 7 and a half inches.

The larger sized blades are often better suited to larger fish, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing yours. Also, you should consider the size of the knife when you think about your storage or transportation options. If you’re short on space, a folding knife might be a good option.


As well as the size of the blade you will also want to consider its strength to make sure it’s able to do the job that you want it to do. Fillet knives come in a variety of blade thickness levels.

This means the thinner the blade you choose, the more flexible it should be. A flexible knife can be handy for using on smaller fish and for removing bones, but may not be as good at slicing larger fish as there may be less strength in the blade and too much flexibility.

Electric Fillet Knives

It’s also possible to fillet fish with an electric knife, which could come in handy if you’re trying to fillet a lot of fish after a successful fishing trip, as it can be quicker.

Many electric knives will also let you change the blades, so you should be able to use specific blades for different cutting purposes. This can be a good idea if you fish in different areas and catch a variety of different species of fish and therefore need several knives.

Best Fish Fillet Knives

1: Morakniv Fishing Comfort

The whole knife measures 10.6 inches long and features a 6.1 inch stainless steel blade, but is also available in a smaller 3.5 inch blade length.

It comes with a tough plastic sheath for added protection when on the move and when storing, and even has a belt clip and belt loop for convenience while you’re fishing.

The 0.07 inch thick blade is corrosion resistant and durable. With a high friction handle, it should be easy to maintain your grip and benefits from being non-odor absorbing.

2: Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex

This Superflex knife from Rapala features a 6 inch handground stainless steel blade, but also comes in two other blade lengths, 4 inches and 7.5 inches.

The blade is thin and extra flexible, designed to allow you to cut smoothly and with control. It also benefits from having a non-stick coating, to make slicing fish easier. The handle is crafted from hand rubbed baked birch wood, with a comfortable grip.

For protection when the knife’s not in use, there’s a genuine leather sheath that also has a belt loop so you can attach it to yourself and always have it at hand.

3: Kershaw Fillet Knife with Sheath

This durable knife has a 7 inch blade, crafted in corrosion resistant Japanese stainless steel, so can be a good choice for both saltwater and freshwater fishing. This Kershaw knife is also available in a larger 9 inch blade length, for larger filleting.

To protect the razor sharp blade, there is a black plastic sheath that has a belt holster so you can keep it handy. The handle is crafted from a textured co-polymer soft rubber that is designed to be comfortable to hold, as well as being non-slip.

4: Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Four Star 7-Inch

This strong and durable fish fillet knife features a high carbon stainless steel blade, measuring 7 inches long. The sharp blade benefits from extra strength due the ice hardening technique used in the craftsmanship and it is also corrosion resistant.

This knife could be a good size for filleting medium sized fish, as it is strong but flexible. The polypropylene handle is designed to be comfortable to grip, as well as sturdy.

With this knife you will need to purchase a sheath separately, as it does not come included with the knife. But for added convenience, the knife is dishwasher safe.

5: American Angler PRO Professional Grade Electric Fillet Knife

Now this one could make things easier and quicker for you, as it’s an electric filleting knife that comes with an 8 inch curved stainless steel blade. It packs 110 volts of power and has an 8 foot polarized power cord.

With a built-in cooling fan and added venting, you should be able to cut for longer without it overheating. A good thing about this knife is that you can change the blades, which might be handy if you plan to catch different types of fish. This one is compatible with all American Angler blades.

The handle is ergonomically designed so that it’s comfortable to hold, allowing you to control the blade more easily.

6: Shun DM0743 Classic Gokujo Boning and Fillet

This is a Japanese Gokujo knife that has a razor sharp 6 inch stainless steel blade, which could be ideal for filleting smaller fish. The Japanese made blade features 33 layers of stainless steel, giving it extra resistance against rust and corrosion.

The handle is approximately 5 inches long and crafted from Pakkawood, made from a resin boosted hardwood. It is a super sharp knife that is designed to cut cleanly through fish and bones.

However, this fillet knife does not come with a protective sheath, so would need to be securely stored when you’re not using it.

7: Wusthof Pro 9-inch Fish Fillet

This knife from Wusthof features a thin and flexible 9 inch blade. The sharp blade is crafted from a high carbon stainless steel and the knife is manufactured from just one piece of steel.

The knife is thin and flexible, designed to make removing fish bones a lot easier. With an ergonomically engineered handle, it’s comfortable to hold while you make those precision cuts and the synthetic handle benefits from being slip resistant, giving you a stronger grip.

You might want to consider how you will transport and store this one, as it doesn’t have a sheath, which may make it more difficult if you’re taking it out on the water.

8: Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife

This is an electric fillet knife from Rapala that features 7 and a half inch reciprocating blades, so you could be getting twice the blade power on one slice. The 8 foot power cord is long enough for most uses and it has 110 volts of power.

The ergonomically designed handle is comfortable to hold while you make those cuts and slices and the vibration is reduced with the design that improves air flow and keeps the motor cool.

The sharp blades are designed to cut through medium and even some larger fish. This one doesn’t come with a case, so you would need to purchase one separately.

9: Rapala 4" Fish'n Fillet Knife

This is a more compact filleting knife that can be a good choice for using on smaller fish, as it might give you more precision. The Rapala knife features a 4 inch European stainless steel blade and a birch wood handle.

The handle is designed to be comfortable to hold, and with over 40 million of these knives sold worldwide, it seems it’s also popular to use. The knife comes with a genuine leather Laplander sheath that has a belt loop built in.

This knife also comes with a handy knife sharpener so you can keep your blade sharp and ready for the next fish you catch.

10: Buck Knives 220 Silver Creek Folding Fillet Fishing Knife

This knife could be a great choice if you’re short on space in your tackle box and want to keep it handy. It features a 6 and a half inch titanium coated blade that is durable and corrosion resistant, as well as being razor sharp.

The convenient thing about this knife is that it can fold up so that it measures just 7 and a quarter inches when closed, and can then be attached to you or your gear using the built-in lanyard.

The handle has a grooved rubber coating, which gives it its anti-slip design and there’s also a stainless steel safety guard, making it safer to use.

11: Wusthof Gourmet 7-inch Fish Fillet Knife

Wusthof Gourmet 7-Inch Fish Fillet Knife

This filleting knife features a 7 inch high carbon German stainless steel blade, which is laser cut, light and flexible but also strong and durable. The overall length of the knife is 11 inches and it comes with a protective leather sheath that has a handy built-in belt loop.

The black riveted handle gives the knife a traditional cutlery look, as well as comfort and strength for slicing and removing bones from fish, so it can be used both in the kitchen and on the shores of the lake.


What Size Fillet Knife Do I Need?

This will mostly depend on the size of the fish you plan to fillet. The smaller the fish, the smaller the blade you’re likely to need. Smaller blades can allow you to cut at more delicate angles.

However, if you’re looking for more of a one size fits all, a medium sized blade of around 7 inches can be a good choice.

How Do I Sharpen The Knife?

Because the tip of your fillet knife is pretty important, you need to remember to sharpen it too.

So unlike sharpening other types of knives, it can be useful to sharpen it in the opposite direction, with the tip hitting the stone first, before the rest of the blade.

How Do I Use The Knife?

In order to give a proper description, a whole article might be required. It can be useful to slope the blade sideways as you cut, allowing the blade to cut along the spine.

The flexibility of the knife should let you maintain an angle with the blade to get a precise cut.

Can I Wash The Knife In A Dishwasher?

Yes, however, this can damage the blade and handle over time and can cause your blade to go blunt.

Can I Just Use A Pocket Knife Or Kitchen Knife To Clean A Fish?

Fish filleting knives are designed with the delicate meat of a fish in mind. Other types of knives are not, which means a kitchen knife or pocket knife may not be able to cut as precisely as a fillet knife.

These types of knives will also generally not be as flexible so you may not get the desired results if you use a kitchen knife or pocket knife.

Conclusion: Cleaning Up

Now that you’ve read about the various different fish fillet knives that are out there, you should have a better understanding of your own needs. If you know where you plan to fish and the particular species that you plan to catch then you should be able to narrow down your knife options.

If you’re unsure, perhaps an electric knife might be the way to go. As long as you consider how you plan to power it while you’re beside the water. However, a medium sized knife may also be the most versatile if you’re planning on fishing in lakes and rivers and catching medium sized fish.

Hopefully you have enjoyed learning about the different knives and if you want to help your fellow fishers out, don’t be afraid to share this with them. And if you have any comments or questions, please get in touch.

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