If you search for the best fish fillet knife online, you’re going to quickly realize that all manufacturers make this claim. This presents a problem especially as there are hundreds if not thousands of these fillet knives available. To make things easy for you, we have narrowed the list down to the following.
What is a Fish Fillet Knife?
A fish fillet knife is designed for filleting. Unlike a hunting knife, a fish fillet knife has a thin, flexible blade designed specifically for fish and meat. A fillet knife should not be confused with a boning knife, but there are fillet knives that cut through fish bone too.
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There are a lot of fish fillet knives in the market, and deciding what to buy can be difficult if you’ve never bought one before. Here are the major factors that will come into play.
Fish fillet knives are usually between 5 to 11 inches long. The length depends on the type of fish you’re going to fillet. 5 to 7 inch blades will do fine for small fish, while salmon and bigger fish will necessitate a 9 or even an 11 inch blade. The “standard” sizes are 4, 6, 7.5 and 9 inches. There is no single right choice as it comes down to the fish.
The rule of thumb is the larger the surface and the wider the girth, the larger and longer the blade has to be. Your filleting style also becomes a factor, but to give you an idea: a pike and other large fish will need a 9 inch blade. For trout, bass and other fish, a 7.5 inch blade will suffice. For blue gills, crappie and similarly sized fish, a 6 inch blade is going to suffice.
Stainless steel is the most popular choice as they’re inexpensive and durable. Keep in mind that stainless steel is not created equal and some are more durable than others. High carbon steel is also preferable as it is durable. Don’t forget to check if the blade is suitable for freshwater, saltwater or both.
Flexibility becomes a factor if you’re using a short blade, as small fish are more delicate. Flexibility is not a big factor with long knives, though it won’t hurt if the blade had a certain degree of flexibility.
The knife handle must be nonslip. An ordinary knife slips from your wet hands and that’s dangerous. As long as the handle is textured and has nonslip properties, you’ll always be in control while using it.
This is a matter of personal preference as you need to balance the need for comfort and grip. Your choices include plastic wood, leather and synthetics. Everyone has an opinion as to which is the most effective, but if you’re going for a wood handle, make sure that it has been treated to avoid rotting. Avoid untreated wood because it’s going to absorb the smell of the fish.
Rubber and plastic handles are not as lovely as wood, but they are easier to clean. Rubber in particular is flexible and works very well under different conditions. The choice is up to you, just make sure that your hand feels comfortable and that you won’t feel any strain even if you use it to fillet several fish.
Knife Sheath or Covers: a sheath or cover is necessary to protect the knife when it’s not in use. A cover doesn’t just protect the blade but also reduces the possibility of injury. No matter what fillet knife you use, make sure it has a cover.
Even the sharpest fillet knives need to be re-sharpened at some point. Some of these knives are sold with sharpeners, so that’s a bonus. If your knife doesn’t come with one, there are many available online.
A fillet knife usually has a narrow blade that’s designed to go through fish and other meats. The blades vary in length but most are between 5 to 11 inches, and they’re also narrow. These knives are not serrated and have a sharp tip. Like kitchen and hunting knives, the blade is often stainless steel but more flexible.
The flexibility is the biggest difference between a fillet and regular knife. With a flexible blade, the knife can de-bone the fish without destroying it. A chef’s knife is too rigid and will wreck the fish. In fact, they’re good enough for beef and chicken filleting or just about any thin slice. You can also use a fish fillet knife to slice ham and other foods, though they’re most suitable for fish. Fillet knives are also easy to clean.
Fillet knives are sold in different forms, shapes and sizes, so some knowledge of their features will come in handy.
This is the standard fillet knife. They’re available in various styles, materials, colors and textures. Blade styles and shapes vary, though some prefer those with a slight curve as it eases the process of removing the skin. While flexible, the blades are also durable and can filet a lot of fish before requiring re-sharpening.
These fillet knives are usually 9 to 12 inches long, and they’re used for salmons and similar fish. The blade on these knives is what you’ll need to cut salmon into wafer thin pieces. These knives have rounded tips and won’t damage fillet fibers. Even though the blades are long, they’re still flexible.
These are similar to regular knives except they have motors and run on electricity. They are more powerful than regular fillet knives however. Electric knives are becoming more popular, and that’s what we’re going to be looking at in the next.
Electric fillet knives are also available if regular knives are not sufficient for your needs. If you do a lot of filleting and want to speed up the process, an electric fillet knife may be the better option. However, it does take some getting used to especially if you’re used to a regular knife.
So which one do you need? The following information may be able to help you decide.
You need an electrical source to run an electrical fillet knife. A regular fillet knife doesn’t. Regular fillet knives usually have a fixed blade. The blade on electrical knives can be adjusted to suit your needs. A manual fish fillet knife is appropriate for small fish or you just fillet a few at a time. An electrical fillet knife is more practical for large fish or large volumes of fish.
There are regular fillet knives with large blades, but an electric fish fillet blade is quicker. As far as safety goes they’re just about even. One may argue that electric fillet knives are safer because once you turn off the power, you can’t use it. However, they do carry the risk associated with electric powered devices.
Regular fillet knives are less expensive, though the cost of electric fillet knives have gone down. Regular fillet knives are also easier to use. Basically they’re just like any knife except for the blade. An electric fillet knife takes more time to learn, but they’re easier now to use than before. For beginners, a regular fillet knife may be suitable.
Once you learn how to use it and start filleting fish in volumes, you may consider an electrical fillet knife. Electrical fillet knives are slightly heavier than regular fillet knives. The reliance on an electrical source also means your movement is more limited with electrical fillet knives. With a regular fillet knife you can move about freely without worrying if you’ll go beyond the power cord’s reach.
There are a few other factors that we need to consider. For instance, is time a factor for you? If you’re fishing for pleasure and relaxation, a regular filet knife will be fine. You’re in no hurry and can take your time with the process. But if your job requires rapid filleting, an electrical fillet knife is probably for the better.
An electrical fillet knife allows for more elaborate filleting. A regular fillet knife will also do, but it’s going to take more time. Cleaning is another factor that you have to consider. A regular fillet knife is easy to clean as you just wash it under running water like any kitchen knife. Electrical knives need more care to avoid damaging the motor and other electrical components.
There is a good deal of confusion about the two, and some even say they’re the same thing. However that’s not the case as the two are different.
A boning knife is long, thin and designed so you can maneuver the blade in the meat to remove the bone. These are more flexible than the standard knife. Boning knives have a very sharp tip that is used to penetrate meat and other fish.
Some boning knives are flexible while others are stiff. A stiff boning knife is used for thick meats as more force is needed during the boning procedure. An ordinary kitchen knife can’t stand this pressure and will break and lead to injury.
Flexible boning knives are used to make thinner cuts. They’re not as durable as a stiff booing knife, but the flexibility makes it ideal for intricate cuts. A flexible boning knife is particularly useful for chicken and salmon. Like fish fillet knives, boning knives come in different lengths ranging from 5 to 9 inches.
Fillet knives are almost always used on fish, as they’re very effective when it comes to removing fish bone. Their blades are long, and they’re thinner than those of a boning knife. This is understandable because fish bone and skin are delicate and could get damaged quickly.
Fillet blades let you pierce the skin and move the knife inside the fish without difficulty. To ensure the fish isn’t damaged, the knife is usually 4 to 9 inches. As we have mentioned earlier, the smaller the fish, the smaller the fillet knife has to be for precision. The reason they’re often used for fish is they’re able to go between the meat and skin without causing any damage.
Can you use a fillet knife as a boning knife? Some knives can do this, but others cannot. If you’re going to use a fillet knife as a boning knife, make sure the bone isn’t that thick or the blade could get damaged. The knife must also have a nonslip handle so you don’t lose control in the process and injure yourself.
The fillet knife has an ergonomic design so you remain comfortable even with extended use. A carrying bag is also included for easy storage, and the bag also ensures there is sufficient venting to avoid corrosion and odor buildup.
The knife is about 11 by 8/9 by 1-4/5 inches, and it has a Pakkawood handle for comfort and convenience. Add the steel end cap, the lifetime warranty and the sharpness of the blade, and you’ve got a dependable fish fillet knife.
The blade is built out of high carbon steel, and it uses a proprietary mechanism so it provides maximum performance. This is a full tang knife so it’s perfectly balanced and built for the long term.
Buck Knives 0028BLS1 Clearwater is a full tang knife for superior performance, and it’s versatile enough to be used for various outdoor activities.
Made in the United States, the knife’s 9 inch blade is constructed out of 12C27Mod Sandvik steel, which makes it one of the toughest and sharpest knives today.
The 0028BLS1 Clearwater can be used for large fish, and its rubber handle has ridges so it doesn’t slip from your hand. A sheath is included, pus there are drain holes and a belt loop. Like other Buck knives, the 0028BLS1 has the Buck Forever warranty.
The handle is just as well-designed. Constructed out of fortified birch wood, it is beautiful and remains in your hand even when you’re doing some heavy filleting. The Fish’n Fillet Knife also comes with a sharpener and a leather sheath to serve as protection.
This is the smaller version of the 7 inch Rapala Rapala Fish’n Fillet Knife, and it is a good option if you fillet small fish and don’t need the extra long blade.
Even at just 4 inches, the blade is sharp and can perform a wide range of filleting before any sharpening is needed. A sharpener is also included so you can hone the tip whenever it’s needed.
The blade is full tang and made of stainless steel, giving it the strength to cope with extended filleting. The knife also comes with the classic Rapala birch handle for a comfortable hold. You can use the Rapala 4 inch as your standard filleting knife or it can be a complement to your larger knives.
The Kershaw Fillet Knife makes for great companion while you’re fishing. The knife works on different types of fish including bass and crappie, and the handle gives it a solid feel. The knife fits in your hand nicely and it won’t slip even if your hand is wet. As for cutting, the blade is very sharp and goes through fish bone quickly.
The blade isn’t just long as it is also durable. Made from carbon steel, the blade is sharp, cuts through fish smoothly, and will last a lot longer than the typical fillet knife. The knife also has a Grip Text handle along the blade. The Grip Text offers a convenient grip while making the knife easier to clean.
It has the standard stainless steel Rapala blade, so it’s durable and flexible at the same time. Filleting and boning fish is easy, and it comes with a black sheath to protect the knife. A sharpener is also included so you can sharpen the blade anywhere, anytime.
The quality extends to the handle as it is comfortable, durable and nonslip. The knife is versatile enough to be used in at home, for fishing or hunting. You also get a sheath to store and protect the knife.
The Mora Fishing Knife is well constructed, with the blade able to retain its sharpness for long periods. The edge retention is good and the shape is ideal for panfish and other species as well. Even when used to fillet on a regular basis, the blade doesn’t rust and holds up well.
Sporting a 6.75 inch blade, the CRKT 3008 Big Eddy Combo Edge takes the drudgery of fish fillet. What sets the Big Eddy apart is its hollow grind at the top and the bottom flat grind.
This allows the fillets to float from the top as the bottom glides. The serrated triple point meanwhile, makes short work of gristle, fins and bones.
The knife’s nylon handle has an ergonomic design, and it gives you a solid grip. Lastly, the sheath ensures the blade is protected and doesn’t damage anything in your tackle box.
We hope that you find this guide useful. We know how important it is to use the right knife for filleting, and that’s why we took care in selecting only those knives that have received positive feedback and a solid reputation.
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A passionate blogger! Editor at Chooserly, and a regular author at HuffingtonPost, LifeHacker & Forbes!