If you harvest fish regularly for the table a high-quality fillet knife should be one of your top priorities. Not all fillet knives are created equally, and the quality of the steel and other materials can make a big difference in the quality of your fillets as well as helping you be as efficient as possible when cleaning fish.
In this post we are going to look at some of the best fillet knives on the market today, so you can choose one that fits your needs and be as prepared as you can be for that next big fish fry.
Our top fillet knives
Best Fillet Knife Overall
It’s pretty hard to beat this fillet knife. These knives are made from high quality materials top to bottom, and features a great design, this thing is the cats meow of fillet knives.
Best Budget Fillet Knife
Millions of anglers have one of these fillet knives for a reason. The value you get for the price that you pay is unbeatable, and the way it has stood the test of time for decades is a testament to the quality.
Best Electric Fillet Knife
With the blade options that are include, two lithium-ion batteries, great design, and an epic carrying case, this is a powerhouse of an electric fillet knife, well worth the price no matter which way you slice it. (pun-intended)
What to Look For in a Fish Fillet Knife
Sharpness and edge retention
It may come as no shock to anglers that a sharp fillet knife is one of the most important, if not the most important factors, and for that matter, for any knife in general regardless of its intended purpose.
Sharp fillet knife reduce tearing of the soft meat and help you get clean cuts and remove skin if needed.
Edge retention is the product of using high quality steel, and the higher carbon density and quality will translate to holding that razor sharp edge for longer.
Materials and construction
Stainless steel used in almost anything that has to do with fishing or marine environments is critical to reduce corrosion.
Other materials to consider are handle materials, which in many cases may boil down to personal preference, but a handle that ensures a solid grip and stays firmly around the tang is also important.
Full tang construction is great, it ensures that no issues will result in the knife bending or breaking free from the handle above the handle.
Grip and handle
A handle that ensures a solid grip and stays firmly around the tang is very important,. You also want to ensure that you will have a solid grip even with wet hands, and handles for many knives today take that into full consideration.
You also want to ensure that it is ergonomic as well as safe, with little potential for your hand to slip forward and onto the blade.
When it comes to thickness of fillet knives the simple answer is the thinner the blade the better. With that being said you need to consider the fish you want to clean with it as well, as large fish will be difficult to fillet with too thin of a blade.
Flexibility is important for precision cuts, especially when separating or the fillet from the skin, and using a flexible blade allows you to use the flex to your advantage to get as close as possible and reduce wasted meat.
Type: Japanese or German/Scandinavian style
Japanese style blades are great for precise work and have been designed to sushi and other types of fish presentations. German and Scandinavian styles on the other hand are for more basic and utilitarian work, which is what most anglers do when it comes to filleting fish like panfish, trout, walleye, and other species.
How to sharpen a fillet knife
You can sharpen fillet knives the same way as with any other knife, and its up to you what method to choose, be it electric grinding and honing wheels, or oil and old school sharpening stone.
Best fillet knives: detailed reviews
The Bubba Blade Stiff fillet knife is a great knife for cleaning large fish. The blade is 9 inches in length and with the handle it comes in at 15 inches overall.
The blade in the Bubba Blade Stiff is Ti-nitride coated and is incredibly rust resistant, making it great for both freshwater and saltwater applications, and features an incredibly sharp edge for clean fillets and fast work.
The handle on the Bubba blade has a safety hand guard built into the handle to prevent and potential hand slippage into the blade, and the handle itself features a high grip material ensuring a great hold on the blade even with wet hands.
The line of fillet knives come in several different sizes ranging from 5 inches, 6 inches, 7 inches, and a 9 inch blade length.
All of the fillet knives made by Kastking feature razor sharp German G4116 stainless-steel blades that come in a great looking black finish, and have excellent edge holding capabilities, making them great for cutting bait or making steaks from larger gamefish and everything in between.
The knives also have a super non-slip polymer grip that ensure both comfort and safety.
The Wusthof Classic may very well be one of the most refined fillet knives out there. Featuring a thin, curved, and highly tapered blade this Wusthof classic is build for precision fillet work.
The handle that is built around the blade is a full tang triple riveted synthetic polypropylene handle and has great resistance to heat, impact, fading, and discoloration over time.
The blade is forged from single blocks of high carbon stainless-steel which has been tempered to 58 degrees on the hardness rockwell C scale, and the precision edge technology that Wusthof incorporates gives an edge that is 20% sharper than its competitors.
The standard blade length for the Wusthof is 7 inches, but 9 inch blades are available as well.
In the fillet knife work the Rapala Superflex is an undisputed classic, and most anglers have owned at least one in their lifetime.
It’s fame comes from the super thin and flexible blade which gives it some amazing control, making it great for panfish, trout and other mid to small fish, and give incredibly precise cuts when separating skin from the fillet.
the blade comes with a PTFE coating which allows the fillets to slide right off the knife effortlessly, allowing you to carry on a rapid speed to clean your catch.
The blade is hand ground and forged from stainless-steel and also features a through tang design.
You won’t ever think of fillet knives having a futuristic look until you gaze your eyes upon the Global flexible swedish fillet knife.
This knife is made from made from high-quality cromova 18 stainless steel, giving excellent strength as well as resistance to corrosion in both fresh and saltwater conditions.
The blade of this knife has a convex edge for easy slicing and is thin and flexible for working around bone and getting precise cuts around skin. The blade is also forged from a single piece of steel and features a hollow handle to create an ultra light and perfectly balanced fillet knife.
The signature dimple handle design ensures a great grip in any conditions.
The Dalstrong fillet knife is a full tang knife that is precision forged from a single piece of high carbon Japanese AUS-8 steel, coming in at +58 Rockwell hardness and ice-tempered, this knife has exceptional durability, strength, sharpness, and edge retention.
the blade is also hand polished, and is meticulously hand ground to 13-15 degrees.
The knife is also flexible to get precision cuts and features great corrosion resistance.
Victorinox, the brand know around the world for producing the Swiss Army Knife among a plethora of other great cutlery and tools also has a great boning/fillet knife to offer in their extensive lineup.
The knife features a very ergonomic handle for great grip, and the blade is curved and flexible, allowing for effortless cuts and precision.
As with all Victorinox products, this knife has a lifetime guarantee against material and workmanship defects, and comes at a stellar price point.
If you want to have a set that has it all and can quickly fillet large quantities of fish at lightning speeds, look no further than the Bubba Blade Pro Series electric fillet knife.
With a brushless motor and two removable and rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs for convenient operation, and 4 different blade designs which include 7 inch E-FLEX, 9 inch E-FLEX, 9 inch E-STIFF and the 12 inch E-STIFF blades, you will have zero issue with any fish from small to large.
All this comes at a very reasonable price and includes a waterproof hard-body carrying case to make transportation at camp, home, or on the water a breeze.
The American Angler Pro Electric Fillet knife is very sleek and comes with two blade types to choose from, stainless steel or titanium.
The knife features a whopping 110 volts, 40 mm motor, and a 8 inch serrated blade to make quick work of your days catch.
You will never lose your grip either with its Santorini grip pad that is cool to the touch.
The American Angler pro electric is also made with high quality components like naval brass and Sasa polymer transmission, and come with a nylon mesh storage case.
The Rapala electric fillet knife is a non-nonsense, no frills knife that gets the job done, pure and simple, and the price of the Rapala electric fillet knife is incredibly affordable, giving you the ability to clean and fillet fish very quickly while keeping more cash in your pocket.
It features two 7.5 inch reciprocating blades that work in tandem and a fillet fork, both of which are made with high-quality stainless steel.
This knife also features a 7 foot 110 volt electrical cord giving you angle length to work with.
Final word on fillet knives
A quality fillet knife can go a long way in making the process of cleaning and filleting fish easy and quick. It’s up to you to decide what you need, maybe an electric fillet knife is your best bet for cleaning large quantities of panfish? Or, maybe you prefer something more precise for delicate cuts.