If you’re like me, you probably love spending a crisp and clear morning out on the water, targeting your favorite bass, walleye, pike, or other sport fish. For most anglers, there is no better place to be!
When it comes to useful fishing gear, no tackle box or vest pocket is complete without a versatile fishing knife. But with so many fillet knife options on the market, it can be hard to choose the best fishing knives for your needs. In this article, we will take a closer look at 10 of the best fishing knives that should absolutely have a place in your gear kit.
Quick Picks: Our Favorite Fishing Knives
The Bubba Blade in the 9” blade length stands out as the best overall fillet knife in my opinion due to its exceptional flexibility for cutting around bones and cartilage, high-quality steel blade that is corrosion resistant, non-slip reliable grip handle for safety, and its overall versatility. It's an excellent choice for precise fileting and can handle large or small fish sizes and types effectively.
The Buck 110 Folding Hunter Knife is a top choice for a folding fishing knife when you want a reliable blade but have limited room in your gear kit. This pocket knife offers a high-quality steel corrosion-resistant blade, a secure lock-back design for safety, and a classic wooden handle that is comfortable and durable making it the right knife for quick or all-day usage.
The Rapala Fish'n Fillet is an affordable option that doesn't skimp on quality and comes from a well-known brand name. It features a flexible steel blade for various fileting tasks, a narrow design for space-saving convenience, and a textured handle for a secure grip. It’s one of the best fishing knives for anyone sticking to a tight budget.
Full Fishing Knife Reviews
Best Folding Fishing Knives
The Gerber Paraframe II is a practical and affordable choice for anglers, hunters, and other outdoorsmen. Its corrosion-resistant stainless steel blade edge holds its sharpness well and is easy to sharpen, making it ideal for various tasks.
The open-frame design on these pocket fishing knives reduces weight and simplifies cleaning, and the sturdy frame lock ensures safe use. This pocket knife is my personal favorite all-around folding fishing knife and I keep one with a razor-sharp blade on hand at all times for anything from cutting rope and splicing cables to fish scaling.
- Stainless steel material for durability and ease of maintenance
- Open-frame design for lightweight and easy cleaning
- Sturdy frame-lock mechanism for secure handling
The Kershaw Blur is a versatile and well-designed folding choice for anglers. It features a high-quality steel blade that's partially serrated for versatile cutting tasks. The opening mechanism ensures quick and smooth deployment, while the secure liner lock keeps the blade in place when these fillet knives are in use. The textured and ergonomic handle is one of my favorite parts of this fillet knife and provides a comfortable and non-slip grip for various fishing activities.
- High-quality stainless steel blade with partial serration for versatility
- SpeedSafe assisted opening for quick and smooth deployment
- Textured and ergonomic handle for a secure and comfortable grip
The Buck 110 is a classic and reliable choice for anyone needing a great all-around outdoor and fishing knife. This fillet knife features a strong 4” blade length that holds its edge well and is easy to sharpen. The lock-back design ensures safety during use, and the wooden handle offers a comfortable and timeless aesthetic that has been around since the 60s.
- High-quality robust 4" stainless steel blade length
- Lock-back design for secure handling
- Elegant and durable vintage wooden handle
Best Fillet Knives for Fishing
The Rapala Fish'n Fillet is one of the more popular fishing knives designed specifically for anglers who need high precision when fileting fish, without having to spend big bucks on other fixed blade styles.
This fillet knife has a flexible steel thinner blade that makes it easy to work around bones and skin, and it includes a fitted sheath for safe and secure storage. I started out with a Rapala fishing knife and loved it for years when fishing thanks to the super sharp blade with razor-sharp edge.
- Flexible stainless steel material for precise fileting
- Compact and folding design for easy storage
- Textured handle for a secure grip when you fillet fish
The Bubba Blade Flex Fillet fishing knife is known for its exceptional flexibility in the 9” quality blade length, which allows you to navigate around bones and skin with ease when cutting out a nice filet.
The blade on this great fishing knife is constructed from high-carbon steel, ensuring durability and edge retention. The non-slip grip handle with a trigger grip design provides excellent control during fileting even when your hands are wet or covered in fish slime making this the right knife when filleting fish both large and small.
- Highly flexible 9" stainless steel fixed blade length
- Non-slip grip handle with trigger grip design
- Extremely sharp edge retention for long-lasting performance
The Victorinox Swiss Army Fishing Fillet Knife is a versatile and reliable fixed-blade option for anglers. As one of the best fishing knives, it features a precision-crafted, razor-sharp steel blade that excels at all big or small fileting tasks. The contoured Fibrox handle offers a secure grip even when wet, and the fillet blades come with a protective sheath for safe storage and transport.
- Razor-sharp stainless steel blade for precision
- Contoured Fibrox handle for a secure grip
- Includes a protective sheath for safe storage
Best Hunting Knives for Fishing
The Benchmade Griptilian is a versatile folding knife known for its exceptional quality and durability. I used this folding knife for a couple of years and it came in handy when fishing, hunting, camping, or cutting baling twine.
This folding knife features high-quality steel blade material that holds its edge well and is robust enough for almost any outdoor task. This quality fishing knife has an ergonomic handle design that provides a secure and comfortable grip, making it easy to handle in wet conditions.
- Premium stainless steel material for excellent edge retention
- Ambidextrous thumb stud for easy one-handed opening
- Textured, ergonomic handle for a secure grip on this folding knife
The Buck 119 Special is a classic fixed-blade knife that can also be a valuable tool for fishing, and it is one of my favorites from this brand. This great fillet knife features durable high-carbon steel blade material with a versatile drop-point design.
These pocket knives feature a razor-sharp full tang blade and handle to provide strength and stability, making them suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities including camping, farm work, field dressing, fishing, and more.
- Full tang, high-carbon stainless steel blade for durability
- Timeless and ergonomic phenolic handle for a comfortable grip
- Included leather sheath for safe storage and transport
Best All-Purpose Fishing Knives
The Victorinox SwissChamp is a versatile knife and multi-tool that can handle a wide range of tasks, making it an excellent choice for fishing and other outdoor activities.
It features a range of tools, including a large and small sharp blade, fish scaler, hook disgorger, and tweezers. The corrosion-resistant steel construction on this pocket knife ensures durability and longevity in all conditions on your next fishing trip.
- Multi-tool functionality with various useful tools
- Durable stainless steel construction
- Compact and lightweight folding knife for easy storage
The Leatherman Wave Plus Multitool is another highly versatile option that's well-suited for fishing and outdoor adventures. It is your standard multitool pocket knife and one of the best fishing pocket knives around that offers a range of useful things including various-sized blades, pliers, wire cutters, and a fish scaler.
The steel construction is built to withstand the tough conditions of any fishing trip, and the tool can be easily carried in a pocket or on a belt making it the perfect fishing knife.
- Multiple useful tools for various tasks
- Rugged stainless steel construction for durability
- Compact and portable folding knife design for easy accessibility
Fishing Knife Buyer’s Guide: Things to Consider
The blade length of the fishing knife you use is an important consideration and should match the type of fishing you do. For smaller fish and precision tasks like fileting, a smaller fillet knife with a thin and flexible blade is best. For larger species or general purposes, a larger fishing knife with a thicker and more robust blade may be more versatile.
Consider the specific knife features that cater to your fishing needs on both fixed-blade and pocket knives. Some useful features include serrated edges for cutting through tough fish scales or ropes, gut hooks for easily opening up fish, toothed scalers for removing scales, and line cutters or bottle openers for added versatility. Thin and flexible blades are the best for filleting fish, while a thicker sharp, and versatile knife blade is great for cutting rope, deheading fish, and other outdoor uses.
Pay attention to the blade material and handle materials when selecting a good fishing knife. Common blade materials on the best fishing knives include stainless steel and high-carbon stainless steel since they are both long-lasting and corrosion-resistant. The best fillet knife handle material is often rubberized or textured for a secure grip, even when wet or coated in fish slime.
Given the near-constant exposure to both freshwater and saltwater, your perfect knife should have excellent corrosion resistance. Stainless steel blades are known for their resistance to rust and corrosion, making them a popular choice for the best fishing knives you can toss in your tackle box and use year after year. They can also be lightweight or heavy-duty to meet your needs when it comes to finding the best knife.
Comfort is crucial in the best knife, especially during long fishing trips or when fileting a large number of fish after a successful fishing trip. Look for the best fishing knife with an ergonomic and secure handle that fits comfortably in your hand and doesn’t cause muscle strain or bruising when being used many times throughout the day.
Safety should always be a top priority when it comes to the best fishing knife and selecting good fishing knives. Features like a secure locking mechanism for folding knives and a thick and durable leather or nylon sheath for a fixed-blade knife are essential features to consider when handling a knife safely. Also, ensure the best fishing knife is easy to control to prevent accidents by having a grippy handle that does not get slick or hard to hold when wet or covered in slime.
Set your budget based on your needs and expectations when it comes to the best fishing knife or multi-tool. The best knives and tools come in a wide price range, from budget-friendly options to high-end models and well-known global brands. Remember that the quality of the filleting knife often correlates with price, but you can find a reliable and good fillet knife in the lower price ranges too so don’t be afraid to go for a budget brand when searching for the right fishing knife.
Consider the flexibility of the fillet knife blade itself when removing scales or cutting through tough fish skin. A flexible blade is excellent for fileting tasks, while a more rigid blade may be better suited for heavier cutting or chopping tasks. The level of flexibility you need on versatile knives will depend on the types of fish you typically catch and how you intend to use the fishing knife.