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Fishing Accessories

10 Best Fillet Knife for Cleaning Fish in 2024 – Reviews with Buying Guide

Imagine reeling in that prized redfish, trout or salmon during a fishing expedition. Your next thought would dwell on how delicious it would be on your plate tonight. Well, that thought becomes a permanent imprint on your mind after filleting.

Having the best fillet knife is a huge bonus for any angler. You can easily prepare fish right on the boat before you turn in. That way, you’re sure your next stop after the fishing hole is your kitchen pan.

Sadly, there are tons of brands out there, most of which are of terrible quality. Some aren’t even fishing-friendly- breaking or corroding easily after a few uses. Having to change your fillet knife too regularly can be a total drag to your fishing hobby.

There’s also the issue of taste. I’ve come to notice that I like my fillet knives thinner and smaller. Others might prefer those with shorter handles. The point is, preferences differ. So, it’s good to understand what to look out for in a good fillet knife. Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a list of the best products on the market for you to choose from.

Best Professional Fish Fillet Knife Reviews

01 Rapala NK03039-BRK Fish N Fillet (Best Overall)

Rapala NK03039-BRK Fish N Fillet

A renowned name in fillet knife-making, Rapala has been turning up quality products for decades. Its products are amongst the best-rated fillet knives worldwide so it’s no surprise this brand is the top fillet knife on our list.

The Fish N Fillet brings you top-of-the-world performance blended with the traditional feel of manual filleting. It features superior quality in all ramifications, making it the best fillet knife for fish.

It comes with a 7-inch full tang, stainless steel blade of Swedish origin. The high-quality and environment-friendly Swedish steel blade used in this knife is razor-sharp, durable, and corrosion-resistant.

The coating on the blade is non-sticky, allowing fillet to come off effortlessly. The blade is beautifully engraved, giving it a graceful and sleek appearance.

This top fish fillet knife also features a varnished long-lasting Birchwood handle, just like Rapala’s Finlander model, giving you a good, non-slip grip. The blade seats comfortably on the reinforced handle. The grip and blade flexibility combines to give you full control of the knife. The handle also rocks the traditional Rapala signature engraving.

Rapala Fish N Fillet knife is very easy to clean. It also cuts through various fish sizes, making the knife very versatile. A good hose down will get chunks out of any corners of the handle and on the blade.

It also comes with a single stage sharpener that hones your blade edge with a few swipes. And it features a leather sheath that is both functional and stylish.


  • Full dimensions: 15x6x2 inches
  • Type: Traditional manual
  • Blade Length: 7.5 inches
  • Blade style: full tang and progressively tapered
  • Item weight: 4.8ounces lbs.
  • Blade material: hand ground engraved Swedish stainless steel
  • Handle material: varnished reinforced Birchwood


  • Very durable build with a razor-sharp blade
  • Beautifully crafted leather sheath
  • Comfortable, lightweight non-slip grip
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Safety guard handle


  • Small handle
  • Tiny chunks for fish can get stuck on brass ferrule

Our Verdict

Rapala Fish N Fillet offers more features on one knife than any other product around. It’s durable with an easy-to-clean stainless steel blade of Scandinavian quality. The reinforced Birchwood handle is very smooth to touch.

The knife is simple, yet elegant and crafted almost to perfection. And it scores top marks for versatility. This knife is the obvious choice for anyone who fancies simplicity and high performance. Why else will it be our top-rated fish fillet knife?

02 American Angler PRO (Best for Pros)

American Angler PRO

This is no doubt the second best fillet knife on our list. Seriously, people who fillet lots of large fish should thank American Angler for this amazing gift. The Pro professional electric fillet knife is capable of handling tougher tasks. Salmon, Rock Cod, Grouper, Catfish….it doesn’t matter.

This knife is designed to be durable and strong, making it the ultimate professional fillet knife.

The Pro comes with a curved 8-inch long serrated stainless steel blade. The heavy-duty blade is corrosion-resistant and interchangeable, allowing you to perform numerous tasks. The compatibility feature of the Pro EFK also allows the use or any American Angler blade.

The knife runs on a 110volt powered motor supplied by an 8-foot polarized power cord. The motor gives it enough power to cut through fish bones with ease. Its superior drive train ensures a life span up to 4 times longer than most electric fillet knives.

It also features a cooling and venting fan. This prevents overheating, so you can operate the knife for long hours. The handle is also designed to give an easier, comfortable grip regardless of how much time you’ve spent working. This makes cutting lots of large fish a much simpler task.

There are two curved replacement blades for the Pro EFK, one being a sharp blade. It also comes with a mesh bag for storage and a glove for safety.


  • Full dimensions: 14×5.5×3.8 inches
  • Type: Electric
  • Blade Length: 8 inches
  • Blade style: curved, serrated and interchangeable
  • Item weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Blade material: stainless steel
  • Handle material: Plastic with a rubber strip


  • Lots of torque and power
  • Interchangeable blades
  • Durable construction
  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Compatible with a wide range of American Angler blades
  • Built-in cooling fan


  • New users will need more practice to use this knife efficiently
  • Not suitable for outdoor activities

Our Verdict

With a motor that offers double the torque and power, the PRO EFK is the ideal tool for long hours of fish preparation. It also offers you blade options, improving versatility. Its ergonomic handle gives is suited for longer operational hours. And the durable blade easily tackles tougher saltwater species.

The PRO EFK is obviously one of the best professional fillet knives for fish. Commercial fishermen and professional chefs will fall in love with this baby at first grab.

03 Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife (Best Electric Fillet Knife)

Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife

It’s no surprise that Rapala would prevail on both manual and electric grounds. The Heavy Duty EFK provides optimum performance, as is expected from a top-quality fillet knife. It gives you great results in almost every filleting and fish preparing tasks you carry out.

Its high quality 7.5-inch reciprocating blade with an ultra-sharp edge is suitable for working on both medium and large-sized fish. It operates on a 110volt heavy-duty motor supplied by an 8-inch power cord. This provides it with three times the power and two times the speed of regular EFKs.

The ergonomic plastic handle provides a more relaxed and comfortable grip. You can handle long hours of work without getting tired easily. The body is designed to promote airflow through the knife and reduce vibration. The Rapala Heavy-duty EFK is dishwasher-safe and the cord is long enough to allow work around the bench.


  • Full dimension: 16x7x3 inches
  • Type: Electric
  • Blade Length: 7.5 inches
  • Blade style: curved, reciprocating blade with serrated edge
  • Item weight: 1.78 lbs.
  • Blade material: stainless steel
  • Handle material: Ergonomic plastic


  • Heavy-duty motor
  • Double cutting speed
  • Triple cutting power
  • High-quality durable blade material
  • Ergonomic handle design


  • Not suitable for outdoor use
  • No sheath

Our Verdict

The reciprocating capacity of the blade increases its cutting speed twofold. A heavy-duty motor combined with the top quality durable blade material grants this EFK impressive cutting power. Yet, it feels right and smooth in the hand due to its comfortable handle build.

And all these are offered to you at a surprisingly affordable price. Rapala surprised the market with this heavy-duty EFK. If you’re in the market for the best fish fillet knife in the electric department, pick this up. You’ll be glad you did.

04 Victorinox Swiss Army Pro Boning Knife

Victorinox Swiss Army Pro Boning Knife

When you hear the name Victorinox, one thing comes to mind- Swiss army knives. Known for making quality products over the years, the brand keeps it up with this all-purpose addition to their collection. Many fillet knife reviews feature this product and for good reason- they’re just that good.

It comes with a 6-inch razor-sharp blade, perfect for versatility. The blade is made from high carbon European stainless steel, conically ground to maximize sharpness. It is lightweight, flexible and has an S-shaped edge, making it perfect for regular use. And the steel is ice-tempered, making it very easy to hone and maintain.

The lightweight, textured, ergonomic handle is made of Fibrox to give you a solid, non-slip grip. With it, you can work comfortably for long hours around slime, grease, and blood without wrist tension. And it’s also very easy to clean. Even the National Sanitary Foundation approves the sanitary standards of the handle.

Victorinox Swiss Army 6-inch fillet knife also comes in a wide variety of styles- curved, semi-stiff, straight or semi-flexible. Both the handle and the blade blend together to strike the perfect weight balance. This combo gives you amazing maneuverability and knife control. The classic Swiss craftsmanship gives this knife superior durability and toughness, ensuring a long-lasting service life.


  • Full dimensions: 11.4×1.4×0.8 inches
  • Type: Manual
  • Blade Length: 6 inches
  • Blade style: curved flexible with S-shaped edge
  • Item weight: 13.6 oz.
  • Blade material: high carbon, ice-tempered European stainless steel
  • Handle material: Fibrox


  • Very versatile
  • Ergonomic, non-slip, hygienic handle
  • Comes in a wide variety of styles
  • Durable, flexible, razor-sharp blade
  • Quality, yet lightweight build


  • No sheath
  • No sharpener

Our Verdict

With just the right amount of flex, strength, and sharpness, the thin blade works perfectly on virtually all fish. The S-shaped edge gives the perfect sharpness and the overall lightweight ensures total knife control.

The materials are of superior quality and the craftsmanship is top-notch. Plus, it is unbelievably affordable. It really deserves to be a best-rated fish fillet knife for all purposes.

Whether you’re a professional chef, a fisherman, or a regular kitchen person, the Victorinox Swiss Army 6-inch fillet knife will serve you well. It is the perfect versatile tool for all sorts of deboning jobs.

05 Bubba Blade 12 Inch Flex Curved Fillet Knife

Bubba Blade 12 Inch Flex Curved Fillet Knife

If you’re the adventurous type who likes the challenge of larger fish, then you need this fillet knife. The Bubba Blade 12-inch Flex offers the power and flexibility required for tackling challenging catch like Salmon and Tuna. Many even consider it the best fishing fillet knife around.

The 12-inch flex blade grants you immense maneuverability needed to debone tougher fish. A full tang high carbon stainless steel blade gives more than enough sharpness for this purpose. The 8Cr13MoV blade is tough, yet flexible enough for cleaning out large fish with simpler strokes.

The blade is coated with TriNitride to ensure rust-resistance as you cut clean through tough scales. An extra-sharp, pointed tip allows easy picking of bones. The combination of sharpness, toughness, and durability of the blade makes it the ideal fishing knife.

The handle is slip-proof so you can work comfortably around blood and slime. A trigger grip feature ensures total security from blade and spine, as well as great knife control. The ergonomic rubber handle gets sticky when wet, ensuring safe and controlled cutting procedures every time.

The stylish Bubba Blade signature red texture is complemented by a silver or black blade. It also comes with a custom-made synthetic sheath. A belt loop allows safe, hands-free transport as well as safety.

The sheath is also designed to protect the blade from damage during storage. Its razor-sharp edges are also maintained to give you precise cutting experience for every use.


  • Full dimensions: 7.1x0x0.6 inches
  • Type: Manual
  • Blade Length: 12 inches
  • Blade style: full tang, slightly curved with TriNitride coating
  • Item weight: 12 oz.
  • Blade material: 8Cr13MoV high carbon stainless steel
  • Handle material: Non-slip, ergonomic rubber


  • Durable, heavy-duty build
  • Flexible high carbon stainless steel blade with a razor-sharp edge
  • Ergonomic trigger grip that improves with wetness
  • Rust-resistant
  • Safety guards against blade and bone


  • The large handle does not suit users with small hands
  • Pricey

Our Verdict

The Bubba Blade 12-inch Flex is a great investment, regardless of its high price. Its razor-sharp edge combines with its strength to ensure clean cuts. The rubber handle gets adhesive as it becomes wet, giving you an even more solid grip.

Its trigger grip protects from slips and shields fingers from a fishbone. And the knife is impressively flexible, for its size.

Filleting larger fish becomes a breeze when using this knife. This is why it is our top-rated fillet knife for cutting larger fish. The price is totally worth it as well. I mean, what else do you expect from a product of superior quality?

06 Buck 0220BLS

Buck 0220BLS

When portability became an issue, Buck Knives came to our rescue with this product. The 220 Silver Creek fishing fillet knife is the perfect compact tool. Its small size does not at all hinder its performance as it offers durability, toughness, and flexibility all-in-one little package.

This impressive fillet knife comes with a 6.5-inch blade, crafted from 420J2 stainless steel, well-known for its toughness. It also has just enough flex to fillet smoothly. The edge comes razor-sharp, holds well, and is easy to sharpen.

A titanium coating improves the blade’s hardness, rust, and corrosion resistance, allowing use even in saltwater environs.

The easy-to-clean, Blue glass reinforced polypropylene handle is covered with TPE rubber, ensuring a solid grip. The rubber is also grooved to maximize comfort and slip-proof, even when slimy. A stainless steel safety guard is featured so the hand and blade never meet. Accidental closing is also prevented by the mid-lock back design.

The 220 Silver Creek fishing fillet knife is specially fashioned for portability. Its folding design makes it easy to carry in your pocket or pouch. It also comes with a lanyard so you can conveniently and safely attach it to your belt when traveling. All these combine to make it an ideal fillet knife for those who prefer compactness.


  • Full dimensions: 0.4×0.4×0.4 inches
  • Type: Manual Folding
  • Blade Length: 6.5 inches
  • Blade Style: slightly curved, flexible
  • Item weight: 3.2 oz.
  • Blade material: 420J2 stainless steel with titanium coating
  • Handle material: reinforced polypropylene with TPE rubber covering


  • Foldable blade for compactness and convenience
  • Extra durable, titanium-coated, razor-sharp stainless steel blade
  • Stainless blade guard
  • Rust and corrosion-resistance
  • Firm, non-slip grip


  • No sharpener

Our Verdict

With its foldable blade, this knife offers you compactness like no other. The titanium-coated stainless steel blade is tough and flexible enough for smooth cleaning.

The razor-sharp edge and pointed tip make bone removing easy. And the quality handle material gives you an assured grip, even in wet conditions.

The 220 Silver Creek fishing fillet knife has just the right size and thickness required in a high-performance tool. Its compact build and design are fashioned to allow you to do more with less.

07 Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex Knife

Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex Knife

Rapala offers extra flex for your cutting pleasure with the Fish N Fillet Superflex. This quality fillet knife comes with all the great things we love about Rapala knives and the bonus of incredible flexibility. It is safe to say that maneuvering through fish when cleaning has never been easier. This product is a great knife for filleting fish of various sizes.

It rocks a 6-inch stainless steel blade with an ultra-sharp edge. The hand-ground blade is super thin, allowing maximum flexibility. A PFTE non-stick coating allows the blade to slice effortlessly through flesh.

And the sharp pointed tip ensures maximum deboning function. The Fish N Fillet Superflex also gives you two other blade length options; 4” and 7.5”.

It’s baked and hand-rubbed Birchwood handle provides a comfortable grip and prevents accidental slips. A polished brass ferrule holds the blade firmly in place with the handle. This fillet knife also comes with a beautifully fashioned genuine leather sheath. The tooled sheath has a belt loop for safe and convenient carrying, as well as storage.

The amazing Swedish craftsmanship is crowned with the signature Rapala engraving on both blades and handle. The result is an attractive fillet knife with incredible functionality, flexibility, and strength.


  • Full dimensions: 11.7×4.6×1.4 inches (4?); 14×5.6×1.6 inches (6?); 5x6x15.2 inches (7.5?)
  • Type: Manual
  • Blade Length: 4, 6 & 7.5 inches
  • Blade style: tang, slightly curved, extra thin, extra flexible
  • Item weight: 3.84 oz. (4?); 2.4 oz. (6?); 7.8 oz. (7.5?)
  • Blade material: engraved hand ground stainless steel with PFTE coating
  • Handle material: baked, hand-rubbed Birchwood, engraved


  • Super flexible, high-quality stainless steel blade
  • Non-stick blade coating
  • Durable and solid build
  • Comfortable, solid Birchwood handle
  • Comes in three blade length options


  • No sharpener
  • Tiny chunks might get stuck around the brass ferrule

Our Verdict

Offering the highest quality and flexibility, the Fish N Fillet Superflex is not a knife to be bypassed. Made with high-class stainless steel, it is tough and durable. The PFTE coating allows the blade to pass smoothly through fish as you cut.

Its Birchwood handle offers great comfort and grip with a texture that prevents slips. And the stylish sheath makes it easy to transport.

You want to enjoy more control as you cut and clean fish? Do you seek flex that feels limitless? Then go for this fillet knife. The combination of all these features makes it our choice for fishing. Still, for the electric option you can opt for PGEFR or HD from Rapala.

08 KastKing Fillet Knife

KastKing Fillet Knife

Looking for the fillet knife that gives you satisfaction for an average budget? Look no further. Kastking fillet knives will give you that and more. This brand offers you a great deal on a wide range of options that are just too irresistible. It offers you unbelievably affordable professional quality.

The blade is made from quality German stainless steel. It comes in two blade styles for filleting- fixed and flexible. The fixed blade knife measures 9 inches and is thicker, stiffer, and best for larger fish. The flexible blade knife comes in 6, 7 & 9-inch sizes and with just the right level of flexibility required for filleting.

The blade comes razor sharp, making it one of the sharpest fillet knives on the market. The edge is easy to maintain and the stainless steel material ensures durability. The G4116 German stainless steel is also stylishly designed and comes with a black finish, giving it a catchy look.

The handle is made with a non-slip super polymer, ensuring a powerful yet comfortable grip. It makes sure the knife feels at home in your hand as you cut. The handle is also very easy to clean and the polymer material is built to be long-lasting.

All Kastking Madbite knives come with a protective and stylish sheath to ensure safe transport and storage. The sheath is lightweight, with open slots at the sides. Water can easily drain out on these, so your blade remains dry always. The sheath is also designed to safely lock the handle in place, yet easily unsheathe when pulled.


  • Full dimensions: 14.3×3.2×1.2 inches (6? & 7? flexible); 16.8×3.2×1.3 inches (9? flexible); 16.7×3.2×1.2 inches (9? strong)
  • Type: Manual
  • Blade Length: 6, 7 and 9 inches
  • Blade Style: slightly curved flexible or stiff with beautiful black finish
  • Item weight: 6.7 oz. (6? flexible); 6.9 oz. (7? flexible); 8.2 oz. (9? flexible); 9.3 oz. (9? strong)
  • Blade material: G4116 German stainless steel
  • Handle material: Non-slip super polymer/golf style rubber


  • Offers a wide range of knives for various use
  • Durable, flexible blade material with ultra-sharp edge
  • Very affordable
  • Comfortable, non-slip grip
  • Easy to carry around


  • Very large handle
  • Does not come with a sharpener

Our Verdict

Hardly will you see any brand out there that offers so many features at such giveaway prices. It boasts a beautifully crafted blade and handles. It comes in a wide range of sizes and flexibility to perfectly suit your need.

Its features durability of the highest quality and a lightweight protective sheath. Its top-of-the-world quality compliments the cost, making it the best fish fillet knife for the money.

If you want to feel like a professional but cannot afford the tools, this is the closest alternative up for sale. In my opinion, its 7” size is the best for trout.

09 Rapala4 Soft Grip Fillet

Rapala4 Soft Grip Fillet

The Rapala4 Soft Grip fillet knife comes with all the great features associated with the brand. However, it lets you enjoy all these with a handle that offers the utmost comfort. You get amazing knife quality and performance coupled with a grip that is almost dreamy.

This fillet knife features the typical quality Swedish stainless steel accustomed to Rapala knives. The blade sizes come in various length options- 4, 6, 7, 7.5 & 9 inches. The blade is razor-sharp, hand-ground and with just the right amount of flex. This means you can make precise and smooth cuts with every stroke.

The handle is what makes this fillet knife so special. It is made with non-slip, soft-grip material with a molded texture that’s super comfortable and feels perfectly natural in your hand. It is also designed to minimize hand fatigue during use, even after smeared with oil, slime, or blood.

The soft handle combines with the powerful blade to give you complete knife control every time. A finger guard prevents slips and protects your hand from the blade. The razor-sharp edge also holds well even after lots of use. Plus, it comes with a single-stage sharpener to maintain the edge with just a few swipes.

For safety and convenience, a genuine leather sheath is featured to perfectly house the knife when not in use. A belt clip on the sheath allows you to move around with it effortlessly. The interior is plastic, allowing the knife to securely lock in place.

Overall, the sheath of classy, cozy, and durable enough to protect the razor edges upon storage.


  • Full dimensions: 8x5x5 inches (4?); 5x5x5 inches (6?, 7.5? & 9?); 9.8×6.4×17.9 inches (7?);
  • Type: Manual
  • Blade Length: 4, 6, 7, 7.5 & 9 inches
  • Blade style: slightly curved
  • Item weight: 3.2 oz. (4?); 8 oz. (6?); 9.9 oz. (7?); 7.2 oz. (7.5?); 10.2 oz.
  • Blade material: Swedish stainless steel
  • Handle material: Ergonomic soft grip composite


  • Enlarged finger guard
  • Long, narrow, razor-sharp flexible blade
  • Stylish and portable sheath
  • Sleek design
  • Comes with a sharpener


  • Soft Grip makes the knife feel cheap
  • Handle too large for small-handed users

Our Verdict

Comfort, style, flexibility, and precision- these are the top qualities of the Rapala4 Soft Grip fillet knife. Its premium Swedish stainless steel blade guarantees clean cuts every time. The ergonomic composite handle gives you a natural feel on every use. And its stylish black leather sheath provides a convenient carrying option.

This product is a wise choice. That is, of course, if you don’t mind the soft feel of a composite handle on a great knife. Then again, who does?

10 Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife

Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife

A product that lives up to its name, the Fishing Comfort FK gives you all round satisfaction in your filleting experience. It is specially fashioned to make your tasks seem effortless and relaxing and still produce great results. Morakniv is a popular sight in many fish fillet knife reviews and this knife excels in both style and comfort.

The Blade comes in two sizes- a 6.1-inch versatile and a 3.5-inch. The former is great for cleaning a wide range of fish sizes while the latter, smaller sizes. The blade is made from Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel, well known for its toughness. The metal is very razor-sharp, hard, corrosion-resistant, and displays impressive flexibility.

The Morakniv Fishing Comfort FK upholds its name with its handle design. The high-friction handle is very durable and allows easy grip maintenance. It is also patterned to eliminate the chances of slips. With it, you can operate in wet, slimy conditions with the utmost ease. The slip-proof handle is also designed not to absorb odors, making it much easier to clean.

The knife comes with a custom-made, easy-to-clean plastic sheath with slots at the sides. This prevents the buildup of odor in the sheath and makes the water drain easy when cleaning. The 6.1-inch model comes with two belt clips that you can interchange. You can decide to loop the knife or clip it over your belt. The 3.5-inch knife, however, comes with just one belt clip.


  • Full dimensions: 14x5x1 inches (6.1”); 1x9x6 inches (3.5?)
  • Type: Manual
  • Blade Length: 6.1 inches, 3.5 inches
  • Blade Style: full tang; slightly curved (6.1?), straight (3.5?)
  • Item weight: 4.41 lbs.
  • Blade material: Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel
  • Handle material: Non-slip, high friction rubber


  • Two size options
  • High-quality, flexible stainless steel blade
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Very comfortable, slip-proof, odor-resistant handle
  • Very easy to carry around


  • No sharpener included

Our Verdict

The clip/loop on the plastic sheath allows you to carry the Morakniv Fishing Comfort fillet knife around. The 6.1-inch model is very versatile and both sizes are super flexible. The grip is very comfortable and slip-proof, offering you maximum control. And the blade is made from premium quality corrosion-resistant Sandvik stainless steel.

When you need a quality fillet knife you can take anywhere, this is your best bet. Easy use and quality performance are the magic blends that make it stand out. It is undoubtedly the best fillet knife for fish as far as comfort is concerned.

How To Fillet A Fish With An Electric Knife

Step 1: Put the fish on a chopping board and place the knife right behind the pectoral fin

Step 2: Don’t push the electric knife too hard or it may go all the way through the fish

Step 3: Cut down at an angle from the back of the pectoral fin to the front

Step 4: Stop when you hit the spine so that you don’t go through and make a mess

Step 5: Turn the knife 90 degrees towards the tail

Step 6: Point the knife at an angle and keep it along the backbone while you cut down towards the back

Step 7: Make sure to cut through the rib at the same time

Step 8: Don’t cut-off the skin from the fish yet. Hold onto it with your fingers

Step 9: Slice the knife between the skin and the fillet to seperate them

Step 10: Don’t push too hard on the skin or the knife may go through it

Step 11: If there’s any rib cage left on the fillet, scoop it out with the knife

Step 12: Do the same thing on the other side of the fish for another fillet

When Are Fillet Knives Necessary?

A fillet knife is basically a fish cutting knife. Like a fillet fork, it is specially designed to clean fish before preparation. They’re fashioned to remove scales, bones and cut fish clean off the spine. They’re also flexible enough to move cut smoothly under the flesh.

Fillet knives are very different from other knives. They’re thinner than boning knives, allowing them to easily move through fish. They’re also thicker at the ends and pointer at the tips than carving knives. This allows more strength and easy picking of bones.

With a fillet knife, you can cut and clean efficiently, whether in your kitchen or on the boat. It’s your best bet for trimming fat, deboning, descaling and cutting through fish with ease. Surprisingly, these utensils are also very handy for preparing vegetables and segmenting citrus. And they’re also good for carving smaller food like carrots or radishes.

A fillet knife is a great addition to your kitchen. If you’re an angler, this handy tool makes preparing fish much easier. It’s also a great companion for those who regularly prepare fresh fish, professionally or as a hobby.

If you fall into the general category of those who regularly prepare fresh fish, you need to pick the best fillet knife for you. Hopefully, our fish fillet knife reviews would help you learn how to do that and even give you options to pick from.

Best Fillet Knife for The Money – A Buying Guide

Best Fillet Knife – Buying Guide

A good fillet knife is a difference between cutting fish like a pro and stabbing your fist in frustration. You want to go for something that gives you good value for your money.

You need a blade that works as an extension of your very arm, cutting as precisely as you want. As such, you must consider the following factors before purchasing any fillet knife.

1. Design & Size

The combination of all its parts determines the overall design of the fillet knife, so it must be considered. The type of blade, thickness, handle material and specification of use will determine how the blade looks and feels. High-end knife models will be ergonomically satisfying and functionally effective.

It also determines what it works best for. Straight-edge blades are great for precision cuts. Serrated edges easily cut through tough scales and tapered tips Also, fillet knives come in small, medium and large sizes. What you choose depends on how large your catch is and the precise purpose of use.

The most common colors for the handles are white, black, blue, rainbow, teal, cyan, orange, purple and yellow.

2. Blade

All knives are basically made up of the blade and the handle, with the blade being the cutting part. Before picking a fillet knife, analyze the following blade properties; its material, its size, and its sharpness.

  • Blade material

What is the blade made of? How sturdy and durable is it? Is it easy to sharpen? Is it rust and corrosion-resistant? Does it clean easily? All these are questions to be asked.

Generally, stainless steel is the most used blade metal because it is most versatile while high carbon steel sharpens best. Titanium steel is also used though, these are usually more expensive. Whichever you choose, make sure the material is also of high quality.

  • Blade size

You need to ask yourself if the size of the blade improves or hinders functionality for you. Blades come in varying lengths and your choice is based on how large the fish is. Smaller fish like bluegills require more precision and that is best achieved with shorter blades (preferably around 5 inches).

Blades around 7 inches are considered ‘all-purpose’ and are suitable for averagely sized catches such as crappie, panfish and bass. And for larger fish such as salmon, blades longer than 8-9 inches should be considered.

  • Sharpness

Fillet knives are basically made for precision. So they must come with razor-sharp edges that can cut precisely and finely through fish. The edges should also be able to hold well and not blunt too quickly. Plus, you need to make sure the blade sharpens quickly and easily to maintain the edge.

3. Handle Material

The handle is the controlling part of the knife. The type of material used must be compatible with preparing and cutting fish. Cutting fish releases lots of water, slime, and blood so you’ll need a handle that doesn’t slip easily.

The material used must also be comfortable for long use in cases where you need to work on lots of fish. Good fillet knives come with wooden, rubber or plastic handles. When choosing, go for the type that agrees with your handling. However, the old vintage models are more likely to have wooden handles.

4. Comfort & Grip

Also, ensure that the grip of the knife is solid and firm. Make sure it doesn’t slip easily or you’ll wind up cutting yourself more often than the fish. A good fillet knife will feel comfortable and sturdy to your grip, regardless of the condition.

Using a fillet knife requires you to feel right when handling it. That way, you can cut and fillet with much ease. The right fillet knife for you is that which feels natural in your hand. Make sure the handle material is comfortable to your grip and doesn’t make your hands ache. You’ll appreciate this when you’re preparing lots of fish.

5. Strength

The thickness of the fillet knife blade determines its strength. Thicker blades are usually stronger and easily cut larger fish. Thinner blades, however, might have you struggling through that tuna. Before selecting one, ask yourself if the blade is thick enough to slice through your catch. Be assured that professional-grade knives wouldn’t fail you in the strength department.

6. Flexibility

When filleting fish, you would have situations where you need to bend the blade for better precision. This refers to the blade’s flexibility. Thinner, shorter, and smaller blades tend to be more flexible, allowing easier deboning and precision cuts.

If your knife is thin, there’s no homemade or handmade remedy, and you should be buying a thicker one. You can work on making the handle more personalized though, attaching extra gripping material over it.

Flexibility is often looked for when the fish to be filleted is small. Thicker blades are usually less flexible as this is not usually required when cutting larger fish. They make up for this by offering strength in size and length.

7. Safety & Hygiene

Filleting brings you in contact with a lot of blood and bacteria, especially with freshly-caught fish. This is why it is important to purchase a knife with safety features. Most fillet knives have dimpled handles to ensure firmer grips. Others come with finger guards between the handle and the blade junction.

Also, good sanitary features must be present on a fillet knife. There must be no gap between the blade and the handle at the meeting point. This avoids the accumulation of materials that can breed bacteria in areas that are hard to clean. A good fish fillet knife must be easy to clean.

8. Purpose

Perhaps the most important question to ask when buying fillet knives is ‘why’. Different fish and different situations require different fillet knives. In order to get a great deal, you must ensure the knife will serve the purpose efficiently.

Smaller fish require shorter, thinner, more flexible fillet knives. Larger, stiffer, longer knives work best on tougher tasks synonymous with a bigger catch, especially saltwater fish. And freshwater species can be easily prepared with medium-sized fillet knives.

Indoor tasks and bulk filtering are best performed with an electric fillet knife. Manual knives are your best bet for outdoor use as they don’t need a power source. These can be carried in different fishing spots with you. They are tiny enough to fit a fishing backpack.

Some models come with a spoon attached to the knife butt, this particular part can be used for scaling the fish before slicing the flesh.

9. Electric vs Non-electric

Originally, fillet knives are used like regular knives giving you complete control over cut depth, precision, and flexibility. However, some electric sawzall type knife models are also available. These make filleting a large quantity of fish faster.

Many even come with different changeable blades so you can work on a wide variety of fish. The battery-powered models are also available. These models come with rechargeable batteries.

Many users, though, prefer to be in full control of the fillet knife and opt for the non-electric models. Non-electric means manual. In the end, it boils down to what you prefer, and if time is an important factor.

Care & Maintenance Tips

Any good tool loses its quality if not properly taken care of and your fillet knife is no different. Even a good model needs constant maintenance. This is a special tool, unlike your average kitchen knife so, it is important you take great care of it. This will make sure the knife stays good and functional for a great long time.

Many people make the mistake of treating their fillet knives like any other kitchen utensil, which is very wrong. We’re talking about a tool specially crafted to survive harsh saltwater conditions and constant assault from fish fluids. If anything, it deserves special attention.

So, in order to treat your prized fillet knife with the respect it rightfully deserves, follows these tips;

  • Use a plastic or bamboo cutting board for filleting or making sushi. These put less stress on the knife edge.
  • Wash by hand with warm water and soap after use. A mild detergent will also do.
  • Rinse off the soap and wipe dry with a soft towel. Be gentle when doing this.
  • Store knife in its custom sheath and place in a drawer. If it doesn’t have one, make a specified block with a soft surface for it and it alone.

Now, you know what to do to maintain your prized fillet knife. Now, let’s go through tips on what NOT to do. If you want your knife to live a long, fruitful life, do NOT;

  • Ever store without cleaning
  • Ever store moist or wet
  • Wash with detergent
  • Wash with hot water
  • Leave to soak in water or in a stainless sink
  • Store loosely together with other kitchen utensils

Safety Tips

So, we have gone through how to take care of your fillet knife, to ensure its longevity. Now, it’s time to go through tips on how to take care of YOU when filleting. These knives bank on razor-sharp edges and pointed ends to enhance performance.

If care is not taken, you might end up getting seriously injured when using one of these.

Freshly caught fish can be slippery and come with loads of microbes. A cut while cleaning it is an open invitation to infection. Coupled with the sharp bones and scales, you’ll understand why extra care must be taken when filleting.

In summary, follow these rules when cleaning fish to avoid constant use of your first aid kit;

  • Always cut fish away from yourself and never towards. Don’t use a blank blade.
  • Wear a good on your handling hand for a good grip. Waterproof gloves work best in holding the fish.
  • Wear non-slip boots to get a firm stance. Also, wear an apron to protect your clothes from fish fluids.
  • Try as much as possible to avoid handling fish with your knife-hand. If you do, rinse and wipe properly before resuming.
  • Fillet fish on non-slip cutting board.
  • Clean cutting board before preparing new fish.
  • Try cutting from head to tail, down the dorsal spine. This helps you avoid injuries from the gill plates.
  • Cut carefully and do not rush. Filleting is an art, so take your sweet time.

Wrapping It Up

Getting the right fillet knife can be a herculean task for most enthusiasts. This is why we have compiled this detailed list to assist you. We have done the heavy lifting by analyzing and comparing tons of products on the market. The result is a comprehensive guide aimed at helping you make an easier, yet solid choice.

All the products mentioned above are great. The Rapala Superflex grants you the utmost flexibility for maneuvering through fish. The electric-powered American Pro suits large-scale fish cleaning. And the Morakniv Fishing Comfort favors those who prefer a more laid-back filleting experience.

When you go through our list, we’re sure you’ll find a product that calls to you. Be sure to check their features so you know which product suits your needs. With this list, we’re very sure that your search for the best fillet knife has come to an end.


1. What Is the Best Fillet Knife on the Market?

Ans: Go for our 1st choice– Rapala NK03039-BRK Fish N Fillet Knife. This one ticks all the right boxes to be the most versatile fillet knife on the list. You can also check the other models on our list, which are equally remarkable.

2. What Size Fish Fillet Knife Is Best?

Ans: Always pick a 6-inch knife for filleting. It’s the right size for most freshwater filleting tasks. Also, pick the one that has a skinny blade for accuracy and saving meat. Thin knives are flexible enough to skin the fish correctly.

3. What Is the Best Steel for a Fillet Knife?

Ans: We prefer the Swedish Steel for fillet knives more than the others because of its unique properties. These blades are super sharp, the edges are unmatchably sturdy even when they are thin. You’d want your knife to be sharp, thin, strong, and durable, and Swedish steel can be molded into the right shape to meet all these characteristics.

4. Do I Need a Fillet Knife?

Ans: The question somewhat is entangled with the question of whether you want to do filleting of your fish with precision. A fillet knife has no alternative if you care about perfection and those extra bits of meat that you don’t want to get wasted. If you don’t really care, you are good enough with a chef’s knife.

5. What Is the Best Fillet Knife Sharpener?

Ans: Smith’s CCKS 2-Step Knife Sharpener is the best fillet knife sharpener for the money. You wouldn’t need to have knife sharpening skills to sharpen your knife with this particular sharpener.

6. How long should a fillet knife be?

Ans. Fillet knives are usually 4 to 10 inches in length. Short 4-6 inch fillet knives are made for small fishes such as perch, trout, or mackerel. Go for 7 to 8-inch knives if you want more versatility to work on different sizes of fish. These sizes are perfect for medium-sized fish such as catfish, trout, or salmon. For bigger fishes such as codfish, halibut, or tuna, pick 8-inch or longer knives.

7. How often should I sharpen a fillet knife?

Ans. Hone the knife at least on the days you use it. The best approach is to sharpen the knife every time before cleaning a large fish. The blade will keep rolling more and make the knife feel dull if you don’t hone the knife often.

About the author

Derrick Riley

I’m Derrick in my early 40s, but planning to bag from every saltwater source in America. In practice, I’ve explored over a dozen bodies of water that hosted almost all of the saltwater game fish. My personal favorites are brook trout and striped bass though. I don’t mind catching bluegill and white crappie either.

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