Imagine reeling in that prized 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.
How Did We Pick the Best?
The objective of this guide is to help you know more about fillet knives. That way, you can be confident in your ability to select the right fillet knife when you need to. This is why we reviewed and tested tons of products, so we could present you with a detailed fish fillet knife review.
We also had lots of volunteers from the community who helped us in testing these products. They examined certain features common with fillet knives. These include blade design and size, blade and handle material, blade sharpness, handle comfort and grip, strength, safety and hygiene, purpose and much more. We compiled their reports and compared the products to one other so we could provide a review you can confidently rely on.
Our team also analyzed many consumer reports on fillet knife reviews and ratings. We examined how each product is rated in comparison to one another. With this, we were able to come up with a solid review that is guaranteed to help you pick out the best quality fillet.
Test data gathered from the volunteers were combined with the opinions of fillet knife experts. We also asked the volunteers and experts to pick out their personal choices. By collating this information, we arrived at a comprehensive review aimed at ensuring you buy a high-quality fillet knife.
To be frank, we do not boast that each product was tested with 100% accuracy, as no review is perfect. But we are sure that the extensive research and testing helped us single out the best products. We have no doubt that these are some of the top quality fillet knives on the market.
Our Top 10 Best Fillet Knife
With so many brands of fillet knives in the market, picking the right one can be tough. This is why we have selected ten products we consider best for you. These items were specially chosen after careful analysis of basic factors that make a great fillet knife. We're sure you'll find one from our categorized top picks that suits your every need.
When Are Fillet Knives Necessary?
A fillet knife is basically a fish cutting knife. 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 fish fillet knife for you. This review will help you learn how to do that and even give you options to pick from. So, don't stop scrolling down just yet.
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Fishing Fillet Knife
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 like 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.
Design and Size
The combination of all its parts determines the overall design of the fillet knife, so it must be considered. They type of blade, thickness, handle material and specification of use will determine how the blade looks and feels.
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.
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.
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.
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 catch such as bass. And for larger fish such as salmon, blades longer than 8-9 inches should be considered.
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.
The handle is the controlling part of the knife. The type of material used must be on that is 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.
Comfort and Grip
Using a fillet knife requires you feel right when handling it. That way, you can cut and fillet with much ease. The best 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Safety and 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.
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.
Electric vs Non-electric
Originally, fillet knives are used like regular knives giving you complete control over cut depth, precision, and flexibility. However, some electricity-using models have been introduced. These make filleting large quantity of fish faster. Many even come with different changeable blades so you can work on a wide variety of fish.
Many users though, prefer to be in full control of the fillet knife and opt for the non-electric models. In the end, it boils down to what you prefer and if time is an important factor.
Fish fillet Knife Care and Maintenance
Any good tool loses its quality if not properly taken care of and your fillet knife is no different. Even the best fillet knife 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. These put less stress on the knife edge.
- Wash by hand with warm water and soap after use. Mild detergent will also do.
- Rinse off 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 a detergent.
- Wash with hot water.
- Wash in a dishwasher.
- Leave to soak in water or in a stainless sink.
- Store loosely together with other kitchen utensils.
Safety Tips on Filleting Fish
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.
- Wear a good on your handling hand for 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.
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 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.