As the old proverb goes give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime. Today we get to be more selective with the fish we keep and if you want to prepare a fish for the dinner plate you’re going to need a good fillet knife.
A fillet knife allows you to easily debone and clean a fish to prepare it for the dinner plate.
There are a ton of fillet knives on the market. Unfortunately, not all are high quality and many will break, dull quickly, or corrode when exposed to sea air.
In order to help you select the best fillet knife to add to your tackle box or kitchen drawer I have put together a list of the best fillet knives on the market and provided a guide on what criteria you should look for when selecting a fillet knife.
If you’re ready to add a quality fillet knife to your fishing gear all you have to do it read on...
Fillet Knife Reviews
|Morakniv Fishing Comfort||A+|
|Rapala Fish'n Superflex||A|
|Buck 220 Silver Creek||B|
|Kershaw Fillet Knife||B+|
|Victorinox Cutlery Fillet Knife||B+|
Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife Review
This cheap yet highly functional knife comes in two different sizes. 3.5 inches or 6.1
The 6.1-inch model is thin and flexible allowing you to make precise cuts even on larger fish. The blade itself is made from Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel. Making it extremely sharp, durable, and corrosion resistant.
If you’re familiar with Mora models like the Companion or Bushcraft Black you should be familiar with the high friction handle. The handle is designed to provide a great grip and prevent accidental slippage.
Already own a Mora? Consider adding this one to your tackle box. If you don’t own a Mora I highly recommend picking one up. Their quality is unmatched.
- Comes in two sizes
- Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel
- Corrosion resistant
- Sheath is questionable quality
Rapala Fish'n Superflex Fillet Knife Review
This knife features a birch varnished handle that is gentle on hands yet incredibly durable.
A few other things about this fillet knife include that it has an extra thin 7 ½ inch blade that makes it great for working through Y bones in Pike with surgical precision.
The Rapala also comes with a genuine leather sheath and a single stage sharpener.
The sheath is made of leather that has a belt loop so you can attach it to your belt and keep it handy. This is a no frill fillet knife that will make an excellent addition to not only your tackle box but your knife collection as well.
- Full tang Swedish stainless steel
- Genuine leather sheath
- Single-stage sharpener included
- The handle is a bit small
Buck Knives 220 Silver Creek Fillet Knife Review
It has a blade length of 6.5” and is made from 420J2 stainless steel with a corrosion resistant titanium coating.
This knife also features a rubberized anti-slip grip that allows you to hold the knife with ease and can be held securely when wet. The knife folds down to roughly 7 inches and can be attached to your belt or backpack via the built-in lanyard.
Buck addressed safety concerns for this knife by introducing a mid-lock back design the knife from slipping or accidentally closing. Overall Buck has done a great job in creating a durable and useable fillet knife.
- TPE rubberized handle
- Foldable with secure lock
- Titanium coated stainless steel
- The blade is pretty stiff
- Sharpening can be difficult
Kershaw Fillet Knife Review
The Kershaw Fillet Knife comes in two different sizes. A 7-inch model and a 9-inch model.
This knife is crafted from corrosion-resistant Japanese stainless steel that makes it a good choice for both saltwater and freshwater.
The blade comes razor sharp and you also receive a free sheath to protect the blade.
Kershaw has also included a textured copolymer soft rubber hand that is designed to be non-slip as well as comfortable to hold.
- Strong and flexible
- The knife includes a durable sheath
- The knife dulls fairly quickly
Victorinox Cutlery Fillet Knife Review
Victorinox is known for making the legendary Swiss Army knife and they have brought all that experience with them.
They have created an incredible ergonomic polypropylene handle that is both comfortable and durable.
The angle of this blade makes it great for filleting fish but also makes it a great choice for cutting other raw meats. Meaning this knife is useful from the tackle box to the kitchen. It also comes with the added bonus of being very affordable as well.
- Excellent ergonomic handle
- Resharpening is easy
- High carbon stainless steel
- The knife is prone to bending more than it should
- Intended for kitchen use
How To Choose The Best Fillet Knife For Fishing
The first thing you will want to consider when picking out a fillet knife is the material the blade is made from. Because you will be exposing the knife to water you will want a blade made from stainless steel.
Quality stainless steel is rust and corrosion resistant. Choosing a knife made of high-quality stainless steel is especially important if you will be fishing in saltwater as saltwater tends to be highly corrosive to most metals.
Stainless steels like what’s in the Buck 220 or Morakniv Comfort are both excellent choices and are high quality that rust, corrode, or break easily.
Handle and Grip
In the old days, a lot of handles used to be made from wood and you can still find wooden handles on many outdoor knives. However, for a fillet knife, you will want to choose a material like rubber or plastic.
Wood is a bad choice due to the fact that it is absorbent meaning it can absorb bacteria and other nasty bugs, it’s slippery when wet and can break easily.
When looking at handles of various filet knives be sure to choose a material such as plastic, rubber, or other polymers. These materials will offer a better fit and a grip.
A solid grip is extremely important. While filleting fish your hands will usually be wet or covered in blood. I don’t think I need to tell you that handling a knife with wet hands is a bad idea and can lead to accidents. Choose a handle that has a quality grip even when wet.
You may not think a lot about a sheath but they are important, for two reasons. The first is they keep your knife protected. Allowing your blade to stay in quality condition.
The second is safety. You don’t want to be digging around in your tackle box and slice your finger open on a fillet knife that’s just laying in there unsheathed. If your filet knife doesn’t come with a sheath I recommend picking one up.
Blade size is crucial when it comes to filleting fish. You think as long as the blade is sharp you’ll be good to go. But if you have spent time hunting or cleaning game you know that the blade size is critical.
For smaller fish such as crappie, a smaller blade is preferred as it allows for greater precisions. On the other hand fish like trout and bass will require a larger blade. Usually, a blade length of 7 inches is great for larger fish.
You will also need to consider how you will be carrying the knife. If it’s going to live in your tackle box or a small bag you may want to pick up a smaller blade or a folding blade.
A quality fillet knife will be flexible. Flexibility is important when you are working around bones and organs. The flexibility of a knife is determined by how thick the knife blade is. Thicker blades will have a lower flexibility than a thinner blade.
Shorter and thinner blades work great for smaller fish like crappie. A short and thin blade will provide enough flexibility for tight angles that need to be cut. Likewise, for larger fish, a longer blade will be better suited.
Manual Vs Electric
Electric fillet knives exist. These are great for when you have to prepare a lot of fish at once. They even come with interchangeable blades that can be used for various purposes.
If you are used to using a manual fillet knife you may waste a bit of meat trying to get used to an electric fillet knife. They’re also great for working with larger fish and tend to be pretty versatile.
If you are looking for precision and to conserve the meat of the fish a manual fillet knife is a way to go. However, they are more tedious and tend to work well when you only have to fillet a few fish.
If you want the best fillet possible than a manual fillet knife the way to go.
One tool every fisherman needs in their tackle box is good fillet knife. A good fillet knife is a must if you plan to keep your catch. It allows you to clean and prep your fish for the cooler or the skillet.
To find the best fillet knife you need to look for features such as blade length, blade material, handle design, and flexibility. These features are important for performing precise cuts from small fish to large fish.
A fillet knife like the Mora Comfort is a great budget option for beginning and experienced anglers alike. Mora makes awesome knives and is definitely worth adding to your tackle box, kitchen drawer or boating kit.
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As always thanks for reading and remember...adventure is waiting.