A fillet knife is an essential tool in any angler’s arsenal. They have slightly thinner blades that allow you to get precision cuts on your fish when you clean them. A quality fillet fishing knife also gives you excellent maneuverability to remove the fish’s skin. In turn, you will end up with a single piece of meat instead of a shredded one.
Fillet knives come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. They have a very sharp blade with a fine point that will pierce the fish’s skin and separate the meat from the bone. The blades can range from four to nine inches, and you’ll have to experiment to find the blade size that works best for your fish.
There are manual and electric fillet knives available that you can buy without breaking the bank. Manual knives give you more control, but electric knives take less time to finish larger fish.
How to Choose a Fillet Knife
No matter if you want a salmon fillet knife or a smaller one, you can narrow your choices down using several criteria. We picked out the biggest factors you should keep in mind when you choose your fillet knife and listed them below.
- Size – As we mentioned, most fillet knives range from four to nine inches long. Many people like to go around seven or seven and a half inches long, but it’ll take experimentation on your part. Try a few different sizes and see which one fits.
- Strength – Fillet knives are usually more flexible and thinner than boning knives or other game-related knives. You’ll want to double-check the knife’s strength because this will give you an indication of how it’ll bend and flex with the fish when you clean it.
- Material – You’ll find several different materials in your fillet knife blade. Stainless steel is one of the most popular choices because it resists rust, corrosion, and pitting. Some manufacturers add chromium to their fillet knife blades, and the knives have a Rockwell hardness of 50 and up to make them medium-hard knives.
- Portability – Another important factor to consider when you’re picking out your new salmon fillet knife is the portability. How easy is it to put the knife in your vest between uses? Check and see if your knife comes with a sheath that attaches to your vest.
Best Salmon Fillet Knife – Rapala Presentation Fillet Gray Lake
This knife features an updated Nordic design that adds a modern twist. It comes with a stainless steel blade and a grey laminated handle for an eye-catching look and feel. The blade is PTFE coated for maximum durability.
The tapered blade gives you concentrated cutting power from tip to tang, and the blade holds an edge through repeated use. The genuine leather tooled sheath snaps closed to keep the knife contained between uses. This sheath also makes it easy to slip the knife into your vest to take it with you.
Best Cutting Board For Fish Filleting – Bamboo Cutting Board (2 Set)
This organic bamboo cutting board is resistant to bacteria growth and fish odors. It’s approved by the FDA, eco-friendly, and the cutting board works to keep your fillet knives sharp after each use by padding the blade.
The cutting board is scratch-resistant due to the sealant, and there are non-slip coatings on the board to hold it in place. You get two boards in every order, and the cutting boards are lightweight and easy to carry. You can return them for a full refund if you’re not 100% satisfied.
The Six Best Fishing Fillet Knives – Reviews
This flexible and cost-effective fillet fishing knife comes in seven sizes and styles that allow you to customize it to suit your needs. It’s flexible enough to bend with the fish’s shape to give you clean and consistent cuts.
The TRP handle ensures you get a firm grip that won’t slip, and you’ll use an 18-degree cutting edge. You’ll take a damp towel and wipe the blade and handle off to clean it between uses. The high-carbon stainless steel design resists rust and corrosion while maintaining a sharp edge.
This is an extra-thin knife blade that allows for maximum flexibility without compromising the durability. The blade has a PTFE non-stick coating that ensures the fillets fall away from the knife in a single piece instead of sticking to it.
There is a polished brass ferrule that attaches the wooden handle to the hand-ground stainless steel blade. You can tuck the knife away into a tooled leather sheath that snaps closed. There is a loop on top of the sheath to attach it to your vest for easy reach and accessibility.
If you’re in the market for a slightly longer fillet knife, this one comes in at over seven inches. There is a full tang stainless steel blade attached to a reinforced varnished Birch handle. The blade has an eye-catching and sleek design.
The handle on this knife has an ergonomic design that allows you to get a firm grip. You’ll use the leather sheath to store and transport your fillet knife between uses. There is a single-stage sharpener included with this knife to help you keep the edge razor sharp.
This neat and compact fillet knife kit comes with two fillet knives, a serrated knife, cutting board, and a knife sharpener all in one convenient hard-sided carrying case. The knife set features an attractive black and bright green color scheme.
The knives have a rubberized grip that won’t slip when you use them. Each knife sits snugly in a compartment to keep them in place. There is a lifetime warranty attached to these knives, and the manufacturer will replace them if they break or sustain damage.
If you want an eye-catching knife, look no further than this pick. It has CROMOVA 18 Stainless Steel for the blade and the handle that resists stains, rust, and corrosion in all environments. Made in Japan, this knife will hold a razor-sharp edge through repeated use.
Each knife goes through a careful weighing system to ensure that you get a perfectly balanced knife for those precision cuts. The handle has an ergonomic grip, and the knife is large enough to clean big or little fish with ease. It’s highly flexible, but it doesn’t have a carrying case.
You can fillet, debone, and skin your fish with this flexible fillet knife. It uses precision forged high carbon steel that has a stain-resistant alloy to keep your knife looking and cutting great. The precision tapering ensures the knife comes to a sharp point.
The handle is wide enough to give you an ergonomic grip. It attaches to the blade using steel components that add durability to the knife. You can slip the knife into your vest thanks to the leather sheath that securely holds it in place.
More Buying Guides & FAQ
What is a fillet knife used for?
- In short, a fillet knife is used to filet and prepare fish. Most fillet knives come in 6-8 1/2 inch size. Fillet knives give its wielder good control over filleting fish. The hardest part of filleting fish is keeping a good grip on the fish. The easiest way to do this is with a fillet glove. The other reason for the fillet glove is to protect your fingers.
How to sharpen a fillet knife?
- There’s a 2 popular ways of sharpening your knives. The more primitive way is by using sharpening stone. The other more popular way is by using a fillet sharpening tool. The reason why this is more popular is because it’s as easy as just gliding your knife down on the tool multiple times. The sharpeners will sharpen your knife with the correct angle.
Fillet knife vs. regular knife?
- A fillet knife is used for filleting fish. The design, angle and the material of the blade itself make filleting fish easy. The same of the regular knife make it very difficult to fillet a fish. Fillet knives are built for one purpose and that’s to fillet fish.
Boning vs fillet knives
- There’s a few visual characteristics that can help you identify each knife. Boning knives by nature are thicker and wider. While filet knives are thinner, more flexible and curvier.
- Boning knife, as the name suggest, are used to cut the meat off the bones.
- Fillet knives are used to fillet the skin off the meat. This is the reason why they’re thinner and more flexible than boning knives.
Do you need a fillet knife to fillet a fish?
- Although filleting a fish without a filet knife can be done, it’s not advised. It won’t properly fillet the meat off the skin and will most likely lead to an injury.
Can you carry a fillet knife while fishing?
- In Ontario there’s no law that says you can’t carry your fillet knife with you while fishing. If anything it’s better to carry one if you’re planning on catching fish for the purpose of eating them. A good tip for catch and cook is to bleed the fish before you take it home.