There’s a good reason why fish is one of the most popular sources of protein. It’s filled with nutrients, is quick to cook, and also tastes delicious. But often people who regularly cook fish don’t realize their cooking experience could be improved with the right tools. Namely, a high-quality fish knife for filleting fish.
Not only do these knives make your cooking experience easier when cooking fresh fish, but they make the fish taste even better!
It’s important to note that a fish fillet knife isn’t like your standard kitchen knife. The blade is what sets it apart, as it is more flexible and lightweight than a standard kitchen knife and lets you easily separate fish from the bone.
While I explore what features you need to look out for below, it’s important to look for a knife with a rust-resistant, high-quality blade, as well as a flexible blade that lets you make precise cuts.
You should also consider what kind of fish you will be filleting, and how often you will be using the knife before you make your purchase, and whether you want a manual or electric knife.
Below, you’ll find five of the best fish fillet knives out there right now from reputable names such as Bubba, Victorinox, and American Angler.
The 9-inch Flex Knife from Bubba is my pick for the best grip fillet knife, thanks to the extra secure trigger grip. While the Victorinox Cutlery 8-Inch Straight knife is the best fillet knife for those of you who regularly fillet fish.
The Handmade Damascus Fillet Knife is the most traditional knife on this list, while the American Angler PRO Electric Fillet Knife is my top electric fillet knife and the Rapala4 Soft Grip knife is an excellent mobile knife.
Bubba 9-Inch Flex
Victorinox Cutlery 8-Inch Straight
Handmade Damascus Fillet Knife
Rapala4 Soft Grip
Before you make your purchase, there are some criteria to take into consideration. You’ll want to buy a knife that lasts a long time, of course, but the below factors are also important to consider and are what I used to research the best fish fillet knife.
For the most precise cuts, the blade must be sharp at all times. It may surprise you, but a sharper blade can be less dangerous than a blunt blade because a sharper blade is easier to cut with.
However, if you feel uneasy about using a razor-sharp blade, a filleting glove will provide extra protection and hopefully give you more confidence to use the knife.
- Blade Retention:
Blade retention is all to do with durability and how sharp the knife will stay. No matter how great the blade retention is, however, you will eventually have to sharpen your knife. It is best to do this with a sharpening stone or sharpening steel. But you have to sharpen a high-quality knife far less often.
A quality fillet knife needs to be thin, strong, but also flexible. Knives made of high-quality steel usually have the thinnest and sharpest blades.
You should also pay close attention to the handle. Some filleting knives are made from one piece of steel, while others have wooden or plastic handles. A handle with an ergonomic shape will help you to use the knife safely and will be comfortable to hold.
A non-slip grip is especially important if you’re using the knife while fishing, as your hands will most likely be wet. If you’re using the knife while wearing gloves then you must be able to get a tight grip on the handle before you start cutting.
The question of what type of material is better for handles is really one of personal preference and what feels comfortable for you.
- Electric Fillet Knives:
If you’re trying to fillet a lot of fish, an electric fillet knife could be the best option for you as it gets the job done much quicker.
Many electric knives also let you change the blades, which gives you greater versatility and lets you tailor the knife depending on what you happen to be cutting.
Best Fish Fillet Knife
1. Best Grip Fillet Knife: Bubba 9-Inch Flex
The Bubba 9-Inch Flex is our pick for the best grip fillet knife, thanks to the trigger grip where the handle meets the blade. This makes the blade extra secure, while the extra sharp tip of the Bubba 9 Inch Flex makes cutting even easier.
The synthetic sheath and lanyard hole found at the end of the knife’s handle make it easy to transport. While its rugged design may be more suited to outdoor activities like fishing, it’s still an invaluable tool to have.
Bubba is also a trusted and reputable brand, established 10 years ago in San Diego, California. Their goal is to bring you innovative tools to make every fishing trip a successful one.
While there have been many models of this particular knife, it’s such a popular and well-loved design that Bubba has not updated it much.
- Non-slip grip: The non-slip grip and the trigger grip adds extra security.
- Safety guards: The knife’s safety guards protect you from the blade and spines of fish.
- Durable: The ultra-thin 8Cr13MoV blade lets you effortlessly maneuver the knife to easily and precisely remove meat from the bone.
- Convenient: The Ti-Nitride-coated blade is also rust-resistant and lets you cut through scales easily. The extra-sharp tip also makes cutting easier, and when you’re done, you can place the knife back into its convenient sheath.
- Too heavy for some: Some customers reported that while the knife was convenient, it was rather heavy.
- DIMENSIONS: 15” overall length with 9” blade
- EASE OF USE: Non-Slip Grip handle for outstanding grip security providing ultimate knife control with trigger grip for added security
- RELIABLE: Features safety guards for protection from the blade and spines of fish
- DURABLE: Ideal for detailed precision cutting, a super thin 8Cr13MoV blade allows for effortless maneuvering to easily remove meat without loss, making it the ideal fishing knife
- CONVENIENT: The Ti-Nitride coated, rust resistant blade cuts through scales easily and features an extra sharp tip to make starting your cut a breeze and a sheath with a belt loop for close, hands free carry
2. Best Fillet Knife for Frequent Use: Victorinox Cutlery 8-Inch Straight
While you may know Swiss brand Victorinox for their iconic pocket knives, they also produce high-quality fillet knives like the Cutlery 8-Inch Straight Knife.
Made from Fibrox, the Cutlery 8-Inch Straight Knife’s textured surface ensures a safe grip. Plus, its high-quality construction is what makes it great for those who frequently fillet fish.
However, I recommend taking special care when cleaning the transition between blade and handle.
Victorinox’s faith in their product is evident by the Cutlery 8-Inch Straight’s lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
Victorinox is a famous, storied brand founded in 1884 by Karl Elsener who opened his cutler’s workshop in Ibach-Schwyz. During this period, Switzerland was a relatively poor country and Karl Elsener helped to combat poverty and unemployment in the Schwyz region, creating jobs for the people of that area.
It was in 1891 that he supplied the soldier’s knife to the Swiss Army. What we now know as the iconic Swiss Army Knife was created in 1897, and the inventions of the Swiss Officer’s knife and Sports Knife were what catapulted the company to global fame.
Today, Victorinox is a global company with five product categories. These are Swiss Army Knives, Household and Professional Knives, Watches, Travel Gear, and even Fragrances. However, their Swiss Army Knife category endures as their core product. It’s safe to say that Victorinox knows what they’re talking about when it comes to knives!
While Victorinox is known for producing a wide range of knives used for a wide range of activities, the closest knife I can compare the Cutlery 8-Inch Straight to is their 6-Inch Fibrox Pro Chef’s Knife. This knife can be used for home and professional use and has a thicker blade than the Cutlery 8-Inch Straight.
- Sharp out of the box: This knife is ready to use straight out of the box with no need for sharpening.
- Good blade retention: The durable blade means that sharpening will be few and far between.
- Easy to sharpen: However, when you do need to sharpen the blade, it’s incredibly easy to do so.
- Lifetime warranty: This incredibly generous warranty protects you in the event of manufacturing defects.
- No sheath: This knife doesn’t come with a sheath, which may make it harder to transport.
- The knife is ideal for separating meat, poultry, or fish from the bone with precise control
- High carbon stainless-steel blade provides maximum sharpness and edge retention; conical ground through length and depth for a wider break point; ice tempered to sustain sharpness longer
- Blade stamped from cold-rolled steel; bolsterless edge for use of entire blade and ease of sharpening
- Patented Fibrox handles are textured, slip resistant, and ergonomically designed for balance and comfort; NSF approved
- Hand washing recommended; lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects; expertly made in Switzerland
3. Best Traditional Fillet Knife: Handmade Damascus Fillet Knife
If you like your knives to be traditional, but with a unique look then this Handmade Damascus Fillet Knife may be for you! Handmade from Camel Bone and Wengai Wood, this 10-inch Damascus Fillet Knife is great for fishing trips, and you can transport it easily thanks to its stylish leather sheath.
If you’re looking for a knife that’s a little bit special and looks as good as it performs, then this is the knife for you.
This knife is produced by Grace Knives, whose philosophy is to create more handmade items as more and more of the products we buy are made by machines.
Because each of their knives is handmade with natural variation, there may be a difference in color and pattern, but all knives are made with the same attention to detail and the same high standards.
- Good blade retention: This knife has a durable, razor-sharp blade with a hardness measuring 58-60 HRC on the Rockwell Scale.
- Comfortable to hold: The overall length of this knife is 10 inches and its handle made of Camel Bone and Wengai Wood is comfortable to hold.
- Easy to maintain: It doesn’t take a lot to prevent the blade from rusting, and this easy-to-care-for knife will last for years.
- Genuine leather sheath: This stylish, unique knife comes with a genuine leather sheath. This helps to protect the knife and makes it easier to carry around.
- Heavy: Some customers have reported that the knife is heavy and inflexible to use.
- Custom Made Damascus Steel Knife Made For Professional Cutting and Filleting.
- Razor Sharp and Durable Edge for Rough and Tough Use with Hardness of 58 - 60 HRC on Rockwell Scale.
- It Measures Overall Length 10" _ Blade Length 5.5" and Handle Length 4.5" that Gives Comfortable Holding.
- Handle is Made with Camel Bone and Wengai Wood. A Genuine Leather Sheath is Attached To Carry This Precious Knife.
- Easy Maintenance is Required to Prevent from Rusting and it Will Provide Great Service for Years.
4. Best Electric Fillet Knife: American Angler PRO Electric Fillet Knife
The only electric filleting knife on this list, the American Angler PRO is great for those who regularly fillet large quantities of fish.
Electric fillet knives are known for their versatility, and the American Angler PRO is no different, as it is available in different sizes depending on the type of fish you want to fillet. The motor is also strong enough to cut through bone and makes quick work of any fish you want to fillet.
The American Angler Pro also comes with a two-year warranty.
For over 30 years, American Angler has produced durable, high-quality fishing fillet knives and accessories. They started as a manufacturer of bait knives, but soon expanded into fillet knives and accessories. They developed the first motorized fillet knife system in the early 1980s, to help with filleting even the most challenging fishes.
The American Angler Electric Fillet Knives have now become the highest-rated, best-selling electric knives among commercial fishermen. Since its inception, American Angler has produced many firsts, such as the first titanium-coated EFK blade sets, the first all-metal transmission, and the patented Shark Blade.
- Easy to use: The Pro Series motor boasts two times more torque than other electric knives, so it will never slow you down.
- Durable: The superior drive train components of this knife means it lasts four times longer than other electric knives.
- Comfortable to use: Thanks to the advanced airflow design, the ergonomic handset of this knife keeps it cool so you can fillet for longer.
- Can sometimes get too hot: While the airflow design keeps the knife cool, some customers have reported the knife getting too hot.
5. Best On-The-Go Fish Fillet Knife: Rapala4 Soft Grip
The Rapala4 Soft Grip Fillet Knife is the perfect size to keep in your tackle box. With a solid, stainless steel blade, the Soft Grip knife also has a handle that gives you great control, especially when filleting outdoors.
So the blade can stay sharp at all times, the Rapala4 Soft Grip also comes with a sharpener, and a black sheath to keep the blade protected.
Every Rapala knife is made of constructed premium steel, with razor-sharp blades designed to last. Their blades are also flexible, to make filleting even easier.
This flexibility can be seen in Rapala’s Fish ‘n Fillet Superflex knife, which differs in design from the Soft Grip knife.
- Stainless steel: This knife features the flexible stainless steel blade that Rapala is known for.
- No-slip handle: The soft-grip handle is also non-slip and has a molded, textured handle for a more comfortable, controlled grip.
- Sharpener: The single-stage sharpener helps to keep your knife at its peak performance.
- Sheath: The Soft Grip knife also comes with a sheath to protect your knife and make it easier to carry around.
- Unsealed bolster: The unsealed bolster around the blade makes the knife difficult to clean, and may cause bacteria to build up.
- This Soft Grip Fillet Knife is equipped with the famous Rapala flexible stainless steel blade combined with a no-slip
- soft-grip molded textured handle
- giving you maximum control and comfort while filleting
- Includes a black sheath that easily fits on your belt and a single-stage sharpener to keep your Soft Grip Fillet Knife in peak performance
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s pretty easy to take care of your fish fillet knife. You need to clean and dry it after every use and try to avoid putting it in the dishwater. Water and soap should be enough. Dry it with a towel and store it in a dry place. Also, only use it for filleting as any other use will make the blade go blunt faster.
This all depends on the size of the fish you plan on filleting. The smaller the fish, the smaller the blade you’ll need. Plus, smaller blades can let you cut at trickier, more delicate angles.
But if you’re looking for a more one-size-fits-all knife, a medium-sized blade of around 7-inches should do.
A good tip is to slope the blade sideways as you cut, allowing the blade to cut along the spine.
To achieve a precise cut, the flexibility of the knife is important as it should let you maintain an angle with the blade.
Electric knives are generally easier to use, as they provide the power and do most of the work for you.
Slice into the fish just behind the gills, as you would with a manual knife. Let the knife cut through until you reach the spine and then turn the blade of your knife sideways to slice along the bone.
Because the tip of your knife needs to be sharp at all times, it’s important to sharpen the blade when needed.
Unlike other types of knives, it’s useful to sharpen the knife in the opposite direction, with the tip hitting the stone first before the rest of the blade.
Fish filleting knives are designed to cut delicate fish meat, while other types of knives are not. Therefore, a kitchen knife or a pocket knife may not be able to cut as precisely as a fillet knife.
Pocket knives are also not as flexible as fillet knives, so you may not get the best results when using these to fillet fish.
Firstly, fillet knives have slightly curved blades, while boning knives have straight blades. Fillet knives are also slightly thinner than boning knives and slightly more flexible.
Aso, boning knives are used for boning meat while fillet knives are commonly used for removing fish bones and skin. Although some people do use these fillet knives to remove bones and skin from other pieces of meat.