Table of Contents
- Why Do We Need The Best Fillet Knife For Fish?
- How To Pick The Best Fillet Knife
- What Is The Best Fillet Knife For Fishermen In 2019?
- Fillet Knife Reviews [Updated 2019]
- The BEST
- How To Sharpen A Fillet Knife And Keep It Sharp
Fishing is a favorite and passion for many people like me. Fishing is also a job for many other professional fishermen.
It is not easy to catch fish, especially with big, fast and wise ones. We need useful tools to ensure having a more relaxing and exciting experience!
Why Do We Need The Best Fillet Knife For Fish?
A fillet knife is a knife specially designed to fillet fish:
- Its blade is very flexible, thin, and razor-sharp so that we can easily cut along the fish’s backbone and skin the flesh smoothly.
- The blade also often has a sharp tip to pierce through the fish body.
Fish have countless species of many different sizes. In general, fish filleting is a pretty dangerous task for all of us because we have to work in wet, slippery conditions with many mucus such as skin, scales, blood, and intestine of fish.
If you use a poor quality knife with a blunt blade…
- Within an unguarded moment, you can hurt yourself.
- It takes plenty of time to fillet the fish without having any nice fillets at the end.
- It is likely that you are wasting a lot of valuable protein from the fish that you have to be very hard to catch.
Therefore, it is necessary to use a specialized knife to fillet fish.
- First, a user-friendly fillet knife keeps us safe with a non-slip handle and comfortable to hold.
- Second, a top quality fillet knife is easy to control to enable us to get the maximum of fish meat. More harvest, more money!
- Third, a well-designed fillet knife helps us enhance the work efficiency, save time and effort on processing fish, which prevents us from being stressed, and tired unnecessarily.
Above are the most significant benefits that a great fillet knife gives users.
In all, it is an essential tool for fishermen to go fishing.
Based on the experience of processing thousands of fish, we highly recommend the 5 best fillet knives for pro fishermen as well as busy cooks to fillet fish effortlessly:
How To Pick The Best Fillet Knife
One knife can be the best choice for this person, but it is not sure to be the best for others.
A pro angler has different requirements compared to a young fisherman. An avid outdoorsman also has different demands with a cook at home.
This really matters as it helps you not deviate!
Below is our instructions on how to select the most suitable fillet knife for fish:
- How to choose the blade
- How to choose the handle
- Consider an electric fillet knife for heavy-duty work
- Pay attention to knife sheath
1- How to choose the blade
Blade length should match your sizes of fish, especially care about their surface and girth sizes.
If catching much fish of various sizes, you should take the average size of them to be the basis of choosing the most suitable blade.
4 inches, 6 inches, 7-7.5 inches, and 9 inches are the most popular sizes of a fillet knife. It will be perfect if each angler possesses a set of all those knives because you can use each of them for appropriate fish sizes with it.
- Short blade of 4 – 6 inches is suitable for small-sized fishes such as panfish, crappie, bluegill, etc.
- Medium blade of 7 – 7.5 inches is the best choice for fishes such as bass, trout, walleye, salmon, northern pike, mullet, etc. This blade is also quite good for dealing with other fishes.
- The long blade of 9 inches is a perfect choice for big-sized fishes, saltwater fishes with bones such as catfish, Atlantic salmon, redfish, striped bass, blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, tarpon, wahoo, etc.
A fillet knife must be very flexible to help us easily remove all fish bones, and get the maximum amount of fish meat.
There is no specific scale for flexibility. We should select knives produced by famous brands of the industry. Their products have been highly appreciated over the years.
The blade tip of a fillet knife is often made extraordinarily flexible and sharp, while the blade’s thickness and stiffness are gradually increased to its heel.
Blade of a fillet knife needs to:
- have high quality, keep edge well
- be rustproof
- be easy to sharpen
- be anti-fouling
- be easy to clean
To satisfy the above requirements, you should aim at fillet knives made of high carbon stainless steel.
Besides, we prefer fillet knives having blades coated with premium non-stick layers.
It can be said that this is the standard of a leading quality knife:
- Full-tang blade provides the strength and balance for our fillet knife.
- It also enhances the power transmission efficiency and overall control of the knife when we process the fish.
- Besides, we highly appreciate blade with bolster. This design improves the strength and balance of the fillet knife.
- Moreover, that is also a safety feature, which helps our fingers be away from the razor-sharp cutting edge.
2- How to choose the handle
Handle must be fit and comfortable
- Always choose knives with handles that are fit with your dominant hand.
- That ensures the comfort and flexibility when you fillet fish.
- An unfit handle will create many difficulties and discomfort for users.
A fillet knife with good non-slip handle is safe, reliable, and easy to use. This feature is necessary for fishers dealing with fish because their hands are always wet with slime.
We highly appreciate the knives with anti-slip design and safety for users such as:
- The handles are made of materials with a good grip like synthetic resin, rubber.
- The handles are rugged design or have grooves and ridges to enhance friction.
- The handles are covered with high-grade materials to improve grip.
- The handles have a finger guard to prevent our fingers from sliding into the cutting edge.
Also, the handles should be well finished to prevent stains, fishy smell, and easy cleaning.
3- Consider an electric fillet knife for heavy-duty work
When you face a mess of fish that you need to deal with, what do you think?
I guess you’re thinking how long it will take you to clean all of them.
In this case, an electric fillet knife is ideal for you:
- The electric fillet knife is made to speed up the fish filleting process and minimize the effort for fishers.
- It is especially suitable for avid fishermen who often have to deal with a large amount of fish in a variety of sizes.
- Its powerful electric motor gives the power and torque to cut fish fast and effectively.
- It uses reciprocating blades with various lengths that are easy to switch to match the sizes of the caught fish.
4- Pay attention to knife sheath
The knife sheath is also a factor to consider when choosing a fillet knife.
Because our fillet knife is usually as sharp as a razor, it is very easy to hurt ourselves and those around us. It is also easy to blunt.
Usually, cheap fillet knives do not have a good sheath so you should choose the leading cutlery brands in the world.
What Is The Best Fillet Knife For Fishermen In 2019?
When you have finished reading the selection guide above, I believe you have had ideas about the fillet knife you are looking for.
Whether you’re looking for the best fillet knife for saltwater fish or freshwater fish, big salmon or panfish… We can confirm that your knife is on this best list:
These knives are all made specifically for filleting fish. They are high quality and possess outstanding features that ordinary knives do not have.
They are a valuable investment for any fisherman or busy cook who wants to handle fish gently and effectively.
You can see that each knife has its own strengths and limitations. They are designed by manufacturers to meet the specific requirements of users.
Our reviews below will give you insight into each of the fillet knives above so that you can easily make the final decision.
Fillet Knife Reviews [Updated 2019]
First is a sporty fillet knife. It is made by fishermen for fishermen.
[BEST For Professionals]
Why do we pick this knife?
It can be said that the Bubba Blade is a fillet knife different from the rest. It has worked with us to handle thousands of fish over the years.
As professional fishermen, we all aim at big prey like tuna, tarpon, marlin, redfish, swordfish, wahoo, flounder, striped bass. So we need a long and robust fillet knife to cut large pieces of fillets from their bodies.
- Its 9-inch full-tang blade is ideal for big game fishing with the goal of large-sized fishes.
- Its blade is tapered, flexible and very sharp, especially the tip part. With this exceptionally sharp blade, we can cut through big fish that have lots of bones and hard scales smoothly and quickly to produce beautiful fillets.
- This Bubba Blade knife is also sophisticated enough to help us create accurate cuts when cleaning small-sized fish such as panfish, crappie, bluegill, etc.
- Besides the full-tang design, having a bolster enhances the overall strength and balance of the Bubba Blade, which makes it easier for fishermen to fillet fish.
- Also, we appreciate the Titanium coated blade of this knife. This premium coating not only has the anti-stick effect but also has the anti-rust impact for the blade.
Yes, the Bubba Blade is a fillet knife with a great handle:
- Hold firmly
- Easy to manipulate
- Very safe
We really like the grip and pads trigger on the handle of the knife. This add-on provides an exciting feeling during use.
This fillet knife also has excellent slip resistance, providing peace of mind when handling fish, especially for catfish:
- Its handle has front and rear quillons
- Engraved grooves and ridges along the handle
Furthermore, its hole lanyard is also my favorite feature when traveling.
It would be missing without mentioning the synthetic sheath of the fillet knife:
- Its material is water resistant for high durability.
- It has three drainage holes to allow any excess water to escape.
- The sheath also has a belt loop for keeping our knife securely in place, even if it is upside down.
We are completely assured of the Bubba Blade safety sheath!
On the opposite side, this Bubba Blade fillet knife has some limitations…
- We can use this knife to fillet small fish, but its 9” blade is not the optimal length. When you need to handle small fish like panfish, bluegill, or crappie, the shorter blades are more suitable.
- Although the knife handle is coated with Teflon to prevent fouling, the design has many grooves of the grip that interfere with cleaning. Therefore, we need to take more effort to clean it than smooth handles.
It can be affirmed that this Bubba Blade knife gives us the greatest satisfaction. It is also the safest designed fillet knife for fishers.
We much appreciate this knife because of its ability:
- Razor-sharp and anti-stick blade
- Easy to sharpen and keep the edge well
- The anti-slip handle is exceptionally user-friendly and secure to manipulate.
In a nutshell, the 9” Bubba Blade is the best fillet knife for big-sized fish such as Atlantic salmon, redfish, striped bass, yellowfin tuna, blue marlin, tarpon, wahoo, and so on.
An indispensable tool on the boat of professional anglers!
Next is also a product of Bubba Blade.
This fillet knife is similar to its 9″ brother. Between them, there is only a slight difference in length and weight.
Also, there is a general rule that the shorter the blade is, the higher the flexibility.
Therefore, 7″ blade is more flexible than 9″ blade, and it makes it easier to manipulate when we need to fillet fish of medium to small size.
We can create more precise cuts with shorter blades, but vice versa short blades are not as strong as longer ones.
Bubba Blade Comparison Chart
|Features + Specs||7” Bubba Blade||9” Bubba Blade|
|Overall length||13 in||15 in|
|Blade length||7 in||9 in|
|Handle length||6 in||6 in|
|Weight||5.7 oz.||5.9 oz.|
When do we pick it?
- For fishing enthusiasts, we often harvest a bunch of fish in many different sizes, from big to small.
- The times when you can only choose one fillet knife to carry.
In those cases, this Bubba Blade 7″ fillet knife is ideal. It fits most fish sizes you catch.
The knife is best for medium-sized fish like bass, salmon, trout, walleye, Northern pike, catfish, mullet, etc. It is also great to handle other fish species.
We can say that 7″ Bubba Blade is the best “all-around” fillet knife. It is used for all types of fish, from saltwater fish to freshwater fish, from large fish to small fish.
For avid fishermen, I strongly recommend the Bubba Blade pair (7″ + 9″). They will be the perfect choice for your fish.
I think when you go fishing for fun to reduce the stress of everyday life; then the fish fillet would be delightful. It brings a feeling of contentment, enjoy with our achievements.
But for professional anglers, when they often have to deal with a large amount of fish or a fish mess, then this is arduous work. It consumes a lot of time and effort.
All you need to do with a top electric fillet knife is to hold and control it to the place you want to cut. And its powerful electric motor will do the rest for you.
Here is the best knife in the industry:
[Best for heavy-duty work]
Why is it worthwhile?
- First of all, the Rapala is a high-quality electric knife specially designed for filleting fish.
- This fillet knife is equipped with a powerful motor of about 96 watts. Its motor produces three times the power and twice the speed of a standard electric knife.
- The incredible power of the motor plus the sharp reciprocating blades of the Rapala electric knife makes it possible to handle dozens of fish at once effortlessly and quickly.
- It can cut through bones, hard scales of any big prey without overloading and providing us with beautiful fillets.
- Its handle is larger than the grip of a traditional knife, but it is effortless to hold, has an anti-slip design and a finger guard for protection.
- The Rapala electric knife can run continuously for a long time without being as hot as other electric fillet knives. That’s thanks to Rapala’s advanced airflow design.
- The Rapala’s advanced ventilation design helps its engine work not only coolly and smoothly but also significantly reduces the vibration of the knife when operating. That’s great!
- Another exciting thing is that its blades can be replaced easily, this is not like a traditional knife.
- If the blade being used is broken or too blunt, we only need to replace it with other new blades to use instead of having to buy other knives.
- Besides the 7.5″ blade comes, we can buy other 6″ and 9 ” blades at any time. The blade length depends on the size of the fish you want the fillet. The rule is that shorter blades are suitable for smaller fish and vice versa.
- Thus, owning the Rapala electric knife + buying additional blade sizes = holding a full set of fillet knives. Perfect!
- The blades of Rapala are made of HC stainless steel, so they are durable, retain sharp edges and easy to sharpen.
- We also appreciate the safety feature of the knife with a trigger lock. And to make it even more secure, it forces you to press and hold the power button when using.
The limitations of the knife
- The Rapala is an electric knife, and of course, it will not be able to run without power. That is the most significant limitation of this knife.
- Therefore, you cannot bring it to the wilderness; the Rapala knife seems to be best suited to fishing camps or boats where electrical power is available.
- Although it owns a long cord of up to 8 feet, it seems that it is still not enough for some brothers who want more mobility.
- The truth is that this electric fillet knife is more difficult to use than a manual fillet knife like bubba blades above. You will need to practice through some fish to be able to use it in the best way.
- You should also pay more attention when replacing reciprocating blades, it seems quite tight, and the blades also do not have a case for protection and storage. Be more careful!
Although there are still some limitations, we can confirm that the Rapala knife is the best electric fillet knife for avid fishermen, a must-have gear in the fishing season.
- The Rapala electric knife has remarkable performance, which has helped us fillet hundreds of fish at once without stress. So it is our best knife for heavy duty.
- You will also save countless time and effort from this valuable investment.
- To clean all your fish sizes most effectively, you need a set of fillet knife like Bubba blades above. But with the Rapala electric fillet knife, you have an all-in-one knife.
- We can easily replace its blades to best suit the size of fish we catch. Therefore, it can be said that this Rapala is the right fillet knife for all fishes.
Rapala is a leading brand in the fishing industry, they know what fishermen need, and they always improve their products to meet those needs.
To overcome the biggest drawback of the corded Rapala knife above, they have introduced this great improvement model:
In general, this Rapala cordless fillet knife has the same function as its corded brother in general.
Here are the advantages and outstanding features of the product:
- The Rapala knife is equipped with two high-performance Lithium-Ion batteries, suitable for those who prefer unrestricted sensations.
- It can work well for 80 minutes per charge in just 2 hours. The quality and life of Lithium-Ion batteries are also excellent, and far superior to its competitors.
- This COMBO has 6″ and 7.5″ blades available so you can get ready for any fillet mission without having to buy more.
- The Rapala Combo also includes an EVA padded storage case. This case is perfect for keeping your toolkit the best and helping us avoid the risks from these sharp blades.
On the opposite side, this cordless fillet knife also has its disadvantages:
- You will have to spend more money to buy it because its Lithium-Ion batteries are expensive.
- The Rapala lithium knife is also more massive than the corded version, so using it is harder.
- You should always check the battery capacity before using the knife or before each fishing trip.
- Also, like using a laptop or mobile phone, we need to be careful to charge the knife battery to maintain its performance in best.
If Bubba blades have no opponents for outdoor activities like sports fishing then in the kitchen world, there is no better knife than this Dalstrong knife:
[A Premium Knife]
Why do we like it?
It can be said that this is a fillet knife that you will enjoy from the first touch.
The Dalstrong is a top quality fillet knife, crafted exquisitely by skilled craftsmen.
About the blade:
- Its blades are forged precisely with high carbon German stainless steel from ThyssenKrupp which gives it durability and high flexibility.
- The edge of the Dalstrong knife is exceptionally sharp, meticulously handcrafted to maintain sharpness and enhance ability resilience.
- We also appreciate the tapered design of this fillet knife. Its design is even better than Bubba blade knives.
- The knife’s thin and very flexible blade allows you to slide through the fish body gently and accurately to remove all of their bones and skin.
- Moreover, its blade is polished by hand making it both beautiful and easy to clean.
About the handle:
- The handle of the Dalstrong knife is made of high-quality wood imported from Spain.
- It is meticulously finished to bring luxury to the knife with smooth wood grain and shiny rivets.
- Also, ergonomically shaped handle brings comfort to grip, easy to use.
- Another plus is that the Dalstrong handle has bolsters at both ends. This design enhances the balance of the fillet knife and gives it a firm feel when holding it.
Besides, the Dalstrong fillet knife comes with two sheaths for two different purposes:
- One hard plastic sheath for storage in the kitchen drawer.
- One leather sheath to go fishing.
The knife drawbacks
- Although the blade is hand-polished very well, the adhesive resistance is better if it is coated with non-stick layers.
- The wooden handle of the knife is polished carefully, but it is not as durable as synthetic resin or rubber. Water and fishy smell resistance are also not as good.
- We also do not appreciate slip resistance of the handle, its smooth design without lanyard hole is not suitable for enthusiastic outdoor anglers.
Unlike Bubba blade, the fillet knives are great for sports fishing. The Dalstrong fillet knife is the best for kitchens.
My wife, a culinary believer, also especially loves sous vide salmon. She judged that the Dalstrong Gladiator is the best fillet knife for salmon or trout so far.
It is very flexible, razor-sharp and has a great balance that makes it easy for users to manipulate on very soft fish like salmon to cut out the perfect fillets for cooking.
We recommend this Dalstrong knife for both professional chefs and home cooks who want to enhance the culinary experience with an excellent knife.
The last position on our best list is Rapala’s classic knife…
[An affordable knife]
The advantages of the knife
- The Rapala fillet knife is more affordable than the rest. It is a small, simple design knife with a wooden handle and leather cover.
- The 6-inch blade of the knife is skinny and sharp. It also has the highest flexibility among our fillet knives.
- Besides, the blade is coated with PTFE non-stick coating that allows fillets to fall off easily.
- The Rapala Superflex blade is very suitable for cleaning small-sized fish because it can easily creep in body fish to filter fish bones and skin thoroughly.
- We also love the shotgun-style checkering on baked birch handle. It looks both stylish and improves grip.
- If the small and light fillet knife is good for those with little hands, on the opposite side it is not suitable for big hands.
- Its super-flexible 6-inch blade is also not ideal for the big targets you catch. In that case, please use a stronger fillet knife.
- Rapala’s birch handle has been treated but will still be dirty and smell fishy if you don’t clean it properly.
- Besides, the lack of finger guards also brings certain risks to your fingers. So please pay attention!
The Rapala is an ideal fillet knife for young anglers who hunt small fish like panfish, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill or rainbow trout.
Because the bigger the fish, the harder it is to catch, it requires a lot of fishing skills and experience.
In short, this Rapala superflex fillet knife is a quality knife; it deserves to be in our fishing gears.
It’s hard to choose the winner here.
I think if you want a fillet knife with sports qualities then you should choose the Bubba blade.
It is the best fillet knife for big-game fishing, very suitable for professional anglers who love new experiences.
But when precise slices are no longer so important, time is the crucial factor, so we strongly recommend the Rapala electric fillet knife for your work.
This electric knife will be handy for those who have to clean a large amount of fish regularly. It helps you speed up the processing of fish and save you a lot of time and effort!
Do not miss these great knives for the busy fishing season and you will find that cleaning fish is easier than ever.
How To Sharpen A Fillet Knife And Keep It Sharp
The blade of a fillet knife is skinny and flexible, making it harder to sharpen than other knives such as chef knife, carving knife.
So it is essential to master the techniques as well as using the right tools to sharpen the knife.
That will help you always get a sharp fillet knife for fish and get practical benefits from it:
- A sharp knife helps you cut fish easily and quickly.
- A sharp knife also helps you get beautiful pieces of fillets.
- Using a sharp knife gives us satisfaction at work, reduces stress and fatigue.
Below are helpful guidelines to help you sharpen and maintain your fillet knife properly.
There are two steps to achieving a razor-sharp edge.
- Sharpening step: to remove metal on the blade, reset the V-shape of the cutting edge.
- Honing step: is a polishing step to finish the cutting edge.
First of all, you need a high-quality sharpening stone to sharpen the knife. It can be oilstone, water-wet stone or diamond stone.
You should choose whetstones with both rough and smooth surface to sharpen the fillet knife in two stages.
You should also read the manual of your stone to ensure proper lubrication when you sharpen the knife. Otherwise, the stone will soon become useless.
We have two ways to sharpen knives with sharpening stones:
- Slicing butter method.
- Circular motion method.
Things to do when knife sharpening:
- Keeping the right knife sharpening angle is the KEY to getting a sharp knife as desired. Otherwise, you will create a “shoulder” instead of a feathered edge.
- A fillet knife needs a thin and sharp edge more than a regular kitchen knife, so the knife sharpening angle should set at around 15 degrees.
- Even professional anglers have a hard time keeping the knife sharpening angle exactly, so you need to be patient and focus when sharpening.
- When the “shoulder” has been removed, the sharpening of your fillet knife will become more comfortable because you have established the right edge shape.
- Use the rough side of the sharpening stone when starting to remove the metal quickly. Then use the smooth side to finish when the edge is sharp.
- Sharpen the knife slowly in combination with adjusting the pressure so that it is appropriate for each time and part of the blade.
- You should also sharpen the tip of the blade more carefully than the heel because it is the central working part of a fillet knife for fish.
- We need to sharpen both sides of the blade equally.
- After finishing, do not forget to wipe your whetstone with a rough cloth to remove all the steel dust on its surface. That helps maintain the stone’s performance.
- Once your blade is sharp, finish its edge with a honing steel.
- The honing steel helps straighten the feathered edge, not to sharpen.
- We often slice our fillet knife through a honing steel a few times after cleaning a few fish. This is to maintain sharpness.
Next, are some notes for using and maintaining fillet knives that you should know:
- This knife is only used to fillet fish. To keep its sharp blade, you should not use it for anything else like cutting bait, fishing line, plastic bag, etc.
- After filleting, need to clean the knife thoroughly, dry and gently rub with vegetable oil or wax on the blade before storing.
- Please use only wooden or plastic cutting boards when cleaning fish. Keep away from materials like glass, ceramic, marble and steel if you don’t want to destroy the knife edge.
- Do not place your fillet knife in the sink or dishwasher as this will be dangerous for users, blunting the blade, even damaging the knife handle.
- Do not use your fillet knife to remove game meat bones, instead use the best boning knives.
Finally, on a lucky day, you harvest a lot of delicious fish. It is a valuable source of protein for family meals so you should use the best vacuum sealer for fish to keep your fish fresh longer.
(*) Last updated by James on Jan 09th, 2019.