Top Fillet Knives for Fish
There are a lot of choices when it comes to buying a fillet knife, but not a lot of good options if you want a quality tool that will last a long time. Great fillet knives are made with high quality materials, utilize a solid knife handle design, and have excellent blade flex. Poorly designed knives can be very frustrating and I’ve personally seen way too many fishing captains slice their hand moving too fast with a slippery knife or dull blade. A trip to the hospital to get stitches can really ruin a fishing trip.
Investing in a quality fillet knife for processing fish can be worth its weight in gold and will be a tool you can keep long term if it is well cared for. That being said I have used a countless number of fillet knives and currently own all of these knives on the list. They are the most sought after knives and I would highly recommend each and every one of them. For me each one has a specific purpose whether it be outdoor filleting, kitchen filleting, or bait prep.
The most important qualities to look for when buying a fillet knife are metal quality, knife handle, and blade flex.
Fillet Knife Quicklinks
|Wusthof Classic Fillet Knife||High Carbon Stainless Steel||Sleek Design|
High Quality Steel
|Helle Traditional Fillet Knife||Sandvik 12C27 Stainless Steel||Swedish Design|
Curly Maple Handle
Chef Grade Tool
|Bubba Blade Fillet Knife||8Cr13MoV Steel with Titanium Coating||Oversize Handle|
|Toadfish Folding Fillet Knife||High Carbon Stainless Steel with Titanium Coating||Folding Fillet Knife Rubber Handle|
This Wusthof Classic fillet knife is one of the nicest fillet knives I’ve ever had the pleasure of using and it is truly well built. The knife is geared for professional kitchen use and stays very sharp. It has excellent flex in the tip with a strong spine and is my go to knife when I’m in an indoor area filleting fish. The flex lets you move easily around fish bones and produces a very clean fillet. This knife is also incredibly durable, I have owned and used it hard for over 10 years at this point and have only needed to sharpen it. True high quality workhorse.
- High quality stainless steel
- Excellent flex profile
- German quality craftsmanship
- Long term durability
- Nimble knife for precise cuts
- Not suited for wet filleting
Bubba blade fillet knives have become quite popular recently and for good reason. I am convinced that these knives are wildly popular because of the full tang blade and the perfectly designed handle. Just looking at the knife you can see that the handle has a stout rubber grip with a thumb groove on the top and sides for when you’re turning the knife sideways to take the skin off. It also has an index finger guard to prevent a slimy fish hand from slipping up onto the blade. This knife is meant to fillet fish in a wet and dirty environment and it’s perfectly happy to be rode hard and put away wet thanks to the titanium blade coating. I get the appeal and I am happy with this knife.
- Durable oversized rubber handle
- Excellent grip for wet fillet areas
- High visibility color
- Coated blade for corrosion resistance
- Lanyard hole for retention
- Included knife sheath
- Only comes in one color
- Blade steel is good but not top notch
Toadfish just recently released this folding fillet knife, and we’re here for it. It is a very well built knife that has corrosion proof materials and is meant for sand, salt, and fish guts. The flex in the blade is surprisingly nimble and it has a great cutting board and knife sharpening system that can be bought with it as well. Folding fillet knives are great for kayak fishing and camping and I would definitely recommend this one as the best folding fillet knife out there. See our in depth review of the Toadfish Stowaway Fillet System.
- Folding profile makes it easy to store
- Back end clip for security and bottle opening
- Great blade flex
- Excellent price point for a quality fillet knife
- Folding fillet knives have yet to be tested long term
- Knife balance is a bit off with a thick handle that transitions to thin blade quickly
Helle is a Nordic knife manufacturer that has been making knives since 1932. They utilize high quality Sandvik 12C27 steel that results in razor sharpness, high hardness, exceptional toughness, and good corrosion resistance. This is paired with curly birch wood handles which is a traditionally sound method of construction that results in a beautiful fillet knife that looks more like a piece of art than a tool. Don’t be fooled however, as this knife is the real deal and performs flawlessly. The 6” blade on the knife makes it suitable for mid to small sized fish and gives you total control of the blade to split apart meat from bone. Highly recommend this knife, it will last you a lifetime if well cared for and it includes a real leather sheath.
- Nordic craftsmanship and construction
- Beautiful knife and design
- Maneuverable 6” fillet blade
- Long lasting classic blade
- Real leather sheath
- Too nice for fish guts
Excellent question! Filet and fillet are both spellings of a word that means a boneless cut of meat (noun) or to remove bones from mean (verb). You can spell it either way, however fillet is more common today.
Absolutely, a good fillet knife should have flex in the blade which lets you curve around the fish bones while stripping the skin and meat.
A fillet knife blade generally ranges from 6-9 inches depending on the size of fish you’re cleaning. Larger fish means a larger blade since you want to be able to fillet the entire side of the fish with the knife blade at one point.
A dull fillet knife can make it difficult to cut through fish scales as well as some fish having very strong thick scales such as redfish. Sharpen your knife constantly while cutting to maintain peak performance.
Get a knife sharpener, this will make sharpening a breeze and it will make you much happier with the results.
Always check your local state wildlife regulations, however in general the answer to this is always no, because there is no way for fish and wildlife officers to know what size your catch was before filleting it.