Choosing a Fish Fillet Knife One of the most important tools to invest in for fishing is a really good fillet knife. Once you finish a great day of fishing, it’s now time to prepare the fish for cooking, or storage to cook later. One thing you don’t want to have is a bad fillet knife that makes it harder to clean your fish, or that causes you to waste a lot of the fish meat. A great fillet knife is easy to guide right through the meat, bending around the bones, to give you perfect fish fillets. For me, it’s also a matter of speed. When I get done with a day of fishing, I want to fillet my fish quickly. I don’t want to struggle with cleaning a fish with a bad fillet knife, causing me to have fillets coming out in chunks and pieces as I struggle through cleaning my catch. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a really good fillet knife.
Electric vs Manual Fish Fillet Knife
The first decision that you have to make is whether you want an electric fillet knife, or a manual traditional style fillet knife. This is more of a matter of personal preference because there are positives and negatives for either style of knives. A good quality electric fillet knife is typically more expensive that a good quality manual type fillet knife. The electric fillet knife will require a power source or battery to run. The electric fillet knives are typically a bit bulkier than the traditional manual style. An electric fillet knife can be quicker and plow through large fish, but a manual fillet knife would be more thorough in getting all the meat in a fillet swipe as they can get in there and grab all that meat with the fillet. Many fishermen tend to buy both types of knives so that they can fillet the larger bigger boned fish with the help of the powered blades, and a manual knife for cleaning smaller fish or smaller boned fish for more targeted precise cuts through the fish.
Fish Fillet Knife Blade
One of the most critical components of a fillet knife is the blade. It’s important to find a knife that is flexible so that it can bend around the bones and fins of the fish to give you a clean cut, saving as much of the meat as possible as part of the fillet. The blade thickness should be thin, which gives the blade the flex that it needs to do the best job. The blade needs to be strong, and keep a sharp edge to be able to cut through the fish like a butter knife through a softened stick of butter. The blade needs to be durable to last for generations. The blade should also be the right length for the fish that you are cleaning.
Fish Fillet Knife Blade Length
The length of the blade is important to match to the type and size of the fish. Blade length’s typically range from four to twelve inches. The shorter blades are great for panfish, and small trout, the medium lengths for largemouth bass and larger trout, while the longest blades are great for striped bass, salmon, and steelhead. The larger girth of the fish, the wider the fillets will be, which will require a longer blade.
Fish Fillet Knife Blade Materials
One of the best materials used for manufacturing knife blades is a good high quality stainless steel. For the wear and tear that the typical knife goes through, along with the wet environments that a filet knife is commonly exposed to, a stainless steel blade is a great choice. Stainless steel won’t corrode, won’t warp, and won’t tarnish, plus the blade is easy to clean and to keep clean. As for cosmetics, they also shine up nice and look great.
Fish Fillet Knife Handle
It’s critical to keep a good hold on any knife, and a fillet knife is no exception. When cleaning fish it’s guaranteed that your hands will be wet, cold, and slimy as it’s hard to avoid getting your hands dirty while you are cleaning fish. Because of that, it’s important to have a fillet knife that has a non-slip grip that is comfortable to hold and provides stability and control while gliding through the fish. You should get a grip that is comfortable to hold and allows for a firm grip to remain in full control of the knife at all times. A comfortable grip also lessens the fatigue that can set in if you are cleaning a full limit of fish or two as well. So it’s more than a safety concern, it’s also a concern about comfort. Knife handles can be made of many different materials. A wood handle, for example, though it may look nice, they can be less comfortable to hold, can become slippery, and can start to wear and crack over time without the proper maintenance. If you use a wood handle, I would recommend using gloves to make the knife more comfortable and less slippery. Rubber and Plastic handles are easier to maintain, and are typically less slippery. Any knife handle can last generations under proper care and maintenance.
Fish Fillet Knife Sheath
A good knife sheath to protect your knife is important for the knife to last and for good safety measure to prevent accidents. Knife sheath’s can be made from many different materials including plastic, nylon, and leather. Plastic is easier to keep clean, and will typically last as long as the knife does. Leather sheaths require some upkeep for longevity and to keep them looking nice. Both nylon and leather can collect and retain moisture, which can damage the blade and sheath over time. A good knife sheath should have vents or openings to allow the water out and the air in to keep the knife dry. It’s important to clean your knife before putting it in the sheath so that you don’t put guts and fish parts or juices inside the sheath where it’s hard to get out. The type of knife sheath is mostly a matter of personal preference, and which type you feel looks and feels better to you. Plastic is the easiest to keep clean with less wear and tear over time, but you can also take precautions if you decide to go with vinyl or leather by cleaning and drying the knife before putting it back in the sheath and keeping it protected from the elements to keep the sheath in good shape.
Fish Fillet Knife Warranty
Many good quality knives will last for generations. But, just in case you have any issues with the knife, it may be a good idea to buy a knife from a company that has been manufacturing knives for generations, and will back the quality of their knife by providing a lifetime warranty.
Fish Fillet Knives Made in the USA
Though you can find good quality knives made throughout the world, I have found that the quality and craftsmanship in some of the leading manufacturers of knives Made in the USA are truly of the best quality. I also found that the fish like them more as they have an increased desire to bite my baited hook, and lures, since buying my favorite fillet knife that was Made in the USA. Ok, I made that last part up!
Bubba Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet Knife
The Bubba® Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet Knife delivers power, precision, versatility, and comfort in the fish filleting experience. This fillet knife will help you clean your catch quickly and easily. No need to plug it in, or have a stock of good batteries on hand, it is rechargeable for added convenience. Strong and durable construction includes an 8.5"L handle with a textured, non-slip grip to give you full control no matter how slimy of a task is at hand. This Bubba knife set comes with 4 interchangeable fillet blades that cover fish of all types and sizes that you may use it for. The blades are made from titanium nitride coated premium stainless steel. The set comes with both a 7" and 9" E-Flex blades for delicate work, and a 9" and 12" E-Stiff blade with dual rivets for ultimate strength and cutting power for bigger jobs. This Bubba Fillet Knife comes with 2 lithium-ion batteries, a 110V charging cord, and a premium EVA case for easy storage.
XPS® Lithium Ion Battery Powered Fillet Knife
If you are looking for a battery powered fish fillet knife with a 40 percent longer run time than other battery powered fillet knives, the Bass Pro Shops® XPS® Lithium Ion Battery Powered Fillet Knife is the right choice for you. This knife is a game changer for me, with a family of 8 that brings home a pretty big day’s catch, this knife gets me through the fish cleaning time much quicker, and with much less effort. This knife fits perfectly in your hand, has triple cell lithium ion battery technology that delivers over two hours of continuous use to let you clean the whole group’s fish in one session without having to recharge or switch to a back up regular fillet knife to complete the job. This fillet knife has the top quality built into it that you know and trust from the Bass Pro Shops name. Has amazing features built right in like it’s high torque motor to get through those heavy thick lunkers, heavy duty gearing to stand the test of time season after season, and heat fins with superior airflow to keep the knife mechanicals cooler on the inside to lessen the risk of damage to it’s internal components. This battery powered fish fillet knife is perfectly weighted and balanced to minimize fatigue to help you get through your successful day’s catch easily and with less effort. The handle is rubberized for easy slipless gripping, and to lessen the vibration during the cleaning of your fish. The knife kit comes with 3 precision stainless steel blades. Two blades for slicing and filleting, a 6 inch and a 10 inch standard blade with curved tips. It also comes with an 8 inch high volume performance blade with enhanced flexibility and maneuverability. The included wall charger is a high speed charger with charge and ready indicators so you know when it’s fully charged. The weather resistant molded case with padded compartments fits perfectly in my fishing bag for when I want to clean my fish while I’m out fishing. Features Rechargeable battery powered cordless fish fillet knife Advanced 3 cell lithium ion battery technology for top performance Extra long run time provides more than 2 hours of continuous use High torque motor with heavy duty gearing to get through big fish Superior airflow design provides for extended cool running Weighted and balanced to minimize fatigue and a comfortable hold Easy grip rubberized handle reduces vibration and gives you a solid grip Comes with 3 stainless steel blades providing the right blade for the right job High speed wall charger with indicator lights so you know when it is charged Built in safety features to prevent overloading the motor Weather resistant padded case to keep it organized.
Bubba Tapered Blade Flex Fillet Knife
The Bubba Tapered Blade Flex Fillet Knife has a textured, no-slip grip, and has full-tang construction from a single piece of steel for added strength and durability. The high carbon stainless steel blade is coated with a non-stick surface that's bonded with titanium to help prevent rust and to give the fish meat a surface to slide easily upon with less effort. It has a trigger grip plus thumb and finger pads to give you full and total control. The large, no-slip handle is made from thermoplastic polymer and wrapped with a synthetic rubber that helps to maintain a strong slide free grip to lessen the risk of accidental cuts. Comes with a custom black synthetic sheath with Velcro® straps to keep your knife protected when it is not being used. About The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best Fish Fillet Knife Shopping Experience Awaits!