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Whether you’re fixing up a lakeside lunch of your freshly caught perch, or you’re preparing a meal in your kitchen, having the proper tools is paramount.  This means you need a fillet knife that is going to get the job done. 

Choosing the best fish fillet knife can feel overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  Or maybe you do know what you’re looking for, but you are overwhelmed by all of the options.  There are so many brands to choose from.  Each one offers a variety of characteristics and features. To help ensure you’re ready to properly prepare your catch, below is a list of the 5 best fillet knives on the market.

Perhaps the most attractive knife on the list, the Rapala Fish’n Fillet Knife.  It offers a full tang blade tucked away into its classic varnished birch handle. 

With a blade made out of European stainless steel, this knife is made to withstand repeated exposure to saltwater, fish oil, and fish blood.  It is thin yet durable with flexibility that allows it to maneuver around the soft contours of the fish’s body.

The unique, genuine leather sheath makes this knife portable and keeps it safe when not in use. 

Also, unlike other fillet knives on the market, the Rapala Fish’n Fillet comes with a single-stage sharpener making it easy to maintain a sharp blade.  Always having a sharp blade means you will have the precision and control needed to produce a top quality fillet.

pros
  • Full tang blade
  • Includes sharpener
  • Comes with a genuine leather sheath
  • Varnished birch handle
cons
  • Handle may be small for larger hands

The Mercer Culinary Millennia Narrow fillet knife has a blade made of premium Japanese high-carbon stainless steel.  The Mercer shield symbol on the blade marks the center of gravity.  A flexible tip and the narrow blade allow for finesse when filleting more delicate fish.

This knife also features a molded handle made of Santoprene and polypropylene.  The combination of these two mechanically rugged materials provides both comfort and durability.  It has raised bumps on both sides which aid with a pinch grip.  The textured finger grips provide a comfortable full-hand grip.  For safety purposes, this fillet knife also provides a finger guard on the end of the handle closest to the blade. 

Another great feature is that this knife is incredibly easy to clean and maintain.  Once you are finished using it, simply rinse the blade under running water.  It is now ready to fillet your next fish.

pros
  • High-carbon stainless steel blade
  • Easy to clean
  • Specially textured finger points for comfortable grip and safety
cons
  • Takes some skill to use
  • Requires regular sharpening

The Victorinox boasts a black Fibrox handle and is dishwasher safe.  It is also slip-resistant, even when covered in water, fish oil, blood, or any other slippery substance.  The handle is ergonomically designed to provide a natural fit and minimize wrist tension.

Victorinox is a Swedish knife that is well known and widely used among fishermen.  Its high-carbon stainless steel blade is stamped from a single sheet of metal.  It is then put through a special tempering process producing an edge that can be resharpened over and over again.  Victorinox, or “Vickies” as they are referred to in the commercial fishing world, are known to be strong, sharp, and durable knives.

pros
  • Black Fibrox handle
  • Sharp, stainless steel blade
  • Easy to sharpen
cons
  • Sheath sold separately

KastKing folding fillet knife sports a unique, black stainless steel blade with a non-stick finish.  This high quality blade is the ideal combination of strength and flexibility.  The titanium bond easily slides through fish for a perfect cut.  With a corrosion resistant finish, the blade on this knife is sure to last for years to come.

The handle is molded using glass reinforced polypropylene which provides a rigid and strong frame.  It is constructed out of slip resistant TPE rubber providing a comfortable and secure grip.

This fillet knife has an overall length of 13 ½” and will fold down to 7 ½” making it nice and portable.  The included sheath provides additional manageability.  

pros
  • Corrosion resistant finish
  • Includes protective sheath
  • Stainless steel blade 
  • Foldable and portable
cons
  • Not as sharp as other fillet knives

Best Electric knifeMister Twister 120v

As far as electric fillet knives go, the Mister Twister is at the front of the line.  Its sharp blades and powerful motor provide for fast and easy filleting. 

The split blades oscillate at the perfect speed enabling a professional looking cut each and every time.  You will be able to get through a sink full of your day’s catch in no time.  The blades can also be released for easy clean up.

The lightweight comfortable handle delivers better control.  It has a high impact motor housing which offers up additional protection.  It also comes equipped with a curly cord that is expandable enabling it to stay out of your way for uninterrupted use.

pros
  • Fast and easy filleting
  • Affordable
  • Has a lightweight and comfortable handle
cons
  • Short electrical power cord
  • Has difficulties cutting through larger fish

How To Choose The Best Fish Fillet Knife

Selecting a good fillet knife is easy if you know what to look for.  The two most important components of the knife are the blade and the handle.  If you do not have the correct blade, the meat could be ruined during the filleting process.  Choose a knife with poor handle qualities and you could risk injury.

Blade

A good fillet knife will have a long, thin, flexible blade.  This provides the control and maneuverability necessary to remove bones, skin, entrails, and fins.

As I am sure you can imagine, the blade is the most important aspect of a fillet knife.  Always look for a blade that is thin but tough and holds a good sharp edge.  You also want to consider what the blade is made out of.  Stainless steel is the best option because it won’t rust or warp.

Handle

Choosing an ergonomic handle that fits comfortably in your hand is invariably the best way to go.  This will allow you to maintain blade control while also keeping a firm grip on the handle.  A comfortable handle also helps to reduce strain and fatigue.

It is also important to look for a fillet knife with a finger guard.  The finger guard is located on the handle where it meets the blade.  A finger guard further protects your hand from slipping off the handle and down the blade of the knife.

What Size Fish Fillet Knife Is Best?

Now that you know what to look for in a fillet knife, it is time to figure out what size to use.  The size of the fish you are filleting determines the length of the knife used. The general rule of thumb is that the knife should be at least 2″ longer than the fish you are filleting.  This will allow for enough space to move while you are slicing.

With this in mind, fillet knives are typically 4 to 10 inches long.  Shorter knives (4″-6″) are used for smaller fish, like perch and trout.  If you are reeling in a medium-sized fish, like a salmon or catfish, then a 7″-8″ blade is more appropriate.  For larger catches, such as halibut or tuna, a knife that is at least 8″ or larger works great.

Do You Need A Fillet Knife To Fillet A Fish?

The short answer to this question is yes.  Technically, you can still fillet a fish without a fillet knife.  However, without a specialized implement, you are sure to lose a lot of precious meat.

Any standard knife will have a thicker, more rigid blade.  Remember, a thin and flexible blade is crucial for getting the skin off of a fish.  Using a regular knife will get you enough meat to use as a stock, but not a fillet.

Fillet knives are built to fillet fish.  They are designed to move easily along the backbone and under the skin.  They offer control and precision while slicing around the contours of the fish without damaging the exquisite meat.

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