Fillet knife on cutting board

Best Fillet Knife for Fishing in 2021

Although a fillet knife is not necessary for your Bug-Out bag it would certainly be nice to have, especially if you expect to fish for food.  Filleting and de-boning fish is difficult to do with any other type of knife.  Fillet knives are a worthy addition to your go-bag since they are light and have enough functionality to justify the space.

Things to consider before buying a fillet knife

Knife blade size

Fillet knife blades range in length from 4-9 inches.  The wide range in blade length is because you should ideally use a small knife on small fish and a large knife on large fish.  

For a good all-around blade length, I recommend buying a fillet knife with a blade around 7 inches in length.  This will allow you enough flexibility to fillet a small fish while still being able to fillet a large fish without much struggle.  Of course, if you expect to only need a knife for large or small fish, feel free to buy a larger or smaller blade to meet your needs.

Knife blade material

Fillet knives are generally made from stainless steel and I would not buy a fillet knife made from another material.  There are different types of stainless steel and not all manufacturers disclose the exact type used in their knives.  Because of this, it is important to buy a fillet knife made by a company known for quality.

Knife blade flex

Fillet knives need to flex and the amount of flex in your knife is a definite point of consideration when selecting a knife.  Short blades should have more flex than long blades.  This is because small fish require more turns and delicate cuts while large fish have more room to work and therefore require less flex.

Blades shorter than 6 inches should have a considerable amount of flex.  That is to say when you press the tip straight down and apply a small amount of pressure, the blade should bend a bit more than one inch.  Longer blades should still be flexible, but also thicker and therefore have a smaller amount of flex.

Knife handle

Safety and comfort of the knife handle are important considerations.  After all, the blade of a fillet knife is razor sharp and slipping could cause significant injuries.

Historically, wood was the standard handle material for fillet knives.  But it is not recommended because wood becomes slick when covered in fish oil.  Also, wood tends to retain fish smells even after cleaning.

My favorite material for a fillet knife blade is rubber followed closely by plastic.  Rubber has a slight advantage because it provides a better grip and is more comfortable.  Both plastic and rubber are easily cleaned and do not soak up fish oil.

Another important, but often overlooked part of the handle is the ergonomics.  There should definitely be a small indentation for your index finger.  This provides leverage and also makes it more difficult for your finger to slip.

Knife sheath

Most fillet knives come with a sheath.  If your knife does not come with a sheath, I strongly recommend you buy one.  Fillet knife blades are razor sharp and it is dangerous to have such a sharp blade in your tackle box or bug-out bag.  Additionally, it protects the knife from damage.

Knives become dull over time with use.  

It is especially important to keep your fillet knife as sharp as possible.  The sharpness is the reason a fillet knife cuts fish so easily.  Some knives come with a small sharpener.  Others integrate a v-shaped sharpener into the sheath.  Regardless of whether your knife comes with a sharpener, I recommend buying one.

Top Pick

KastKing Fillet Knife 7 Inch

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Features & Benefits

The KastKing 7 inch fillet knife is an excellent knife with all the features I look for in a fillet knife. Although these knives are available in a variety of lengths, the 7 inch blade is the perfect length for the all-around knife.  It is razor sharp out of the box and has the right amount of flex for a blade of this length. I like the black coating on this blade because it protects the blade and only exposes the cutting edge to the elements.  This reduces the potential for rust.

I also like the price point.  For a mid-priced filet knife, this has all the features one would look for in a knife at any price.

The grip on this knife is my favorite part.  It is made from a non-slip polymer that is easily cleaned and feels good to hold.  

The KastKing fillet knife comes with a sheath specifically designed to securely lock the knife in place while still being easy to remove.  This is a great feature so it does not accidentally come out of the sheath in your tackle box or go-bag.

What do owners say

Don’t take my word for it.  I also searched the Internet to find out what people who have used this knife for some time have to say about it. 

Pros:  People who have used this knife for a long time like its durability.  Most say their knife was razor sharp out of the box and easy to sharpen.  People also like the durable sheath that comes with the knife.  Most owners also love how the handle feels in their hand and how easy it is to clean.

Cons:  A few people claim their knives were dull out of the box (though easily sharpened).  Some people also noticed there is not a way to attach the knife sheath to a belt.  In my opinion, a filet knife is something to leave at camp or in the tackle box and not carry with you while fishing).  Owners also report that this knife does not float.

Click here to buy the KastKing 7 inch fillet knife.

Runners-Up:

PLUSINNO Fishing Fillet Knife 7 inch

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Features & Benefits

This is a great knife also and for the price point, my favorite.  The blade is razor sharp and 7 inches is the perfect length for an all-purpose fillet knife.  The blade also flexes perfectly for a 7 inch blade.  

The reason the PLUSINNO fillet knife did not make my top pick is because of the handle.  Don’t get me wrong, the handle is acceptable and feels good.  I did not find the handle to be as comfortable as my top pick.  The handle is made of a slip resistant polymer which is easy to clean.  You will have a good grip on this knife for delicate cuts.

The knife sheath appears durable and locks the knife in place while still being easy to remove for use.  It also has open slots to allow the knife to dry easily.

What do owners say

Pros:  Most owners rave about the sharpness of his knife out of the box.  They think the flex is the right amount for a 7 inch knife.  Owners also report the knife is easy to sharpen.

Cons:  A few owners had problems with the knife easily falling out of the sheath.  Owners also found that this knife does not float.

Click here to buy the PLUSINNO Fishing Fillet Knife.

Rhinoreto Fish fillet knife 6 ½ inches

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Features & Benefits

There is a lot to like about this knife.  The first thing to notice is the Rhinoreto fish fillet knife comes with a sharpener unlike the other knives I reviewed.  This is a great feature, especially at this price point.

The blade is razor sharp out of the box and provides the right amount of flex for a knife of this length.  My preference is a 7 inch blade, but 6 ½ is close enough for most jobs. The manufacturer coats the knife blade with a non-stick coating.  This coating makes meat slide right off and makes cutting easier.  In my opinion, a non-stick surface is unnecessary in a fillet knife but not a bad feature to have.

The sheath is lightweight and perfectly protects the blade.  It performs as a sheath should and has a nice design that locks the knife in.

What do owners say

Pros:  Owners love the grip.  It is ergonomically friendly and fits well in the hand.  The shape of the blade is perfect for filleting fish.  They also like the fact that it comes with a sharpener. 

Cons:  Many owners claim the knife dulls quickly and needs sharpening often.

Click here to buy the Rhinoreto Fish Fillet Knife.

Conclusion

The KastKing 7 inch fillet knife is my favorite.  The durability and flex in the blade makes this knife easy to handle and make precision cuts when filleting fish.  The handle is extraordinarily comfortable and feels secure.  Even when covered in fish oil, the material on the handle should not become very slick.  The knife is easy to clean and does not soak up fish smells as sometimes occurs with fillet knives.