20 Best Fillet Knives (2019): Buyer’s Guide and Unbiased Reviews

Are you on a quest to find the best fillet knife?

Then you’re in the right place. Because I have done the hard work for you and have reviewed dozens of products to bring you the best fillet knives.

In addition, I will introduce the following related topics.

  • Product Details (Including advantages and disadvantages) 
  • Buyer’s Guide
  • Fillet Knife Types
  • Filleting Knife Styles: German Vs Japanese
  • Fillet Knife Care and Maintenance
  • Safety Tips on Filleting Fish

I will also answer some common questions.

  • Why Do You Need the Best Fillet Knife for Fish?
  • How to Fillet Fish?
  • How to Sharpen a Fillet Knife?
  • When is a Fillet Knife Necessary?
  • What is Considered Good Material?
  • Is It Safe to Put a Fillet Knife in the Dishwasher?
  • Why is the Handle Important?
  • Do All Sets Come with Accessories?

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Chief Editor

Brian

Hi! I’m Brian, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science at University of Houston. I used to be an editor of a sports magazine. Currently, I work as a part-time editor at OutsideHow.com. I like to read sports and recreation magazines, such as Outdoor Life, Sports Illustrated, ESPN and Runner’s World. I hope that this article can be helpful to you.
Brian

25
Hours Researching

60+
Products Evaluated

1200+
Reviews Considered

18
Researched Sources

Top 3 Picks ( In a Hurry? Here are the winners )

Product
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife, Black
Professional's Choice
DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (6.5" Boning & Fillet)
Best Value
Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch), Slicer, 7-1/2-1,
Image
Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife, Black
DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (6.5" Boning & Fillet)
Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch), Slicer, 7-1/2-1,
Price
$19.39
$69.71
$12.78
Prime
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Product
Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife, Black
Image
Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife, Black
Price
$19.39
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Product
DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (6.5" Boning & Fillet)
Image
DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (6.5" Boning & Fillet)
Price
$69.71
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Product
Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch), Slicer, 7-1/2-1,
Image
Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch), Slicer, 7-1/2-1,
Price
$12.78
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Best Fillet Knives

Filleting fish is a lot easier when you have a high-quality knife that is specifically designed for the job. Ideally, the knife you use should not only be sharp but should also be comfortable to hold and easy to maneuver so that you can make your cuts with precision. Fillet knives can be used for skinning, descaling, and deboning fish, making them a must-have tool in the kitchen.

This is one task where quality matters. A dull, poorly-made knife will tear at the fish, making a mess and leading to a lot of waste. Low-quality knives can also be dangerous to use since they are more likely to slip. With a high-quality knife, on the other hand, you can cleanly cut through the fish with precision, allowing you to create picture-perfect fillets. Instead of being a chore, the right knife can transform the experience of prepping fish into an activity that you enjoy.

Whether you are a fisherman, an avid cook, or work in a meat shop, you should invest in a high-quality knife that you can turn to any time you need to fillet fish. Knives like these come in handy in many different situations, both in the kitchen and when fishing outdoors. In the section that follows, you can find reviews of some of the top-selling fillet knives.

1. Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife – Editor’s Choice & Best Seller

Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife, Black
  • Ergonomic handle - a combination of Santoprene for comfort and...
  • Textured finger points provide slip resistance, grip, and safety
  • Protective finger guard
  • The highest quality Japanese steel allows for easy blade maintenance...
  • One-piece high-carbon, stain-free Japanese steel

The ergonomically designed handle on this fillet knife includes Santoprene, which makes it comfortable to use.

To minimize the risk of the knife slipping, the finger points have built-in texture. This allows the user to maintain their grip more easily even when filleting fish.

Featuring an 8-inch blade that is made out of top-of-the-line steel from Japan, this knife does a great job of maintaining its edge. When you do need to sharpen it, the task can be completed quickly and easily, making the knife as easy to maintain as it is to use.

Pros
  • A total length of 10 inches
  • A handle that is designed with ergonomics in mind
  • A grip that is made more comfortable through the addition of Santoprene
  • A blade that is made out of top-quality steel from Japan
  • An extremely sharp cutting-edge
Cons
  • The size is larger than some people prefer

2. Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch) – Best Value

Sale
Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch), Slicer, 7-1/2-1,
  • Chicago Cutlery's 7-1/2-Inch Slicing/Fillet Knife has a slender blade,...
  • High-carbon stainless steel blades resist rust, stains, and pitting,...
  • Featuring triple brass rivets and a full metal tang, this knife gives...
  • Attractive, contoured walnut handle with brass rivets is comfortable...
  • Chicago Cutlery's Walnut Tradition 7.5-Inch Slicing/Fillet Knife comes...

Its slim blade and narrow width make this knife ideal for filleting fish. The knife itself is sturdy and safe to use thanks to the fact that the blade is securely locked inside the solid walnut handle using triple-compression rivets made out of brass.

One thing that makes this knife unique is that the blade is extremely easy to keep sharp. This has to do with the fact that it is made using grade 420 stainless steel. The higher carbon content of this type of steel makes it a lot easier to sharpen.

Pros
  • A one-piece blade that is made out of stainless steel with a high carbon content
  • A sturdy, solid wood handle made out of beautiful walnut
Cons
  • The length of the blade is longer than most experts recommend
  • The knife isn’t cool-tempered or flexible
  • The handle is smooth without any texture

3. Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Boning Knife, Flexible Blade, 6-Inch

Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Fibrox Pro Boning Knife, Flexible Blade, 6-Inch
  • VERSATILE DE-BONING TOOL. Trim or remove meat from the bone with ease....
  • IDEAL FOR DELICATE CUTS. Delicate poultry and fish can be difficult to...
  • EASY HANDLING. This knife features an ergonomic Fibrox Pro handle for...
  • KNIFE DIMENSIONS. Stainless steel blade -- 6" in length. Meets the...
  • TRUSTED SWISS QUALITY. Expertly crafted in Switzerland in 1884,...

This knife has an extremely sharp 6″ blade, making it useful in a variety of different situations. The blade, which is crafted out of high-carbon stainless steel from Europe, is conically tapered to ensure that it has the sharpest edge possible. With an edge that is shaped like the letter “S”, a lightweight design, and superior flexibility, this knife is excellent for everyday use. Caring for the blade is easy since it is made out of ice-tempered steel.

The firebox handle not only has a textured surface but is also ergonomically designed, helping to ensure that it won’t slip when you are using it. Cutting fish can be a messy business. This knife simplifies the process, allowing you to work for long periods without experiencing wrist fatigue. Cleaning the knife is easy, as well, which is why the design of the handle has been approved by the National Sanitary Foundation.

The 6″ fillet knife from Victorinox Swiss Army is available in many different styles. Along with straight and curved models, you can also find models that are semi-flexible or semi-stiff. The blades and handles are designed to work perfectly with one another to create the ideal balance. This makes the knife easy to maneuver and control. The Swiss are known for their high-quality craftsmanship, which certainly shines through with this beautiful, durable knife.

Pros
  • Offers a lot of versatility
  • An ergonomically designed handle with a nonslip grip that is easy to clean and disinfect
  • Available in numerous styles
  • A turdy, ultra-sharp blade that is also flexible
  • A lightweight design that does not compromise on quality
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with a sheath
  • Doesn’t include a sharpener

4. DALSTRONG Phantom Series – Japanese High-Carbon – AUS8 Steel – Sheath (6.5″ Boning & Fillet) – Professional’s Choice

DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (6.5" Boning & Fillet)
  • Powerhouse Fillet & Boning Knife: Masterfully elegant, perfectly...
  • Peak Performance: Mercilessly sharp, the Phantom Series edge is...
  • The Dalstrong Touch: Full tang and precision forged from a single...
  • Design Perfection: A velvety rich black Spanish pakkawood handle is...
  • Dalstrong Trust: Rocksolid 100% SATISFACTION OR MONEY BACK GUARANTEE,...

Like the Shogun Series 6″ knife by Dalstrong, the 6.5″ boning and fillet knife is extremely strong. The only difference is that the edge for cutting isn’t quite as sharp. Its semi-flexible blade is better suited to working with meat rather than fish. It is ideal for boning and filleting since its blade is sharp at the tip and is extremely narrow. That makes it possible to remove pieces of fish with a great deal of precision. The blade itself is engraved, which not only makes it more attractive but also makes it more effective at removing meat that is next to the bone. The stainless steel blade is cooled with nitrogen to make it more flexible. Its tapered design also helps reduce drag.

The handle is made out of beautiful Spanish pakkawood that has been polished by hand and specially laminated for extra protection. It is the ideal size to hold in your hand, allowing you to grip the knife tightly even when your hands are wet. The pin is made out of brass and copper and is designed with a beautiful mosaic pattern that makes the knife look more elegant. As a bonus, the knife is backed by Dalstrong’s lifetime warranty.

Pros
  • Getting the knife close to bones, under the skin, and around joints is easy thanks to the semi-flexible blade
  • The blade is extremely sharp, which allows it to perform well
  • The compact pakkawood handle is ideally sized for the average hand
  • The knife holds its edge exceptionally well and is extremely strong and durable
Cons
  • The sheath isn’t as well made as the knife

5. Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade

Marakniv’s Fishing Comfort fillet knife comes with a plastic sheath that has a built-in clip, making it easy to take with you when you are on the go. The 6.1″ model provides a lot of versatility in terms of how it can be used, while both knife sizes are quite flexible. They feature a slip-resistant grip that is designed for comfort, making it easy to control the knife while you work. The blade of the knife is made out of Sandvik stainless steel, which means that it does a great job of resisting corrosion.

There is a reason why this knife has the word ‘comfort’ in its name – its handle is extremely comfortable to hold. The handle itself is quite tough and is easy to hold onto thanks to its well-designed grip. You don’t have to worry about it slipping when your hands are wet or slippery since it has a patterned texture on the surface. The handle also won’t trap odors, which makes it a hygienic choice.

This compact fillet knife is comfortable to use, well-made, and performs well in a variety of situations, making it a good investment.

Pros
  • Available in two different sizes
  • A flexible blade that is made out of top-quality stainless steel
  • Capable of resisting corrosion
  • A beautifully designed handle that is resistant to slipping and odors while still being comfortable to hold
  • A portable design that is easy to take with you
Cons
  • Does not come with a sharpener

6. Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife

Sale
Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife
  • Made of highest quality material
  • Manufacturer: Rapala
  • Rapala heavy duty electric Fillet knife
  • Heavy Duty Motor
  • 7 1/2" dishwasher safe reciprocating blades

It isn’t surprising that Rapala prevails on both electric and manual grounds. This model offers optimum performance, which is expected from a high-quality fillet knife. In practically every fish preparing and filleting task that you do it provides you with great results.

The knife comes with a high-quality 7.5-inch reciprocating blade that has an ultra-sharp edge that is well-suited to work on both large and medium fish. It runs on a heavy-duty 110-volt motor and features an 8-inch power cord. That provides with two times the speed and three times the power the regular EFKs have.

The knife’s ergonomic plastic handle offers a comfortable and relaxed grip. You can work long hours with this knife without easily getting tired. The body has been designed for promoting airflow throughout the knife and to reduce the amount of vibration. It is dishwasher-safe and has a long enough cord to allow you to work around the bench.

The market was really surprised by Rapala when they introduced the heavy-duty EFK. If you are looking for the best electric fish fillet knife, get this one. You will be very happy you did so.

Pros
  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Durable high-quality blade material
  • Triple cutting power
  • Double cutting speed
  • Heavy-duty motor
Cons
  • No sheath
  • Not well-suited to use outdoors

7. Rapala 7 1/2 Inch Soft Grip Fillet Knife / Single Stage Sharpener / Sheath

Sale
Rapala 7 1/2 Inch Soft Grip Fillet Knife / Single Stage Sharpener / Sheath
  • This Soft Grip Fillet Knife is equipped with the famous Rapala...
  • Soft-grip molded textured handle
  • Maximum control and comfort while filleting
  • Includes a black sheath that easily fits on your belt and a...

This knife comes with a single sharpener and a sheath. It is sold in sizes that range from 4 up to 9 inches and features a soft-grip, textured molded handle.

It is non-slip even when it is wet, and it comfortable to hold.

It comes with Rapala’s standard stainless steel blade, which makes it very flexible and durable at the same time. It is easy to fillet and bone fish and has a black sheath that protects the knife. It also comes with a sharpener so you can sharpen its blade at any time and any place.

Pros
  • Sharpener works well
  • Allows you do smooth filleting
  • Sharp blade
Cons
  • The blade does not seal along its hilt

8. Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 6.1-Inch

Sale
Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 6.1-Inch
  • Stainless steel fillet knife with patterned, high-friction handle;...
  • 6.1-inch blade is versatile enough for most sizes of fish; slotted...
  • Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel is known for its razor sharpness, high...
  • High-friction handle allows users to maintain grip when cleaning fish;...
  • Blade thickness: 0.07 inches (1.9 mm); blade length: 6.1 inches (155...

So are don’t like long-sized blades? If so, then this fillet knife is the best one for you. The Morakniv fillet knife is available in two sizes: 6.1 inches and 3.5 inches.

This highly functional but inexpensive fillet knife has a stainless steel blade. The 6.1-inch blade can be used for preparing most sizes of fish.

The blade is made out of Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel. It is renowned for its high hardness and outstanding sharpness. The blade is also corrosion-resistant. The high-friction handle also provides users with a better grip.

Pros
  • Corrosion resistance
  • High-friction handle
  • 6.1 inch and 3.5 inch
  • Extremely sharp
  • Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel
Cons
  • Some might not like its contrasting colors

9. Kershaw Clearwater 9-In Fillet Knife (1259X) Fixed 420J2 High-Performance Stainless Steel Blade with Satin Finish

Kershaw Clearwater 9-In Fillet Knife (1259X) Fixed 420J2 High-Performance Stainless Steel Blade with Satin...
  • 9" fixed blade made of 420J2 stainless steel is resistant to corrosion...
  • Soft textured, co-polymer rubber grip for a comfortable in-hand feel...
  • Excellent knife for filleting larger fresh and salt-water fish alike,...
  • Keep handy in boats, tackle boxes, trucks, backpacks, on belts or in...
  • Softer blade steel is designed to bend without breaking, easily...

This knife is available in both 9 and 7-inch 420J2 stainless steel blades that feature a satin finish.

This lightweight blade enough flexibility to allow it to be bend without breaking it. The handle is made out of co-polymer for durability, texture, and grip.

The knife has been contoured for added comfort and has hand protectors on both of its ends as a safety measure with neon highlights so it can be used underwater.

Pros
  • Japanese stainless steel high carbon blade
  • The handle has some texture
  • Flexible
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • The handle isn’t fully textured
  • The 9-inch blade isn’t recommended, and the blade isn’t cold-tempered

10. Rapala NK03039-BRK Fish N Fillet

Rapala NK03039-BRK Fish N Fillet
  • Each Fish 'n Fillet features a full-tang Swedish stainless steel blade...
  • The genuine leather sheath and single-stage sharpener seal the deal
  • making it the "go-to" fillet knife in the fishing world.

The NK03039-BRK reminds me of one of the very first fishing knives that I had when I was a kid. The knife has a very traditional appearance with a birch wood handle that is quite nostalgic. I wouldn’t recommend this knife to be used by outdoorsmen who use their fillet knives every week since the steel of the blade isn’t the same quality as the other blades above. It is softer blade steel that would need to be sharpened more often since it won’t hold an edge for very long.

However, if you are searching for a high-quality fillet knife to use occasionally, then this knife can provide good value for your money. The Swedish stainless steel 7.5-inch blade is perfect for most sizes of fish. It has a nice looking reinforced birch varnished handle but won’t give the same grip that plastic does when it is wet. For such a low cost, it would make a really good backup fillet knife if you need one.

Pros
  • Comes with a sharpener and leather sheath
  • Low price
Cons
  • Lower quality of stainless steel blade
  • Softer steel so it will not hold its edge very long and will need to be sharpened more often

More Products (Our Rating: 4 Stars)

11. Buck 0220BLS Knives Silver Creek Folding Fillet Fishing Knife
Buck 0220BLS Knives Silver Creek Folding Fillet Fishing Knife
  • Silver creek folding Fillet
  • Category name: kitchen
  • Made in USA or imported
12. Rapala Fish n Fillet Superflex Knife
Rapala Fish 'N Fillet Superflex Knife (7 1/2-Inch)
  • Hand Rubbed Baked Birch Handle
  • PTFE Non-stick coating
  • Superflex blade
  • Razor Sharp Blade Made of Handground Stainless Steel
  • Tooled Leather Sheath
13. DALSTRONG Fillet Knife - 7 Flexible - Gladiator Series - German HC Steel - Two Sheaths
DALSTRONG Fillet Knife - 7" Flexible - Gladiator Series - German HC Steel - w/Two Sheaths
  • The Gladiator Series 7" fillet knife has been carefully designed to...
  • Incredibly razor sharp, full-tang, imported high-carbon German steel...
  • Award winning design, with satisfying heft, premium materials and...
  • Engineered to perfection at 56+ Rockwell hardness and hand polished to...
  • See why thousands of professional chefs and home cooks love and trust...
14. Gerber Gator Fillet Knife, 7.5-Inch
Gerber Gator Fillet Knife, 7.5-Inch [75231]
  • Gator Grip handle texture provides maximum grip for any situation,...
  • Hard-molded sheath with built-in sharpener
  • Overall Length: 12.2", Length of Blade: 7.17"
  • Full tang fillet blade
  • Weight: 4.4 oz.
15. Bubba 7 Inch Tapered Flex Fillet Fishing Knife with Non-Slip Grip Handle, Full Tang Stainless Steel Non-Stick Blade, Lanyard Hole and Synthetic Sheath for Fishing, Boating and Hunting
Sale
Bubba 7 Inch Tapered Flex Fillet Fishing Knife with Non-Slip Grip Handle, Full Tang Stainless Steel Non-Stick...
  • DIMENSIONS: 13" overall length with 7" blade
  • EASE OF USE: Non-Slip Grip handle for outstanding grip security...
  • RELIABLE: Features safety guards for protection from the blade and...
  • DURABLE: Ideal for detailed precision cutting, a super thin 8Cr13MoV...
  • CONVENIENT: The Ti-Nitride coated, rust resistant blade cuts through...
16. DALSTRONG Fillet Knife - Shogun Series -Damascus - AUS-10V- Vacuum Heat Treated - 6 - Sheath - 2mm Thickness
DALSTRONG Fillet Knife - Shogun Series -Damascus - Japanese AUS-10V Super Steel - Vacuum Heat Treated - 6" -...
  • A Dalstrong culinary revolution combining outstanding and...
  • Unrivaled Performance: Ruthlessly sharp scalpel like edge is hand...
  • Dalstrong Power: Ultra sharp AUS-10V Japanese super steel cutting core...
  • Engineered to Perfection: Ultra-premium G-10 handle is impervious to...
  • Dalstrong Trust: We know you'll love it! 100% SATISFACTION OR MONEY...
17. Shun Cutlery Classic Boning and Fillet Knife; 6-inch High-Performance, Double-Bevel Steel Blade; Luxurious, Hand-Crafted Japanese Knife Provides Flawless Aesthetic and Close, Controlled Cut or Fillet
Sale
Shun Cutlery Classic Boning and Fillet Knife; 6-inch High-Performance, Double-Bevel Steel Blade; Luxurious,...
  • Damascus-clad blade offers close, easy cutting; narrow blade reduces...
  • Easily fillet fish using razor-sharp blade; smoothly glide knife...
  • Precise knife slices effortlessly to separate meat from bone; curved...
  • D-Shaped handle allows secure grip for excellent control; made of...
  • Premium, durable knife provides professional results in both expert...
18. Elk Ridge ER-028 Fillet Knife 12.25 Overall
Elk Ridge ER-028 Fillet Knife 12.25 Overall
  • Crafted from the highest quality materials
  • Built for performance and durability
  • Made in China
  • 12.25" Overall
  • 440 Stainless Steel Blade
19. Dexter-Russell Fillet Knife
Sale
Dexter P94813 Narrow Fillet Knife, 8-Inch
  • For chefs who want Dexter quality at its most affordable
  • 400 series stain-free high-carbon steel blade
  • Durable and slip resistant Polypropylene handles
  • Blades are hollow ground for easy edge maintenance and rapid...
  • Made in USA
20. Buck Knives 0225BLS Silver Creek Large Fishing Fillet Knife with Sheath
Buck Knives 0225BLS Silver Creek Large Fishing Fillet Knife with Sheath
  • CORROSION RESISTANT - Flexible 9-5/8" Titanium coated 420HC Steel...
  • FLEXIBLE FILLET - Available in two blade lengths (6-3/8" and 9-5/8")....
  • ANTI-SLIP GRIP - Ergonomically shaped rubberized handle with stainless...
  • CONVENIENT CARRY - Injection molded sheath has integrated belt clip...
  • FOREVER WARRANTY - Since 1902 Buck Knives has offered a lifetime...

Why Do You Need the Best Fillet Knife for Fish?

Fillet Knives are designed specifically for filleting fish:

The blade is razor-sharp, thin, and very flexible, which makes it an easier task to cut across the backbone of the fish and to smoothly remove the skin. These blades usually also feature a very sharp tip which is useful for piercing into or through the body of the fish.

Fish come in various sizes and many different species. Fish filleting, in general, is a dangerous activity as it involves working in slippery and wet conditions along with mucus, which includes the intestines, blood, scales and the skin of the fish.

When using a knife of poor quality or a blade that is blunt, you increase the risks of really hurting yourself. It will usually take you a lot longer to try and fillet a fish and with the wrong knife and it becomes much harder to obtain nice pieces of fillets.

In most cases, you are probably wasting a large amount of good protein that you could have gotten out of the fish. In addition, it was probably already difficult to catch the fish in the first place.

For this reason, it becomes extremely necessary to invest in the right type of knife before you attempt to fillet fish.

  • To begin with, a fillet knife that is user-friendly will keep you safe along with a handle that not only feels comfortable in your hand but is also made from non-slip materials.
  • Secondly, the top-rated fillet knives are easier to use and control which will assist you in getting the most meat out of the fish as possible.
  • Thirdly, a fillet knife that is well-designed will assist you when it comes to improving your work efficiency, saving you effort and time when processing fish.

These are the most important advantages that the best types of fillet knives provide users with. Overall, this is an important tool when you go fishing as a fisherman.

Fillet Knife Types

The fillet knives come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and designs, which is why it is important to find out about some of the features that these tools provide.

Standard Fillet Knife

These are the regular fillet knives. They come in different textures, colors, materials, and styles. The blade shapes and styles also vary, with some users preferring the knives that feature a curve that is slight which helps with taking the skin off of a fish. The blades are durable and flexible and you can usually fillet many fish before you will need to resharpen the blade.

Salmon Slicers

This type of fillet knife is typically 9 to 12 inches in length and are mainly used to fillet salmon and other similar types of fish. This knife has a blade that is designed to expertly slice salmon into pieces that are wafer-thin. The blade comes with a rounded tip which prevents damages to the fillet fibers. The blade may be longer on this knife, yet it still very flexible.

Electrical Fillet Knives

This knife is similar when compared to the standard fillet knife, excepting that it runs off electricity and a motor. These knives have more power than the standard knives and this version has increased in popularity over the years.

Buyer’s Guide: Tips on Choosing the Best Fish Fillet Knife

As a chef, cutter, or angler, using the correct filleting knife made for fish is vital. The knives on the market range from bad to average to excellent, so it becomes important to do your research to find a knife that matches up to what you need.

This is the knife that will make the task of filleting fish much easier. So you don’t want to make the mistake of spending your money of an inferior product that fails to produce the right results.

So you may be wondering what characteristics make a knife great for filleting? Before you choose a knife there are a few considerations to keep in mind to ensure you choose a knife that offers you great value for money:

Material

This includes what the knife is made from. This will affect its overall durability, flexibility, and strength, along with how precise it fulfills its role.

Blade Material

The blade should always be made from high-quality materials which make the knife durable, sturdy, and flexible. It should also be an easy process to sharpen the knife so that it maintains a keen edge. The wrong blade is susceptible to corrosion and rust caused from exposure to water, and more particularly when you clean any of the saltwater fish. The blade should, therefore, be resistant to rust and corrosion as well.

Stainless steel is one of the more common materials used to make blades. It is durable, strong, corrosion and rust-resistant. Stainless steel is also easier to sharpen and it doesn’t stain. This type of metal handles scales, blood, and water well, and because it is resistant to rust, this makes these blades ideal for filleting saltwater fish. Other popular yet more expensive blades consist of high-carbon stainless steel. These blades are one of the easiest to sharpen.

However, it is important to note that not all blades are made equally. Some of the steel blades are an inferior quality which usually breaks or bend under pressure, they also dull easily and corrode. You need to ensure the steel construction is of high quality.

Handle Material

The handles of filleting knives are typically made from plastic, rubber, or wood. Each of these materials results in sturdy handles.

The wooden handles are usually attractive and are also comfortable to hold and use. However, wood is susceptible to absorbing odors, can become slippery, and exposure that is constant to water may cause the wood to rot. Plastic handles do not retain odors and they are hard-wearing. Rubber handles provide a superior grip.

You can choose which type of handle appeals to you the most, but it is still important to make sure it feels secure and comfortable in your hand while you are cutting while providing a secure grip to match up to your specific working environment.

Filleting Knife Styles: German Vs Japanese

The main styles of the filleting knives include the Japanese style and the German (Scandinavian) style. These knives share a number of similarities, yet there are few differences which will assist you in choosing which style suits you better.

German (Scandinavian) Style

  • These knives typically feature a double-beveled blade, which means you can sharpen either side of your blade
  • These are usually thicker blades which makes them heavier
  • There is also a larger angle to this blade which makes it more suitable for rocking-style chopping
  • The steel is usually slightly softer when compared to the Japanese style blades

Japanese Style

  • These knives typically feature a single-beveled blade, which means you can only sharpen the blade on one-side
  • The blade is thinner making the knife lighter
  • The blade has less of an angle which makes these knives suitable for chopping and producing clean slices
  • The steel used to make these blades are harder when compared to the German-style which makes these knives sharper

I personally prefer the German-style knives as they are more rugged and thicker which matches up to my environment, where I often fillet my fish outdoors in rough conditions. The Japanese blades are best suited for attention-to-detail and precise work. When I fillet many fish at once, I do not take a lot of time on every one, which means the Japanese blade does not suit my purpose. The German blades are also better for cutting and breaking through bones.

Design

The overall design of a filleting knife will determine how it will perform and how easy and comfortable it will be to use.

To fillet fish precisely the blade requires flexibility in order to move smoothly between the bones and the flesh. Thin and long blades flex easily, which is why the filleting knives feature these blades.

The straight-edge blades are suitable for filleting because they are able to achieve clean slices and precise cuts. The serrated blades are more suited to penetrate through hard scales to reach the soft meat inside. The tapered tips serve the purpose of making it easier to reach those harder to reach spaces.

The handle on a knife will determine the type of grip that the knife provides and at the same time, the grip will also affect how well you can leverage and control the knife. The handle should ideally be sturdy and thick.

It should also be made in a way that it fits comfortably and securely inside your hand. The hold should be soft but firm along with a non-slip grip. The handle should also feature ergonomic designs to lower hand fatigue. The handles that contour to your hand is the preferable choice. The characteristics such as texture will improve friction while finger grooves happen to be a nice addition to these knives.

Another design element to look out for includes the balance of weight between the handle and the blade. The correct balance will make your knife easier to handle. The full-tang will make your knife robust and provide improved leverage and control.

The folding designs are ideal for safety, transport, and storage, yet it is important to make sure the knife is is sturdy and features a good design.

Hygiene and Safety

With a blade that is razor-sharp and is exposed to bacteria all the time, the filleting knives are dangerous tools. The design should promote sanitary and safe handling.

Fish are usually slimy and slippery, especially when they have just come out of the water. Protective finger guards and finger grooves situated where the handle meets the blade can assist with protecting your fingers from getting cut when your fingers slip.

Sanitary knives will include handles which are molded correctly into place as well as sealed in order to prevent any spaces or gaps between your blade and the handle. If there are any spaces present slime, blood, and flesh can build-up in these spaces which are harder to clean. This creates the perfect environment for bacteria to breed along with pungent odors. The handle edges that are thick also help to keep the bacteria from coming into contact with either your fingers or your hands.

Handling

One of the most important parts of a fillet knife is its handle. The design and quality of handle affects the overall comfort as well as safety of the knife when handling or cleaning fish. A handle that is comfortable will allow you to get a strong grip which will make your job safer, quicker and easier.

The handle needs to not only fit well in the hands but it should also be comfortable to hold and it should be thick and sturdy. However, it should also offer a soft yet firm grip to allow you to easily maneuver through the fish. The design should be ergonomic in order to minimize the hand fatigue in case you have to fillet a lot of fish.

The material can be rubber, plastic or wood but you need to make sure that the material you choose is a slip resistant. There is a lot of water, slime and blood involved when handling a fish and it may make the knife harder to hold. An excellent fillet knife should come with a handle that makes it easy to handle fish in a variety of conditions.

Purpose

It is important for you to make sure that the knife is able to fulfil the required filleting needs. There are many different types of knives and these suit different needs. It also means that you can’t have just one knife for handling different types of fish. The choice of ideal knife will also depend on the type and size of the fish.

  • A stiffer, sharper, denser and longer blade is needed for a large fish. Such a large blade offers you the required strength and length to carry out the tougher filleting tasks. A crappie or bluegill is easier to handle with a flexible blade due to small size of the fish.
  • For saltwater fish, the best knife is one that has a long blade with enough stiffness to handle the bigger saltwater species. On the other hand, a medium-sized blade makes much more sense for handling fishes in lakes and rivers.
  • It is recommended to choose an electric fillet knife in case you want to handle large sized fish or a variety of fish indoors or for bulk filleting. An electric knife is fast and does not require you to make too much effort. Also, it’s relatively easy to change the blades in order to make different kinds of cuts.
  • If you want to buy a fillet knife for using outdoors, a manual knife is the right choice as you don’t need a power source to operate it. You also get greater control and that allows you to be much more precise when making cuts.

Size of Blade

Size of the blade determines the ease of handling a particular type of fish. These blades are available in a variety of sizes including 4 inches, 6 inches, 7.5 inches as well as 9 inches. You must be wondering about the ideal blade length for the perfect fillet knife. It depends on the size and type of fish you will be using it on. Blades of different lengths are suited for fish of different sizes and types.

A good rule of thumb is to go for a blade length that is a bit longer than the depth of the fish you are going to fillet at its widest point. This length will ensure that you need only one pass to fillet which will result in a solid and clean cut.

  • The shorter blades ranging from 4-5 inches are best suited for smaller fish such as walleye, panfish, crappie or bluegills as well as for other delicate tasks and tricky boning. Shorter length blades give you the control and flexibility required to maneuver through the flesh and bone to make precise cuts.
  • For medium-sized fish such as bass or trout, the idea length is medium size of 6 to 7.5 inches. It’s a versatile size and is regarded as a good all-purpose option.
  • Bigger sized blade with length of 8 to 9 inches are best for handling bigger fish such as salmon, tuna as well as steelhead. Such large fish require longer and stiff blades for difficult filleting tasks. These are also great for saltwater offshore fishing, fish shops as well as large-scale jobs in restaurants.

Thickness of the blade is also an important factor when it comes to handling different types of tasks. A thinner blade is going to be more flexible which is great for handling smaller fish as well as other fine works. Thicker blades are less flexible but it also makes them sturdier and stronger. For instance, blade strength is needed to handle larger fish and that’s why a thicker blade is the right choice for handling bigger fish.

Flexibility

It’s extremely important for a filleting knife and this is the reason, all the fish fillet knives have a long and thin blade that allows it to bend easily in order to allow the chef to maneuver between delicate fish bones and flesh. However, there are certain knives that offer much more flexibility.

As far as the need for flexibility or stiffness is concerned, it depends on the size and type of fish that is being handled. The stiffness or flexibility of the blade depends on the size.

For more flexible option, you will need to choose thinner, shorter and smaller blade. If the flex is too little on a shorter blade, you will find it difficult to use it properly which will affect the final result. When you are filleting small fish, it is recommended to choose shorter and thinner blades that offer more flex. Such blades are also great for delicate tasks as well as for removing the bones where flexibility is needed in order to cut tight angles and to make those precise cuts.

Blades that are longer, thicker and larger offer less flexibility but have more strength and stiffness. These shouldn’t be too flexible as too much flexibility makes them flimsy. Stiff or semi-stiff blades are the best option for filleting larger fish and tougher cutting jobs.

Sharpness

The most important part of a fish for filleting is the blade. The blade will determine the type of cut that would be made using the knife as well as the cleanliness and accuracy of the cut. The best knives are sharp and hold the edge well and remain razor-sharp.

The blade of knife needs to be so sharp that it cuts right through the fish without any jagging or tearing. Making fine cuts is extremely easy with such sharp blades and does not require you to put too much pressure. It is also recommended to regularly hone the fillet knife in order to keep it sharp. Even the sharpest knife blades are going to lose their edge without regular upkeep. It is recommended to invest in an electric fillet knife for heavy duty work.

Dealing with a Mess of Fish

When you have to deal with a lot of fish, you must be wondering how long it’s going to take clean all the fish. In such situations, it’s better to invest in an electric fillet knife. It is specifically designed to speed up the filleting process and it also helps in minimizing the efforts for fishers. It is great for avid fisherman who need to deal with a huge amount of fish in many different sizes.

  • An electric knife comes equipped with a powerful electric motor that offers the required torque and power to cut through fish fast and effectively.
  • It makes use of reciprocating blades of various lengths and it’s easy to switch the size of these blades in order to match them with the size of the fish.

Sheath of Knife

It is also an important factor when it comes to choosing the right fillet knife. Due to extreme sharpness of a fillet knife, it’s extremely easy to hurt ourselves as well as others around us. Also, it’s easy to blunt.

This is the reason, it is recommended to choose a fillet knife that comes with a sheath making it convenient for you to carry and store it and a sheath also makes it safe for users. The cheaper brands usually do not come with a good sheath and therefore, it is recommended to choose from the leading cutlery brands.

How to Fillet Fish?

Fillet Knife Care and Maintenance

Any tool will begin to lose its functionality if it is not given the proper care and maintenance and the fillet life is not different. This applies to the lower grade items and to the very best quality items as well. Because a fillet knife is not like you average kitchen knife the car it will require will also be very specific if you hope it lasts long and remains functional.

Often people make the mistake of treating their fillet knife as if it were just another kitchen knife, but they are not the same at all. A fillet knife is a special type of blade meant to withstand the attrition and damage caused by salt water and the fishy fluids they will encounter regularly. The care and attention they require to last for a long time is very individual.

So, if you hope your fillet knife works like a dream and lasts you many happy fishing adventures follow the following tips and pointers on caring for a fillet knife:

  • Plastic or Bamboo cutting boards are the best choice as these minimize the stress placed on the blade.
  • Always wash your blade by hand with warm water and soap, mild detergents are ok too.
  • Rinse the knife well and leave no residual cleaning agent traces. Very carefully and gently dry with a towel.
  • The fillet knife should be placed in its sheath in a special spot in the drawer. If your fillet blade does not have such a storage unit you can make one easily.

Now that you know how to take good care of your blade for long-lasting use and quality, let’s go over some things you should NOT do.

  • Never store the fillet blade without cleaning
  • Never store the blade wet
  • Never wash with harsh detergents
  • Never wash with very hot water
  • Never place in Dishwasher
  • Never leave to soak in the sink
  • Never store loosely with other utensils

Safety Tips on Filleting Fish

Now that we have discussed proper care and maintenance that ensures no harm befalls your blade, we can discuss a few safety lessons that will keep you the user safe while using these razor sharp implements. Without their razor edge and acute tip, the fillet knife is less than functional, without special care it is easy to injure yourself very badly with this knife.

A freshly caught fish can be very slippery and hard to grip, they are also loaded with a wide variety of microbes and bacteria. If you were to receive a minor cut while filleting the fish it is easy to also sustain a powerful and painful infection. Bones and scales are also very sharp and potentially hazardous.

Considering all the potential dangers of this task, it is important to follow these rules when cleaning fish to avoid injury.

  • Always cut with a motion that moves away from yourself and never towards.
  • Wear a proper glove on your handling hand for good grip. Waterproof gloves provide good grip for holding the fish.
  • Proper non-slip boots reduce the potential for accidents with a firm stance. Using an appropriate apron will protect your clothes from fish fluids.
  • Keep your knife hand clean to avoid slipping. Keep a rag on hand to keep the handle clean too.
  • Always use a non-slip cutting board.
  • Clean cutting board thoroughly before preparing new fish.
  • Practice cutting the fish fromalong the spine from head to tail. This helps you avoid colliding with the gill plates.
  • Cut carefully and do not rush. Filleting is an art you can’t rush art especially when defining your personal technique.

How to Sharpen a Fillet Knife?

The value of a quality fillet knife is in its capacity to make precise and clean cuts. If it is not kept perfectly sharp it will soon lose this capacity. To accomplish this requires a working knowledge on producing the fillet knife’s distinctly sharp blade.

When it comes to filleting mats and fish your fillet knife must have a sharp edge, and there are few ways to sharpen a fillet blade just right. The tool you use to sharpen your knife should be chosen for convenience and proper function.

Manual Methods: Sharpening Stones

If you are in the great outdoors, a sharpening stone is the most convenient solution. Whetstones and diamond stones are available and very practical options.

The best advantage of a sharpening stone for creating the perfect edge is the level of control you will have over the blade and stone.

The downside with the manual method is that it does take some time and experience to master and doing it all wrong can potentially ruin your blade. This is why it is a good idea to practice this skill on cheaper knives before attempting to sharpen a better quality expensive knife.

The most important thing to achieve will be getting the right angle and developing consistency of motion. Imagine you are slicing a block of butter this angle will be perfect. The handle should be held a little higher than the stone and the motion needs to be smooth even and fluid. Glide the blade lightly and smoothly back and forth on both sides until the blade has the edge it needs for proper use.

The Electric Method

For speed and convenience the electric blade sharpener offers a technological shortcut to a decent edge. There are generally two settings on the average electric blade sharpener. The first is a grinder setting that places an edge of your knife through cutting away steel. The other setting is to hone the blade which ads the protective finish to the ground edge.

Of course, even a properly honed edge will still need to be sharpened eventually.

FAQs

When is a Fillet Knife Necessary?

For filleting fish or any type of meat, there is nothing like a filleting knife. The reason is that the long thin blade allows for exceptional control in creating fine cuts. Even the amateur cook can create a perfect cut of even if they lack the skills of an experienced chef. Filleting knives are an important part of any kitchen setup but they also have extensive use in an outdoor setting. Other important uses include trimming fats and removing the webbing in small game, a filleting knife can also be used to remove fish scales. Filleting in knives can also be used on fruits to salvage all good parts from a partially rotting fruit and this is god for making preserves and fruit compote of all types.

What is Considered Good Material?

The knife with the best materials is the one that is sturdy and durable in construction and contains special features that protect the blade from odors, stains and corrosion. Because it can be used in many situations, the filleting knife should also be resistant to water and saltwater damage.

The blade should be made of a top-quality metal that is strong but still very flexible. Good quality metals retain their edge well and are still very easy to sharpen. High-grade steel and high-carbon steel are both materials for the finest filleting blades.

When it comes to the handle you want something with a good strong grip and sturdy feel. This could be wood, rubber or plastic. The thing about wood, it can be slippery and smelly if not cleaned and serviced regularly. Plastic is highly durable and rubber is a nice grip.

Is It Safe to Put a Fillet Knife in the Dishwasher?

Even though many fillet knives say dishwasher safe, there are some reasons not to place them in the dishwasher with the rest of the dishes. If you hope to keep your fillet knife in good condition, there are some things to consider.

In an average dishwasher there are high heats and powerful detergents that can work against the adhesives holding the constructions together. Eventually this will deteriorate the knife’s structural integrity. The high velocity spray may also alter the blades precision dimensions and form ever so slightly.

The best way to clean and care for your fillet blade is to wash it carefully by hand with soap and water and then rinse them carefully before drying them out with a soft towel. Soaking for long periods of time is not advised or even necessary.

Why is the Handle Important?

The slightest flick of the wrist makes all the difference between a fillet blade in the hands of a master or an amateur and the special handling of a fillet knife comes down to the perfection of the handle. It is very important that the handle fit your hand and doesn’t slip or cause blisters because of abrasive contact zones. One more thing that many people don’t expect is how the materials in the handle will soak up bacteria and develop awful smells.

Do All Sets Come with Accessories?

No, but there are many benefits to looking for a set that does come complete. A set that comes complete with sharpening stone will eliminate the need to find and select a good option. Which is nice especially if you haven’t shopped for this before. The sheath is an equally important part of keeping the fillet knife in good condition and will have to be made if one is not supplied with the fillet knife. If your fillet knife will be used in the great outdoors, the need for a top quality sheath is absolute.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a fisherman, a fishmonger or a chef who likes to prepare meats and fish dishes, a fillet knife is essential to your complete set of tools and knives. Filleting a fish quickly and saving every scrap of meat available is best done with a proper fish knife.

Some important considerations when selecting the best fillet knife for you will be the type of fish you will be filleting and the situation you will be working in. Choose the one that suits your needs the best.

A top-quality filleting knife can last many years if properly maintained and it is not uncommon for a user to develop a special affinity for their knife. By taking good care of the knife with proper cleaning, sharpening and storage methods as described in this reading longevity is assured.

References

Best Fillet Knives ( Top 3 Picks )

Product
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife, Black
Professional's Choice
DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (6.5" Boning & Fillet)
Best Value
Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch), Slicer, 7-1/2-1,
Image
Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife, Black
DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (6.5" Boning & Fillet)
Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch), Slicer, 7-1/2-1,
Price
$19.39
$69.71
$12.78
Prime
Our Rating
Editor’s Choice & Best Seller
Product
Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife, Black
Image
Mercer Culinary M23860 Millennia 8-Inch Narrow Fillet Knife, Black
Price
$19.39
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Professional's Choice
Product
DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (6.5" Boning & Fillet)
Image
DALSTRONG Phantom Series - Japanese High-Carbon - AUS8 Steel - Sheath (6.5" Boning & Fillet)
Price
$69.71
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon
Best Value
Product
Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch), Slicer, 7-1/2-1,
Image
Chicago Cutlery 78SP Walnut Tradition High Carbon Blade Slicing/Fillet Knife (7-1/2 Inch), Slicer, 7-1/2-1,
Price
$12.78
Prime
Our Rating
Read Full Review
View on Amazon

Last update on 2019-10-04 / Rating by Author / Affiliate links, Images, Descriptions & Price from Amazon Product Advertising API

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