Best Fillet Knives for Easy Fish Filleting and Boning

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I've reviewed seven of the best fillet knives, and I've found a favorite. The KastKing Fillet Knife is my top choice.

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Fresh fish is a delicious staple of a healthy diet. But preparing fish requires precision cuts that can remove bones without ruining the delicate flesh.

A good fillet knife is a great tool for both fishermen and home cooks. But choosing the right one can be tricky.

I like the KastKing Fillet Knife for its performance and practicality. It’s a good fillet knife that provides excellent value.

That being said, it’s not the only fillet knife on the block. Other fillet knives have different features, and you might even prefer electric knives. Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a good knife to match your needs.

Which fillet knife is the best for you? Read on to find out.

Best Fish Fillet Knife Product Reviews

KastKing Fillet Knife and Bait Knife: Overall Best Fillet Knife

KastKing is an internet-based company that sells everything you need for fishing, from rods and reels to line and tackle.

The KastKing Fillet Knife features a 6-inch G4116 German stainless steel blade (15.2 cm). There are several other blade lengths available, depending on your needs.

This type of steel is tough, corrosion- and rust-resistant, and flexible for easy maneuvering.

The blade has a beautiful black finish and can withstand saltwater, fresh water, and humid environments. While it has decent edge retention for a stainless steel blade, you will need to sharpen it regularly.

This Kast King filet knife is razor-sharp but can follow the natural contours for perfect fillets.

The non-slip polymer grip is comfortable and ensures your safety while filleting fish and cutting through steak and game. The handles also clean up easily.

Each knife contains a lightweight, durable sheath to protect the blade and keep you safe in between filleting jobs.

The synthetic sheath features a unique design that locks the handle in for safety but still removes it easily when needed. The open slots allow water to drain, keeping your knife dry and sharp.

KastKing offers a warranty on all fishing tools so you can have peace of mind.

Buyers were pleased with the KastKing filet knife. They loved the ease of use and the non-slip ergonomic grip. They found the blade to have great value, being more affordable than other brands.

Some customers had to sharpen their blades right out of the box, while others said their blades were razor-sharp from the get-go.

Either way, everyone agreed that the blade sharpens easily and holds an edge for a long time.

Several mentioned that the handle material is soft and comfortable but absorbs odors if not properly cleaned.

I recommend hand washing the blade with warm, soapy water as soon after using it as possible. Let it air out, as well.

Pros

  • Easy to sharpen
  • Flexible stainless steel blade
  • Ergonomic handle, soft grip
  • Protective sheath
  • Affordable, good value

Cons

  • Requires frequent sharpening
  • Handle material absorbs odor

Wild Fish 6-Piece Fish Fillet Set: Best Budget Fillet Knives (Set)

If one filleting knife isn’t enough, why not get a set? This Wild Fish 6-Piece Fish Fillet Knife Set includes the following blades:

  • 7.5-inch fillet knife (19 cm)
  • 6-inch fillet knife (15.2 cm)
  • 5-inch serrated utility knife (12.7 cm)

A honing steel and cutting board complete the set, all encased in a convenient, impact-resistant carrying case.

The knives are constructed with 420 stainless steel blades. 420 stainless is a softer steel that’s easy to sharpen and resists staining and corrosion. It also makes for a flexible blade, which is necessary for filleting fish.

However, it doesn’t hold an edge for long, so you’ll need to sharpen these knives frequently. The set’s honing steel will help you keep a sharp edge on your blades.

Customers complained about how quickly the blade dulled. Some said it wasn’t worth it with how much they had to sharpen their knives.

All of the knives in this set feature a patented sure-grip soft rubberized handle that’s comfortable and non-slip, even when wet. The handles have a pre-formed hole to hang for easy access.

Buyers confirmed that the handles are comfortable and safe to use, even when wet.

While it’s not the absolute sharpest, the set is affordable and easy on the budget. If you’re in the market for a budget fillet knife set, the Wild Life set is for you.

Pros

  • A complete set
  • Flexible blades, stainless steel
  • Non-slip grip handles
  • Includes cutting board & honing steel
  • Includes convenient carrying case

Cons

  • Not as sharp
  • Poor edge retention

Fishing & Bait Knife: Best Budget Fillet Knife (Single Knife)

This Fishing & Bait Knife has a blade length of 7 inches (17.8 cm), long enough to easily fillet fish. It comes in a choice of a silver blade with a black handle or a black blade with a red handle.

This knife has a thin blade made of G4116 German stainless steel. It resists rust, staining, and corrosion while being flexible enough to easily fillet an entire fish. The curved tip and partially-serrated blade help with precise cuts.

The rubber handle features an ergonomic design for comfort, while the textured material prevents the knife from slipping while cleaning fish.

The holes at the end of the handle make it easy to hang the blade for easy access. The lightweight sheath is vented to allow water to drain and keep your knives in tip-top shape.

On top of it all, this fillet knife is highly affordable.

Customers were happy with the fillet knife. They found it easy to hold and maneuver, and they liked the sharp blade and the performance.

This might not have the long-lasting durability of higher-end brands, but it does have a lot of value. If you want a quality fillet knife on a tight budget, or if you’re new to fillet knives, this is the best fillet knife for you.

Pros

  • Flexible blade
  • Comfortable handle
  • Rust-resistant
  • Sharp edge

Cons

  • Needs frequent sharpening
  • Very thin blade

TUO Boning Knife: Runner-Up Best Fillet Knife

Tuo has a reputation for making high-quality knives. The TUO Boning Knife is no different. This high-quality fillet knife has a blade length of 7 inches (17.8 cm), perfect for fish-n-fillet tasks.

This boning knife has a long, narrow blade with a slight curve to glide cleanly along the bone. The flexibility makes it easy to navigate small bones.

The quality blade is made from G4116 German stainless steel, which is known for its resistance to rust and corrosion. It’s also easy to sharpen, which is important for fishing fillet knives.

The steel is processed with a high-tech vacuum heat treatment for increased strength, durability, and performance.

Instead of a rubberized handle, this TUO fillet knife has a full-tang handle made of Pakkawood. This composite is sanitary and resists cracking. Not to mention it’s beautiful.

The customer reviews were excellent. They were impressed with the knife’s ability to make quick work of filleting fish and other jobs. Buyers also were happy with the weight and balance of the fillet knife.

Even though they loved the performance, there were a couple of drawbacks. Several buyers commented on how the handle gets slippery when wet, which frequently happens when filleting.

Secondly, they also were disappointed at the lack of a protective sheath. It does come packaged in a decorative box, but that’s not much use for an outdoor fishing trip. A sheath would protect the blade and your fingers from damage.

Despite those drawbacks, people had glowing reviews for the TUO knife. This is a quality knife that deserves a second look.

Pros

  • High-quality steel blade
  • Flexible, good for maneuvering around bones
  • Beautiful Pakkawood handle
  • Sharpens easily
  • Durable, sanitary
  • Well-balanced

Cons

  • Handle gets slippery when wet
  • Doesn’t include a sheath

Shun Premier Boning & Fillet Knife: Best Splurge Fillet Knife

Shun is known for producing some of the best Japanese knives on the market. This Shun Premier Boning & Fillet Knife is an example of Shun’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship.

The Shun fillet knife has a 6-inch blade (15.2 cm), which is in the medium range for standard fillet knives.

It has a razor-sharp edge, and the narrow and slightly curved blade gets close to the bone and cuts fibrous tissue with ease.

The blade features a signature hammered finish (“tsuchime”), allowing this fillet kitchen knife to glide through meat and fish fillets without food sticking to the blade.

This fillet knife is constructed with Shun’s VG-MAX cutting core with 68 layers of Damascus cladding. It’s not only beautiful but also corrosion-resistant, wear-resistant, and durable.

The walnut-finished, contoured Pakkawood handle resists moisture. It’s comfortable and offers precise control.

Perhaps the distinguishing characteristic of this fillet knife and other Shun knives is the craftsmanship. Each knife is handcrafted by highly skilled artisans in Japan to produce blades of superb beauty and quality.

Customers raved about the quality of this fillet knife. They loved the super sharp edge, the beautiful hammered look, and the extra sharp tip for piercing hide and fish skin.

This is the best fillet knife in terms of quality and reviews, but it’s also by far the most expensive blade. You’ll need plenty of flexibility in your budget for this fillet knife.

However, if you want the best fillet knife and are willing to spend the money, it’s worth it.

Pros

  • Damascus cladding for extra strength
  • Razor-sharp blade
  • Beautiful hammered finish
  • Pakkawood handle resists moisture
  • Comfortable and ensures proper grip

Cons

  • Very expensive

Rapala Electric Fillet Knife: Best Budget Electric Fillet Knife

If you prefer something with a little more power behind it, you might consider an electric knife. This Rapala Electric Fillet Knife provides three times the power of standard fillet knives.

Not only that, but the Rapala provides double the speed. The two serrated blades work in tandem to efficiently and cleanly remove bones and make precise cuts. Here’s how that works:

The two reciprocating blades pull and push alternatively. Then they switch at rapid speed, creating a clean cut through the fish. You can easily make fast work of walleye, salmon, trout, and other large fish.

The blades are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. Plus, the comfortable, relaxed grip provides fatigue-free filleting.

The quiet, long-lasting motor allows you to cut without hurting your ears. The vibration is dampened through the custom advanced air flow body design.

The 8-foot power cord allows you plenty of reach for working around a table or in a kitchen.

Even though this electric fillet knife is more expensive than a non-electric version, it’s reasonable and affordable for an electric model.

Buyers were happy with the Rapala electric fillet knife. They were able to use it for a variety of meat and fish. They found it to have good power and save time.

Several buyers did complain that the blades are difficult to remove. They had trouble when cleaning or replacing the knives for that reason.

Despite that, the Rapala is great if you have a large quantity of fish to fillet or game to dress. It’s my top pick as a budget-friendly electric fillet knife.

Pros

  • Double serrated blades
  • Quiet motor
  • Long power cord
  • Dishwasher-safe blades
  • Relaxed grip body

Cons

  • Blades are difficult to remove

Bubba Pro Series Electric Fillet Knife: Best Splurge Electric Fillet Knife

Bubba produces a variety of blade styles for the outdoorsman. Bubba knives are made with high-quality materials. The Bubba Pro Series Electric Fillet Knife comes with the following blades:

  • 7-inch e-flex blade (17.8 cm)
  • 9-inch e-flex blade (23 cm)
  • 9-inch e-stiff blade (23 cm)
  • 12-inch e-stiff blade (30 cm)

It also includes a wall charger, two lithium-ion batteries, an 8.5-inch handle (22 cm), and a premium hard-sided case for easy storage.

The trigger grip is non-slip and ergonomic for comfort. You can safely use the handle without worry, thanks to the trigger guard.

The durable aluminum alloy housing has a heavy-duty drive system for optimal output. The dual-rivet blade design is coated in tin stainless.

The blades are removable for cleaning and the handle sports an LED battery life indicator to ensure you always have a working knife.

The brushless motor increases the power for long-lasting performance. Buyers were happy to have a cordless knife that they could use away from an outlet.

Customers were also wowed by the extremely sharp blades. They were able to fillet both freshwater and saltwater fish.

Some said it takes some getting used to, in terms of the weight and handling. But once you get over the learning curve, there’s not stopping you.

Buyers also enjoyed the versatility of this knife. They could take it, along with their tackle box, on the boat, while others used it in the kitchen. No outlet is required, so it can go almost anywhere.

They also enjoyed the carrying case. It can take a beating without damaging the knife or falling open, so you don’t have to worry about carrying it along on a fishing trip.

The biggest drawback is the price. It’s quite expensive, and it might be a little much for the average budget. But if you want something versatile and efficient, it’s tough to beat the Bubba Electric Fillet Knife.

Pros

  • Sturdy, durable
  • 4 different blades
  • Super sharp
  • Doesn’t require an outlet
  • Includes a nice storage case

Cons

  • Very expensive

Buying Guide: Best Fillet Knives

Two slices of fresh salmon on a baking sheet

What to Look for in a Fillet Knife

Blade Material

The best fillet knife is made from either carbon steel or stainless. The higher the carbon content, the harder the blade and the more susceptible to rust. The lower the carbon content, the softer the steel, and the more resistant to rust.

I prefer stainless because it has more give to it, which is suited for gliding through fish and meat. The downside, however, is that stainless won’t hold an edge like carbon steel. You’ll have to sharpen it more frequently.

But the good news is that stainless is easier to sharpen than a high-carbon stainless variety.

Blade Length

What size fillet knife is best?

The right blade lengths depend on the type of fish you’re filleting. As a general rule, boning knives or fillet knives should be at least 2 inches (5 cm) longer than the fish you’re filleting.

Most fillet knives range in size from 4 inches (10.2 cm) to 10 inches (25.4 cm). Shorter fillet knives are suited for smaller fish like trout, perch, or mackerel.

Medium to long fish fillet knives are perfect for fish like salmon, trout, or catfish. If you’re filleting a large fish like tuna, codfish, or halibut, you might need a longer blade.

All the knives on my list have anywhere from a 6-inch to a 9-inch blade (15.2 to 23 cm). These knives can handle most fish-n-fillet tasks.

Flexible Blade

The quality of a fillet knife depends directly on the quality of the blade. Fillet blades should be flexible enough to maneuver around small bones in fish without tearing the flesh.

A flexible fillet knife will most often be made with stainless steel. While high-carbon steel is popular for other knives, the fillet knife needs softer steel with some bend to it.

Fishing fillet knives are great because they are so tough, tensile, and rust-resistant. However, they won’t hold an edge as long as other knives. You must sharpen a fillet knife regularly to get the best performance.

Electric vs. Manual

Fillet knives come in two broad categories: electric and manual. Manual knives are less expensive and offer greater flexibility for more delicate work. They also don’t require electricity, making them great for fishing trips.

Electric fillet knives, on the other hand, are more efficient, resulting in less wasted meat. They’re easy to use and don’t dull as quickly as traditional fillet knives.

They’re convenient and great for filleting larger quantities of fish. But electric fillet knives are more expensive and require an electrical outlet to use.

In the end, it depends on your preferences and specific needs.

How to Use a Fillet Knife

The best fillet knives are sharp and easy to glide through meat and fish. However, if you’re new to fillet knives, you may need to learn how to use them properly.

While the method might vary, depending on the fish, filleting is a fairly simple process once you get the hang of it.

For example, to fillet a rainbow trout, follow these easy steps:

  1. Place fish on board. Use a specialty fillet board to clamp the fish down or a cutting board.
  2. Cut at a 45° angle behind the head toward the mouth, until you reach the backbone.
  3. Once you reach the backbone, turn the knife sideways toward the back and cut down the backbone.
  4. Turn the fish over. Repeat the process.

To watch this process in action, watch this short video from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department:

For electric knives, watch as these guys explain how to use an electric knife to fillet a fish:

Best Fishing Fillet Knife: Final Verdict

Ready to start preparing delicious fresh and saltwater fish? Grab a KastKing Fillet Knife. It’s a quality knife that’s comfortable, sharp, and high-performing.

If you want an electric option and can splurge, I’d get the Bubba Electric Fillet Knife