A fillet knife is an underrated tool that all anglers should have easily accessible on any fishing trip. Sometimes, purchasing a new fishing knife can seem intimidating with all of the available options out on the market today. But don’t you worry, we will go over what features are the most important. Whether you’re looking for a tool to fillet fish or an extra bait knife, we will help you find the right product for your needs. So, follow along to see what we deem the best fillet knives for fishing.

Hook and Bullet Top 5 Best Fillet Knives for 2021

Gerber Controller Saltwater Fillet Knife - The Best Fillet Knives for FishingGerber Controller Saltwater Fillet Knife
  • Blade length: 6-10
  • Blade material: Alloy steel
  • Handle material: Plastic
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KastKing G4116 German Steel Folding Fillet Knife - The Best Fillet Knives for FishingKastKing G4116 German Steel Folding Fillet Knife
  • Blade length: 7.5
  • Blade material: Stainless steel
  • Handle material: Thermoplastic elastomers
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Bubba Pro Series Electric Fillet Knife - The Best Fillet Knives for FishingBubba Pro Series Electric Fillet Knife
  • Blade length: 7-12
  • Blade material: Carbon stainless steel
  • Handle material: Aluminum
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Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife - The Best Fillet Knives for FishingRapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife
  • Blade length: 7.5
  • Blade material: Stainless steel
  • Handle material: Blended
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Bubba Tapered Flex Fillet Knife - The Best Fillet Knives for FishingBubba Tapered Flex Fillet Knife
  • Blade length: 7-9
  • Blade material: Stainless steel
  • Handle material: Non-slip grip
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Why Can You Trust Us?

As an avid angler and gear junkie, I have quite a collection of fishing knives of all shapes and sizes. For instance, I have used various blade types, and I’ve wielded knives with non-slip grips or wooden handles. I have even experienced the misfortune of buying both electric and non-electric fillet knives that weren’t worth their price tag.

Thus, I want to share with you what features are essential to get the most out of your purchase. Now, let’s get started by looking at our favorite saltwater fishing knife.

Best Fillet Knife for Saltwater Fish

    Gerber Controller Saltwater Fillet Knife
    The Gerber Controller is a saltwater fillet knife that features a HydroTread grip, with a blade available in a 6, 8, and 10-inch length.

Why We Like It: First, the Gerber Controller is built explicitly for saltwater use. So, you can be confident the alloy-steel blade is corrosive resistant and tough. Second, the grip on this knife is insane! For instance, the handle is comfortable, has a lot of traction, and the trigger grip feels natural in your hand. Plus, you can make some pretty precise cuts with this blade.

Also, we like the various size options of the Controller, so you could virtually use it to fillet any species. In addition, this knife is both cosmetically pleasing, and it looks like it can withstand some abuse.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers looking for a high-quality fillet knife for saltwater use.

Best Folding Fillet Knife

    KastKing G4116 German Steel Folding Fillet Knife
    The G4118 KastKing folding fillet knife features a corrosive-resistant 6 ½-inch German stainless steel blade that’s durable and flexible.

Why We Like It: First off, the handle on the KastKing knife feels great in your hand; it’s lightweight and features a non-slip grip. In addition, the blade locks out smoothly and easily with each use. For example, the locking mechanism is sturdy, so it performs as well as a fixed blade. Then, when you close the knife, it is compact and ready to be stored safely in your tackle box. For instance, the KastKing has a folded length of 7 ½-inches and an overall length of 13 ½-inches.

Also, the titanium bonded finish is both sleek and functional. So, you could use this knife in saltwater worry-free.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers looking for a compact fillet knife for freshwater and saltwater use.

Best Fillet Knife for Walleye, Catfish, and Carp

    Bubba Pro Series Electric Fillet Knife
    The Bubba Pro Series electric fillet knife is rechargeable. It comes with various sized Bubba blades, a wall charger, a power charging station, two lithium-ion batteries, and a carrying case.

Why We Like It: The Pro Series Bubba fillet knife is a high-value kit that is well worth its hefty price tag. First, we love how this Bubba model is cordless, so you don’t have to wrestle with the cord while you cut. Second, we like how this set comes with multiple blades. For example, this knife comes with four blades sizes ranging from 7-inches to 12-inches in length. Plus, the 9 and 12-inch blades are stiffer, so you can cut through fish with tougher skin or scales.

Furthermore, Bubba’s electric fillet knife is fully rechargeable and comes with additional batteries. The two included batteries are excellent because you can easily swap them out while you’re on the water. In addition, this knife features a convenient battery life indicator that way you know when it’s time to change it.

Who Should Buy It: Avid anglers looking for a reliable cordless electric fillet knife for fish species of all sizes.

Best Fillet Knife for Panfish

    Rapala Heavy Duty Electric Fillet Knife
    This heavy-duty corded electric fillet knife by Rapala is a great value buy. The Rapala knife features sharp, dual reciprocating stainless steel blades.

Why We Like It: The Rapala heavy-duty electric fillet knife is a total crappie slayer! Its 7 ½-inch blade is the perfect length for panfish, big or small. In addition, the motor on this knife is a workhorse and won’t overheat after continuous use. For instance, with its advanced airflow body design, you’ll be able to clean an entire daily limit of crappie.

Additionally, this product is durable and insured with Rapala’s one-year warranty. Plus, the serrated blades are entirely dishwasher safe, making for easy cleanup. Furthermore, other design features of this Rapala knife are its comfortable grip and 8-foot long cord. For example, the grip on this knife makes it easy to handle so that you can make more precise cuts. Then, the long power cord helps keep it out of the way while you’re working.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers looking for an affordable electric fillet knife for small to medium-sized fish.

Best Fillet Knife for Trout

    Bubba Tapered Flex Fillet Knife
    The Bubba Tapered Flex fillet fishing knife features a sharp stainless steel blade available in a 7-inch or 9-inch length.

Why We Like It: Bubba fillet knives are well-trusted amongst the angler community for a reason: one, they’re high-quality with an elegant design. Two, the safety features on their knives are top-notch. For instance, the handle has a non-slip grip, a trigger grip, and finger guards to keep you from accidental harm.

Then, the Bubba blade is durable yet flexible. For example, the knife’s blade is coated with a rust-resistant titanium nitride, making it optimal for saltwater use. Also, the blade is skinny and flexible, so you can quickly work it through a trout’s pesky Y-bones.

Who Should Buy It: Anglers looking for a quality, precise fillet knife for medium-sized species or larger fish.

Features To Look For In a Fillet Knife

Now, let’s examine what features to pay attention to before purchasing a new fillet fishing knife.

Flexible Blade

A person cleaning a fish with a fillet knife

Image Credit: Bubba Store on Amazon

First, you want to ensure it has a flexible blade. Flexibility is critical for precise cutting, and it’ll help you work around the bones of the fish effortlessly. Beware, some boning knives get marketed as fillet knives; however, these blades are heavier and more rigid. Also, a boning knife is better for cutting through tough skin, ligaments and removing meat from heavy bones.

Blade Material

Gerber Controller fillet knives laid out on a table.

Image Credit: Gerber Gear on Amazon.

Next, you want to examine the blade material and size of your fish fillet knife. The most common materials you’ll likely see on the market are stainless steel and carbon steel. Here is a quick reference of how these two differ:

  • Stainless Steel: is the most common material, and it’s affordable, durable, easy to sharpen, and corrosive resistant. Consequently, making it more superior for saltwater use.
  • Carbon Steel: is stronger and more expensive than stainless steel; however, it is more likely to corrode. In comparison, carbon steel is a quality blade that’s easy to sharpen, and it’ll hold a sharp edge longer.

Blade Size

The KastKing foldable fillet knife against a white background.

Image Credit: KastKing on Amazon

Now that you understand the importance of a blade’s material let’s discuss its size. First, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all length; however, a 7 ½-inch blade is an excellent middle ground. Even so, the best way to pick what length blade to purchase is to match it with the type of fish you’ll catch. Thus, the rule of thumb is you want the length of the blade to cover the width of the fish you’re filleting.

Grip Handle Material and Shape

A person descaling a fish with a bubba fillet knife.

Image Credit: Bubba Store on Amazon

Most importantly, regardless of what handle material you end up choosing, you want to ensure it has a non-slip grip. Consequently, using a knife without a non-slip grip could lead to injury since the blade could shift more easily. Furthermore, the shape of the handle should be comfortable in your hand. For example, having a knife with a bulk decorative handle could likely hinder your precision.

Electric Knives Versus Non-Electric

A person changing the battery on a Bubba electric fillet knife.

Image Credit: Bubba Store on Amazon

Now, let’s compare electric knives to traditional ones. The main reasons most anglers don’t like electric knives are:

  • You need to charge them or plug them in every use
  • Some overheat after continuous use
  • They believe electric knives aren’t as accurate
  • They may require more maintenance
  • Electric fillet knives can be more expensive

However, there are also some pluses to using an electric fillet knife like:

  • They’re powerful
  • They require less effort
  • You can fillet a larger quantity of fish quicker
  • It’s easier to cut into tough fish or scales

Therefore, there are both drawbacks and benefits to using an electric fillet knife over a traditional one. Ultimately, only you can decide which one would better suit your needs and lifestyle.

Single-Piece Versus Folding

A person holding a fillet knife with water in the background.

Image Credit: Gerber Gear on Amazon

Then, many anglers also have difficulty deciding between buying a single-piece blade over a folding one. The most significant advantage of a folding fillet knife is they’re compact and easy to store. Plus, some anglers believe they’re safer to transport since the blade isn’t exposed.

However, despite these benefits of a folding blade, many anglers still prefer a single piece. For instance, most believe single-piece knives are overall more durable and outperform folding ones.

Serrated Edge Versus Plain Edge

Lastly, it would help if you decided whether or not you should use a serrated blade over a plain edge. The main benefits of serrated blades are:

  • They require less sharpening
  • You can cut through scales and tough skin easier
  • They are more durable than a plain edge.

Yet, there are also drawbacks to using a serrated blade like:

  • You need to buy a special sharpener for it
  • They don’t cut as clean as a plain edge
  • It’s not very versatile

How We Picked

All of the fillet knives that we chose for this product roundup had to meet specific criteria. We understand that these knives will be seeing a lot of use and abuse. Therefore, all of these knives are durable with corrosive-resistant blades. Then, we wanted to ensure these knives have essential safety features such as non-slip grips or safety guards.

Lastly, another critical component these knives had to have was positive consumer feedback. Here at Hook and Bullet, we want to recommend only the best gear to our readership.

The Best Fillet Fishing Knife for 2021 – Our Top Pick

While all of these fillet knives are capable of getting the job done, there is one product that stuck out to us the most: the Bubba Li-ion Pro Series Electric Fillet Knife. Many anglers rave about this Bubba electric fillet knife; seriously, it is hard to find a bad review on this model. We like the Bubba because it is high-quality, rechargeable, durable, and comes in various blade sizes.

Do you need help selecting more gear for your tackle box? Then, you might be interested in our article on the best tackle box for beginners. Did you find this article helpful? If so, please consider giving it a share on your social media account.