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Filleting fish takes precision and practice to do it properly and effectively. There’s a lot that goes into it. But all the practice in the world won’t make a dent if you have a bad knife.
It’s vital that you invest in the best fillet knife possible. You need one that has just the right amount of preferred flex, the right size blade, and a handle with a great grip.
We’ve rounded up 10 of the very best so you can make the right choice. Be sure to read our handy buyer’s guide after the reviews. It will help you in picking out the right blade for your needs.
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While they’re new to the game, Dalstrong’s Phantom blew our socks off with its quality and durability. It’s a pleasure to hold and feels great using it.
Coming in at a close second was the Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet. It’s been around for years and has sold over 40 million units thanks to its solid design.
Those aren’t the only impressive blades, though. The rest of them are great for their own reasons. Read on to find out why.
Although Dalstrong is a newer knife manufacturer, you can tell they love what they do. A lot of work goes into crafting a quality blade, and Dalstrong delivers.
More and more chefs are turning to Dalstrong for their cutlery needs. They offer innovative designs and high-quality blades.
Their Phantom Fillet knife is elegant and perfectly balanced. The blade is razor-sharp and gives you exceptional precision.
It is both flexible and narrow, allowing you to cut around bones with ease. This enables you to save the best meats with minimal waste.
In making this fine knife, Dalstrong cools the blade with liquid nitrogen. This makes it harder and more durable than ever. It’s tapered to give you minimal drag and even less resistance.
Expert craftsmen are employed to painstakingly hone the blade down to 13° to 15°. This results in one agile knife.
Ice-tempered, high-carbon, Japanese AUS-8 steel is used with 58+ Rockwell hardness. You get insane sharpness and high edge retention. Dalstrong engraves the blade to add further character and hand-polishes the spine.
The handle is made of rich Spanish pakkawood. It is hand-polished and laminated for maximum durability. This gives you the perfect grip as your palm rests firmly on the handle.
Dalstrong stands behind their knives by giving you a lifetime warranty against any defects.
At just 5.8 ounces, the Dalstrong Phantom is easy to wield. The sharpness makes cutting meat effortless.
Rapala has a pretty unique knife here. It’s inexpensive yet looks classy. This is due to the leather sheath and wooden handle.
The blade is also engraved, further adding to its beauty. This knife is crafted by famous Finnish cutler Marttiini. They have been making Rapala’s knives for over 50 years. You simply can’t get a better knife for the price.
But you don’t have to take our word for it. Rapala has sold over 40 million of these knives to date. It’s used by more fishermen than any other fillet knife in the world. If that doesn’t convince you that it’s a great bargain, nothing will.
It has a nice progressive taper, it’s flexible, and it’s made from European stainless steel. A durable classic birch handle gives you a comfortable and confident grip.
A fine leather sheath houses the knife when not in use. A belt loop lets you keep it at your side at all times. And once you learn of its fine cutting ability, you’ll always want it with you.
The blade is razor-sharp, making filleting fish much less of a chore. It cuts through scales and tenderly slices off meat as you glide around the bone.
To keep your blade sharp, a single-stage sharpener is included.
Quality, look, feel, and design. All this goes hand-in-hand to deliver an excellent filleting knife. Rapala has years of history to back them up. This knife is world-renowned and for good reason. And really, can 40 million people be wrong?
KastKing delivers a sharp and durable fillet knife at a very friendly price. This is truly an impressive blade.
KastKing uses premium, razor-sharp G4116 German stainless steel with a black finish. You get a knife that stays sharp longer by maintaining its edge throughout use.
It’s perfect for both fresh and saltwater applications. You can cut baits, fillet fish, and steak large game fish. You can trim fish right off the bone with ease.
KastKing offers this knife in six-, seven-, or nine-inch blades. The curved form adds flexibility for greater precision and control. Whether you’re cutting meat, poultry, or fish, you get the same level of filleting every time.
The handle has a slip-resistant, super polymer grip. This gives you a comfortable and safe grip. A sheath is included to protect the blade when you’re finished filleting. It is designed to lock the knife in place, adding to its safety.
With such a high-quality knife, you’d expect a high price to along with it. Surprisingly, KastKing offers this blade for less than $30, making it one of the better values out there in the cutlery world.
This knife is so easy to use that many who have bought it find themselves using it for more than just filleting. It’s so sharp and flexible that you’ll want to use it for everything.
Huntsman Outdoors runs their knives through several outdoor tests to ensure that they will withstand tough use.
Their curved blades are durable, rust-resistant, and sharp as can be. This makes them great for fishing and hunting.
The blade’s edge is protected by a sheath when not in use, ensuring it stays sharper longer. The sheath has vents that help it to dry out and prevent moisture. A tough, slip-resistant rubber grip gives you safe and total control over the knife.
This makes a great knife for boning meat, skinning deer, filleting fish, and more. You get a 30-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like it, and the knife is protected by a one-year warranty.
You get a high-quality blade for an outstanding price. It’s light enough to use without straining your hands and wrists.
Sky Light provides you with a narrow and precision cutting blade at an affordable price. Its curved blade makes it easier to cut the meat off its bone.
This knife is multi-purpose, making it great for de-scaling and de-boning. It’s also great at skinning, filleting, and trimming.
You get a super-sharp blade that has a 17° angle on either side. The blade is nitrogen-cooled and hand-polished to make it even harder, yet it retains its flexibility. It won’t corrode, either.
Sky Light uses German high-carbon stainless steel. This results in bringing you a durable, rust-proof, stainless knife.
Its handle is military-grade. The high-polymer material is heat-resistant, and won’t warp from low temperatures or moisture. The grip is comfortable and reduces hand pain.
Sky Light gives you a lifetime warranty if your knife ever fails for any reason.
Durable and lightweight, you’ll have no trouble wielding this blade. Its sharpness lasts for a good while, but you will have to resharpen it often.
Hammer Stahl uses the finest materials in their knives to bring you a quality blade. This knife is the result of two years of research to bring you a blade that lasts.
They have a patented design that makes their handles ergonomic. This gives you a tight grip that fits better and is more comfortable.
The blade is forged from German steel for enhanced hardness and longevity. Full tang gives the blade better strength, and a tapered edge makes it easier to resharpen.
It’s also heat-treated, further adding to the blade’s dexterity. This treatment gives the blade a more stable structure, too.
Hammer Stahl’s knife is National Sanitation Foundation-certified. And it has a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
The heat-treated German steel makes all the difference here. You’ll always feel in control of this well-balanced blade.
Bubba Blade makes knives that are moderately-priced yet sharp and durable.
The total length of the tapered-flex fillet knife is 15 inches with a nine-inch blade. The blade is non-stick and titanium-coated.
This helps to fight off rust and makes it strong enough to easily cut through scales. It has an extra-sharp tip to make penetration a cinch.
This added a level of durability for precision cutting. The blade is super-thin, too. This serves to give you better handling to make removing meat effortless. This is why many buyers prefer this knife for fishing.
The handle features slip-resistant security with a trigger grip for outstanding control. You also get a safety guard that keeps your fingers from coming in contact with the blade.
A sheath is included that can attach to your belt for easy carrying.
The ergonomic handle makes using the Bubba Blade a breeze. It feels great in your hand. And with the included belt sheath, it’s always at your side.
Paudin’s Super Fillet knife is both beautiful and effective. It’s perfect for skinning, trimming and butterflying. Yet it’s also great for de-boning, preparing, filleting.
It’s an excellent addition to your kitchen knife collection. Its razor-sharp blade makes any cutting job easier. The meat melts off its bone as you slice through.
The blade is honed to 15° on each side. This makes slicing easier than ever with less drag and resistance possible.
Paudin uses some pretty nice materials. Premium stainless German steel makes all the difference in preventing rust, wear, or corrosion. This results in a long-lasting blade that has exceptional durability.
What’s most astonishing is that Paudin uses such quality materials, yet its price is highly affordable.
The handle is made of pakkawood. This soft yet sturdy wood gives you the perfect grip. Your hand will feel more relaxed and in better control. This also provides exceptional balance.
The construction of the handle is somewhat questionable. It doesn’t quite have the same level of craftsmanship when compared to other knives.
Paudin does back their knife with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, though. If there are any defects, they’ll make it right.
Paudin’s fillet knife is so well-balanced, you’ll feel in control as you slice fish, poultry, and meat from its bone.
Kershaw’s Clearwater fillet knife is great if you need to fillet large fish. You get a lengthy nine-inch blade that cuts through scales and bone like a laser.
Whether you need to fillet freshwater or saltwater fish, the Clearwater knife will do the job. It works well on tilapia, salmon, snapper, tuna, carp, eel, bass, catfish and cod.
This is thanks to Kershaw’s use of Japanese 420J2 stainless steel. This gives the blade the perfect amount of flex. Difficult filleting jobs are now much easier thanks to its ingenious design.
Cutting becomes effortless, with the blade having just the right amount of flex. This lets you maneuver around bone with ease, slicing off precious meat as you go.
The blade is corrosion-resistant, too. So you can use it in any wet or rainy environment without fear of rust or damage.
The handle is polymer-based rubber. It’s durable, contoured, and soft yet firm. Your hand will be more relaxed and comfortable. And since it’s slip-resistant, you’ll only cut the fish, not yourself.
You get a sheath included with the knife. It locks the blade in for complete safety while you’re not using it.
The Clearwater knife comes sharpened, but you’ll need to resharpen regularly. The knife is balanced well and the handle feels great.
If you’re looking for a rugged, durable, minimalistic knife, Morakniv’s Comfort Fillet may be right up your alley.
They use Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel in their blades, known for its razor-sharpness. It’s hard as can be, super-tough, and fights off corrosion.
The handle has a high-friction feel, giving you supreme grip and comfort. It won’t absorb odors while you clean fish, either.
Morakniv offers its Comfort Fillet in 3.5- or 6.1-inch lengths. When you’re finished using the knife, a slotted sheath houses the blade while allowing it to air out. It’s easy to clean and even has a convenient belt clip.
Morakniv has been in the cutlery business since 1891. So they know a thing or three about what it takes to produce a quality blade.
It’s an easy-to-carry knife that should take care of most fillet jobs. You’ll need to sharpen it regularly, but for less than $30, you’ll be pleased with its quality.
Filleting fish is more than a job you have to perform. It’s also an art form. You need a blade that’s going to give you laser precision. As you may have already guessed, not just any fillet knife will do.
You need one with quality craftsmanship. It has to be durable. A little bit of flex doesn’t hurt, either. To make sure you choose the right knife, let’s cover some of the basics. You’ll soon be on your way to buying the best fillet knife for your needs.
There are five main components that go into crafting the perfect knife. They are size, angle, handle, flex, and material. Let’s go over them one at a time.
Fillet knife blades typically come in four different lengths: 4, 6, 7.5, and 9 inches. This is so you can pick the right blade for the job. If you’re filleting a large fish, you’ll want a longer blade. Pretty simple reasoning, right?
Knives come with all different degrees of angles. The angle depends largely on the type of knife. Razors and the like usually see an angle of 7° to 12°. Kitchen knives run between 17° to 25°. Fillet knives are in the middle, usually around 12° to 17°.
Angle degrees are simply a matter of preference. Depending on your cutlery level of expertise, you may not even notice any difference. Play around with different angles, you may find that you get better results out of different ones.
Blade sizes and angles are important. But having a handle that you’re comfortable with can make all the difference in performance and how well you operate the knife.
You want to make sure that the material used is one that will suit you. Do you like to have a ridgy, rubbery grip? Maybe you prefer an all-wood feel. Some people like to have a combination of metal and wood. As you can see, this again comes down to personal preference.
Wood can be soft, yet firm. It’s warmer to the touch than metal and gives the knife a classic look. Rubber generally provides a nice, tight grip. But there are other differences that come into play.
Wood tends to retain fishy odors. It soaks in smells much more so than any other material. It also gets slick from oils and moisture. Rubber, on the other hand, doesn’t do any of that. It’s easier to clean and lasts a lot longer, too.
Having the right amount of flex can make filleting much easier. The blade moves around bones better, and with the right amount of practice, this becomes an art form.
There are some who have an easier time with a sturdier place, however. They find that flex makes it difficult to cut away meat from the bone. It all gets down to your style of filleting.
Once again, it’s all preference. Some knives flex more or less than others. You may not like a lot of flex if you’re new to filleting. But the more you do it, you may find that you actually prefer it. Read reviews – ours included – to see which knives flex and which ones don’t.
This may be the most important aspect of all. Many knives are made of stainless steel. But how well they’re made and the process used in refining the blade has a big impact on the end result. If there isn’t quality research going into getting a durable blade, chances are it will fail on you sooner rather than later.
Carefully read each review to learn what kind of metal the manufacturer used. Some make better blades than others. If they’re refined properly, you can end up with a blade that lasts a lifetime.