The Best Fillet Knife For Saltwater Fish & How To Pick

by Thavius | Last Updated:   October 29th, 2021
The Best Fillet Knife For Saltwater Fish & How To Pick


The best fillet knife for saltwater fish is a must-have for anglers that target fish such as salmon, tuna, grouper, and other types of saltwater fish. Fish fillet knives have flexible, thin blades that enable anglers to cut saltwater fish precisely.

But where can you find the best fillet knife for saltwater fish?

If this is the first time buying a fillet knife, there is a good chance that you don’t know what product or features to look for. So, I will be providing you with all the essential details as your favorite adventure guide.

I’ve put in a lot of work to put together a list of the best 5 fillet knives for saltwater based on their features, my personal experience, user reviews, and sales statistics.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

Reviewing The 5 Best Fillet Knife for Saltwater Fishing

Ylinsha Fish Fillet knife

The first product on my list of the best fillet knives is a best seller and affordable knife from YLINSHA. This versatile filler knife is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater fish. It is an excellent knife for cutting bait and filleting fish. It is also great for stealing huge game fish as well as separating fish from the bone.

Additionally, this 9-inch long fillet knife offers all the flexibility you need. This will allow you to create perfect fillets by following the contours of fish without fuss. Also, the knife’s blade is made of durable German stainless steel. It arrives sharp and keeps its edge for long.

Furthermore, the excellent black blade finish means that you will never have to worry about rust and stains. The knife also has a non-slip polymer handle that provides a firm and secure grip. This grip will enable you to work safely with the knife even in wet conditions.

You will find this fish fillet knife to clean after use. Despite its affordability, the package comes with a durable yet lightweight sheath. This sheath will ensure that your fillet knife serves you for several years without damage. It will also keep you safe by locking the knife’s handle in place when it’s not in use.

Pros
  • It is durable
  • It is budget-friendly
  • It comes with a protective sheath
  • The blade is rust-free
  • It provides a strong grip
Cons
  • You may have to sharpen it before use

Tuo 7 Inch Fillet Knife

This beautiful fillet knife is 7 inches long and is packed in a lovely gift box. As a result, it can be an excellent gift for a loved one. You can also personalize the gift box to make it more unique.

Aside from its packaging, this TUO knife is a highly functional knife for saltwater fish. It features a high carbon steel blade that is durable and offers excellent resistance to stain and rust.

Additionally, the knife arrives razor sharp so you can start fish filleting with it right away. The blade retains its edge excellently and has an impressive appearance thanks to its Damascus steel-like pattern. It is also extra thin to offer increased flexibility. So, it will glide between fish skin and meat seamlessly.

Furthermore, this fillet knife comes with a firm grip handle for comfort. You should also find it easy to whether you are right-handed or left-handed. The weight and size of the fillet knife are perfectly balanced to make filleting smooth and enjoyable.

Pros
  • It is built high carbon stainless steel
  • It has a slip-resistant handle
  • It is suitable for both left and right-handed persons
  • It is durable and long-lasting
Cons
  • It has to be cleaned by hand

BUBBA Li-Ion Cordless Electric Fillet Knife

This is arguably the best electric fillet knife on the market. The Bubba fillet knife features a cordless style that eliminates the hassle of wires. You will find different sizes of blades in the package (7″, 9″, and 12″). So, you can be assured that you have all the tools you need to handle all kinds of saltwater fish.

The blades are manufactured with high carbon stainless steel material. As a result, they are not just durable, but they also retain their edge well. What’s more, the blades are coated with titanium nitride for increased resistance against corrosion and rust. The knife is easy to clean too.

Additionally, the manufacturer has equipped the Bubba blade with its popular slip-resistant handle. You will find it very comfortable to hold and this will give you a lot of control while filleting. For safety, the knife comes with a safety lock and trigger guard.

Furthermore, the knife’s battery health is impressive and should help you cut a good number of fish before running out of battery. You will be able to monitor the battery life via the battery indicator. The package will include a carry case, a charging cord, and an extra battery.

Pros
  • It comes with four different blades
  • It has a quality handle grip
  • The battery has a long life
  • It has quality safety features
Cons
  • It is expensive

Rhinoreto 6.5 Inch Fish Fillet Knife

The Rhinoreto Fish Fillet Knife is a good knife to have when hunting for saltwater fish and it allows easy chef-like filleting. It can also be used for fishing in freshwater and provides pro-filleting results while being budget-friendly.

One of the best features of this fishing fillet knife is its flexible, sharp blade. The blade is designed to bend upon fish of all sizes to provide excellent filleting. When you combine the blade’s curve edge with its pointy tip, you know you have a top-quality filleting knife.

Another great thing about this fishing knife is how it provides both a sharp edge and corrosion resistance. It won’t lose its edge even after filleting several tough saltwater fish. So, you can expect it to keep its edge for an extended period.

Additionally, the knife features a rubber handle that ensures that users get a good grip even in wet conditions. It is also lightweight, double-sided, and easy to use. When you place an order for the package, you will get additional accessories like a sheath and sharpener.

Pros
  • It is affordable yet high quality
  • It is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater
  • It is sharp
  • The package includes extra accessories
Cons
  • It isn’t made of a high-quality material

Calamus Fishing 9″ Fillet Knife

If you want a fillet knife for saltwater that will give you great value for money, you need to check out this fillet knife from Calamus. It is a high-performing knife that retains its edge much longer than others in its price range. It is also well built and should serve you for a long time.

The knife comes razor-sharp out of the box. So, you can put it into use as soon as you receive it. This makes it a favorite of fishing enthusiasts. You will also be able to keep it sharp with regular sharpening.

As expected of a quality fish fillet knife, the Calamus knife offers a lot of flexibility to make filleting seamless. The knife is coated with Teflon so that the blade can cut through fish without steaking. You will also the fillet knife easy to clean after use thanks to the coating.

Additionally, the anti-slip golf-style handle is lightweight and designed to provide a firm grip. So, it will feel comfortable on your hands even when you use it for long periods. You will get a vented sheath in which you will be storing your fillet knife to stop it from stinking or getting damaged.

Pros
  • It is visually appealing
  • It is built with durable material
  • It is available in multiple lengths
  • It is razor-sharp
Cons
  • Not everyone finds the color appealing

Our Top Choice


I considered several factors to create my list of the best fillet knife for saltwater fish. The best fillet knife has to have a long blade and should be able to withstand dirt and grime.

Hence, my overall best fillet knife for saltwater fish has to be the KastKing 9 Inch Fillet Knife. This fillet knife offers lots of flexibility, excellent edge retention, and more importantly, a comfortable and safe grip.

Buying Guide For The Best Saltwater Fillet Knife

Finding the best fillet knife for saltwater fish doesn’t have to be difficult. All you need is the right information. In this section, we will be looking at the essential features of fillet knives and what makes them unique.

Blade Material

The first thing that you should know about fillet knives is that they are built with different materials. They are mostly built using stainless steel, high carbon stainless steel, and carbon steel. Some fillet knives are also built with ceramic.

Before opting for any of these materials, you need to understand their unique characteristics. Ceramic fillet knives are easy to sharpen and don’t lose their edge prematurely. However, they are fragile and the high-end options can be expensive.

Stainless Steel fillet knives are also easy to sharpen but they offer more in terms of durability. However, they have to be sharpened regularly because they tend to become dull after use. You may even have to sharpen some of these knives multiple times during use. Stainless steel knives are affordable and suitable for cutting big fish.

Fillet knives made of carbon steel are easy to sharpen and keep their edge for long periods. However, they are quite expensive and more susceptible to rust, corrosion, and stains. Some knife makers combine carbon steel with stainless steel knives to make their fillet knives more durable and long-lasting.

Type

When selecting a fillet knife for saltwater, there are various types that you can choose from. They include:

Japanese Fish Fillet Knives

Japanese knives have long blades that have consistent width along their length. They also have a 45-degree curve and the majority of them are single-beveled.

Scandinavian Fish Fillet Knives

This category of saltwater fillet knives comes with flexible, mildly curved, and pointed blades. The majority of them are double-beveled.

Electric Fish Fillet Knives

This is a category of fish fillet knives that aren’t operated manually. Instead, they run on electrical energy so that you don’t have to put in so much work. The downsides of electric fish fillet knives are that they are heavy and less accurate than the manual options.

Watch this video to see how to use an electric fillet knife:

Thickness and Flexibility

The best fish fillet knives offer lots of flexibility to allow users to make accurate cuts. If your knife isn’t flexible enough, you may find yourself snapping the bones and getting pieces in the fillet. The ideal thickness for a fillet knife is between 1.5 to 3.5mm.

You should never overlook the flexibility of a filleting knife. But while flexibility is essential, you should note that your knife shouldn’t be fragile. This will enable you to cut through meat without a fuss.

Blade Length

Fillet knives can be classified into different categories based on their length. These categories include short, medium, and long blades. A blade’s length will determine its flexibility and what fish it should be used for:

Short Blades (4-6″)

Filleting knives within this range are known to offer excellent handling and maneuverability. You should opt for a short blade if you will be hunting small fishes like mackerel, sunfish, panfish, etc.

Medium-sized Blades (7-8″)

Medium-sized blades are usually flexible and easy to use, especially when they are well designed. They are suitable for bigger fish like trout, salmon, and some breeds of pike.

Long Blades (8-9.5″)

Knives within this range are larger and hence, not so easy to transport. However, their size makes them suitable for large fish. Get one of these knives if you will be hunting salmon, catfish, tuna, codfish, etc.

You may watch this video to learn how to fillet a salmon:

Sharpness

Another thing that you have to check out in a fillet knife is the sharpness of its blade. A razor-sharp blade will enable you to cut fish quickly and accurately. This type of blade also tends to retain its edge longer.

On the other hand, filleting, skinning, or deboning a fish won’t be so easy with a blunt. To avoid cutting yourself with a sharp blade, you should wear filleting gloves.

Blade Angle

Even if you have taken your time to sharpen your blade, it will be difficult for it to cut through the skin of fish if the edge isn’t sharp. The ideal angle for a knife’s edge is between 15 to 20 degrees. Knives with smaller angles tend to be sharper.

Check out the following video to learn how to sharpen a fillet knife:

Handle Material

Fish filleting isn’t the most simple task and it can get quite messy. As a result, the ideal fillet knife needs to have a handle that is comfortable, slip-resistant, and sturdy. The common materials used in making fillet knife handles include rubber, wood, plastic, and metal.

Wooden handles are usually visually appealing and comfortable but they become slippery in wet conditions. The material also tends to absorb the smell of fish depending on how frequently it comes in contact with fish.

Though plastic handles aren’t as slippery as wooden handles, the grip they provide isn’t firm enough. They also don’t absorb the smell of fish. Plastic handles are available in a wide variety of colors. So, you can choose based on your preferences.

As for rubber handles, they offer excellent grip and comfort even when wet. However, they soak up the smell of fish. Metallic handles offer a lesser grip than rubber handles but they are easy to clean and do not absorb fish odor.

Learn how to get rid of fish odor before and after fishing.

Sheath

You should also get a sheath when you purchase a high-quality fillet knife. The sheath is an accessory that allows you to store and carry your knife around safely. A sheath may be made of nylon, leather, or leather. If you find a great fillet knife only to realize that it doesn’t come with a sheath, you don’t have to worry. You may purchase a sheath separately.

Cost

Fish filleting knives usually cost between $10 to $50. Work out your budget and then proceed to find a quality fillet knife that falls within it. You should opt for a product that has a lifetime warranty or money-back guarantee.

Here are some of the best fish fillet recipes for easy dinners.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a fishing fillet knife used for?

A filleting knife is a type of knife that is specially designed for cutting, skinning, and deboning fish. Filleting knives offer a great amount of control and flexibility. They usually have a great grip too.

Can I clean a fish without a fillet knife?

Yes, you can clean a fish without a fillet knife. However, it will be difficult for you to get an excellent fillet with a regular kitchen knife. A fillet knife eases the process of getting a neat and organized fillet.

How can I sharpen my fillet knife?

There are two methods for sharpening a filleting knife. Firstly, you may sharpen your knife using an electric sharpener. This method is simple as you only have to insert your knife and switch the device on.

The second option is to use a manual sharpener. A sharpening stone such as a whetstone will give you lots of control when sharpening your knife and also prevent damage. But if you have access to any of these tools, you may use a sharpening rod.

How can I clean my fillet knife?

Filleting knives are not so different from your traditional kitchen knives. So, you don’t need any special cleaning method. The vital thing is not to ever put the blades in a dishwasher.

The knife should be cleaned under running with a washing towel and soap. You should carefully clean the edges to avoid injuries. Once you are done washing, rinse, and then dry it with a towel.

Should I scale before filleting?

Yes, you should scale your fish before filleting. The only reason why you shouldn’t do this is if you like eating scales and I doubt that.

I've been a fisherman for over 35 years. From catching small bullheads with my grandfather at his pond to catching strippers on the backwaters of the Chattahoochee, I love to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water.