Best Fillet Knife Buyer’s Guide (Updated for 2019)
Whether you’re fisherman requiring a fish fillet knife to properly prepare the day’s catch, or you’ve bought some fresh fish from the market and you need the right tool to make sure the meat is cleaned and cut properly, we have dove right in to bring you our top 5 fillet knives available in 2018.
As always, we have put our chosen selection front and center with the easy reference table below. For more info on what to look for when buying a filleting knife and in depth reviews of our selection – keep on reading.
Best Fillet Knife 2018 – Our Top 5 Picks
What exactly is a fish fillet knife?
This may seem like an obvious question – the answer is very much in the name. And while we all may know that a fillet knife is used for filleting fish, more specifically the knife is designed so that fish can be properly prepared for the plate.
Fillet knives are used so that you and your dinner guests do not swallow bones or scales.
The shape and grip of the knife is designed to give the user greater control for intricate work – allowing for a smooth slice along the backbone of the fish for example and also under its skin. Precision and sharpness are a vital component when choosing a quality fillet knife.
What’s the difference between a boning knife and a fillet knife?
Boning knives are commonly used specifically for removing bones from meat while fillet knives are used for the dual purpose of removing bones and skin from the meat.
Furthermore, while you will find some boning knives with flexible blades, it is more common for a fillet knife to be flexible. Fillet knives are usually thinner too. This flexibility and thinness are what make fillet knives so good with delicate meats such as fish.
Another difference is in the overall shape of the blade. A fish fillet knife will often curve upward while the blades of boning knives are usually straight.
A good rule of thumb is to understand that boning knives are better for larger and tougher meats like pork, beef or chicken.
Top 5 Fish Fillet Knives Reviewed
1. Rada Cutlery R200 Fillet Knife with Leather ScabbardThe Rada R200 fillet knife is our top pick fillet fish knife this year for a number of reasons.
First, let’s talk about the value for money. This is genuine, USA made Rada quality for a budget price.
From the moment you pick this knife up, you can feel that this is not some cheap ‘made in China’ import.
The stainless Steel (T420 High Carbon Surgical Grade), hollow ground and hand sharpened blade is extremely sharp out of the box, and will take years of filleting use both in the field or kitchen.
The company boasts that the black rubber handle has been specifically designed, (that buzzword ergonomic crops up quite often, but is very apt here) for ample grip under slippery conditions.
The soft rubber grip is non-slip and feels really comfortable to work with. Precision slicing is actually a breeze, with the flexible blade and that sharp edge just perfect for delicate fish meat.
The well made leather scabbard is a nice addition and will help keep your knife in good condition whether stored in a kitchen drawer or in the tackle bag.
What we loved about the Rada Cutlery R200 Fillet Knife
- Quality forged stainless steel blade that is both sharp, flexible and hard wearing
- Comfortable non-slip rubber handle
- Versatility – perfect onboard or in the kitchen
- IT’S MADE IN THE USA – and comes with a life time guarantee
- The list price is currently in the ludicrously low sub $20 region
The not so good bits
- At a push, this knife doesn’t look as nice as some of the others in our top 5, (the Rapala fillet knife in particular).
Our top choice fillet knife for the money. Whether you plan on using this on your boat or in the kitchen, the Rada R200 will do the job, and do it very well. What more can we say.
2. Rapala Fish’n Fillet Knife
The Rapala Fish’n Fillet Knife is a beautiful knife made with fisherman in mind.
The full-tang Swedish stainless steel 7 inch blade has exactly the right level of flexibility and width to ensure precision use whether you are at home, on the boat or dockside.
The classic Rapala reinforced birch varnished handle, is the very essence of Scandinavian design. When you hold the knife, one can’t help think about the tough Nordic fisherman battling the Northern seas of times past, using tools of a similar nature.
And performance and durability is where this knife excels. The edge stays super sharp no matter how you treat this knife, users report of throwing it in their tackle box for years on end, with the Rapala still battling on with no sign of rust, wear or tear.
Should you need to sharpen the Rapala fillet knife, it comes with a single-stage sharpener, small enough to be conveniently packed away with your fishing gear.
A genuine fine tooled leather laplander sheath is also supplied.
What we love about the Rapala fillet knife
- The thin, flexible yet extremely durable Swedish steel blade
- The lovely Scandinavian aesthetic
- Sharpener and sheath are thrown in too
The not so good points
- The birch varnished handle does look beautiful, but in really slippery conditions your grip can be compromised.
- The leather sheath is a bit loose around the blade
A beautiful knife the performs wonderfully, at the right price. The Rapala fillet knife was a very close contender for our number one pick this year.
3. Wusthof Silverpoint ll 7-Inch Fish Fillet Knife
The Wusthof Silverpoint II, is another quality fish fillet knife and this time from what some consider to be the “The Cutlery Capital of the World”, Solingen Germany.
However, although the famous Wusthof brand does stem from there, and this fillet knife is indeed manufactured there using quality German high carbon stainless steal – the blueprints for this fillet knife originate in the good old US of A.
Knowing that if you are providing a tool for professionals, a good move is to include them in the design process, Wusthof consulted fishing experts in an attempt to build the perfect filleting knife.
So how did they do? Is this the best fillet knife in the world? Let’s take a look…
Firstly, the Silverpoint II has a slightly higher price point than the other fillet knives on our list.
For that extra money you are getting the aforementioned German steel quality, and superior attention to detail. They use a laser cut stamped process and their intricate testing procedures are designed to ensure that each blade is precisely tempered.
While all of that may sound technical marketing jargon, the bottom line is, the blade will last a long time and with excellent edge retention to boot, (however all the other knives in this list can boast that too).
What we loved about the Wusthof Silverpoint ll
- The robust design – the quality materials used, and the attention to detail in the manufacturing process is very evident. This is a really well made fillet knife.
- That extends to the handle, the sure grip is very comfortable even in the wettest conditions.
The not so good points
- Although the black leather sheath is nicely stitched together, it can feel a little loose around the blade.
- Some users have actually complained that they have needed to sharpen the knife out of the box.
The Whustof brand is very reliable, and they will not fail you here. This is a very good fillet knife, but at the higher price point it is hard to justify buying this instead of the Rada or the Rapala – which perform just as well for less money.
4. The Bubba Blade 9″ Flex Fillet Knife BB1-9F
The Bubba Blade 9”is the daddy of our top 5 and is probably the most recommended fish fillet knife for those out in the field.
This formidable 15 inch total length tool, (9 inch blade, with 6 inch handle ) is not designed for the kitchen.
However, although this knife is clearly rather large, (which will definitely put some of you off) it is still a very flexible tool, that is surprisingly easy to handle.
Let’s take a look at what you are getting for your money.
Bubba Blade have gone for a Full tang construction for this fillet knife. It is made from a single piece of steel with an impressive Rockwell hardness rating of 56-58. Strength and stability are the name of the game here.
The blade is also coated with a patented non-stick surface application that helps prevent rusting, while at the same time ensuring that the meat slides effortlessly off the metal during the filleting process.
The Bubba Blade patented textured non slip handle is also in full use, incorporating a well designed trigger grip and thumb/finger pads for maximum control.
If you’re looking for an extremely durable work horse for out in the field, the Bubba blade 9” flex fillet knife is the one to go for. It’s sharp, super strong and will make short work of your big game fish.
Be warned however, some users have complained that the customer care aspect is non existent with this company; if you do run into any warranty problems, it could be a hard chase.
5. Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade
The Morakniv Fishing Comfort fillet knife is specifically designed for fishermen out in the field. They are built to sustain hardy conditions.
However, with this shorter version (the blade length measures in at 3.5″ (90 mm)) the knife would not look out of place in the kitchen either, (an 8 inch version is also available).
The Sandvik stainless steel blade is extremely robust, containing a chromium content that makes it less susceptible to corrosion and oxidation, (a problem that can occur with carbon steels). As we say, these are designed to be used outdoors in the face of extreme moisture.
The handle is patterned with a high-friction grip, and the knife comes complete with an “Easy-Clean” sheath with two interchangeable belt clips.
The professional’s choice fish fillet knife, ideal for marine outdoor use. If you’re a fisherman looking for a sturdy tool to fillet your game catch, then look no further.
What to look for when buying a fish fillet knife
If after reading our top 5 list above you remain undecided, you will probably want to do more research to find the right fish fillet knife for you.
If that’s the case, these next pointers will help you in your search.
A case of the bends
If you have a chance to actually handle the fillet knife before purchasing, test the blade’s flexibility.
As we have already talked about in the reviews, the flex is extremely important as it allows you to work along backbones and beneath the skin without unintentionally cutting either.
The majority of the work is done with the blade’s wider half. With this in mind, you should opt for a knife that has around a 15 to 20 percent flex (bend) close to the handle, with a some flex in the tip too.
Get a handle on it
The design of the handle is a major concern when choosing a fish fillet knife. While wooden handles look the part, (one of the reasons we love the Rapala so much), they tend to be less reliable in slippery conditions when compared to a composite or rubberized handle.
Whatever handle you opt for, you will want to make sure that it offers a strong grip with wet, slippery hands.
The handle’s shape should also be considered carefully. A notch for your index finger or a guard on the hilt can make a huge difference in aiding user control. They also provide a level of safety by helping to prevent your hand from slipping up towards the blade.
Plug me in
Although you may be tempted to go straight for the electric fillet knife option, we advise that you get used to the filleting process with a traditional knife first.
A standard fish fillet knife will give you a better feel for bone structure and how shallow or deep to cut. Once you have mastered the skills by hand, you can then graduate to an electric knife.
How To Use A Fillet Knife
There’s no substitute for a good video tutorial when it comes to learning a new skill. This Youtube vid on how to use a fillet knife is the best one we could find on the subject.
Image Credit: Radacutlery.com