Art in the Water With a Fly Fishing Pocket Knife

May 20, 2021

Fly fishing is an active way to fish. Instead of sitting on a boat waiting for fish to grab your bait, you stand in the middle of crystal blue water and throw your cast on it. The casting is one great scene to watch. It may require more technique, so it’s not always easy, but it is worth the experience

Before you go on your first or next fly fishing trip, let’s review something significant first. You won’t be able to complete any task without equipment. Without proper equipment, none of your tasks will produce good results. Have a quick check on your fly fishing equipment list to ensure you have everything ready.

Fly Fishing Equipment Checklist

Fly Line

The fly line transfers weight from the rod to the fly (the bait) and makes the casting movement possible. There are different types and features of fly lines to match different types of fish.

Fly Rod and Reel

Fly fishing rods support the required strength for the fish size, while fly fishing reels match the fly line to conduct your desired casting experience.

Fishing Net

A fly fishing net is essential for catching and releasing fish. You wear it every time you fish, so it should be lightweight and resistant to getting snagged.

Waders and Boots

Wearing waders and boots keep your feet dry and warm during fly fishing. A pair of good-quality fishing footwear may have features like insulation, pockets, and more for your preference.

Polarized Sunglasses and Fishing Hat

Polarized sunglasses are essential for a clear view of the fly fishing process, cuts through the glare, are scratch-resistant and durable. It works best with a fishing hat, which protects you from the heat.

Fly Fishing Pocket Knife

Pocket knives are multi-purpose tools for fly fishing. They perform various tasks in and out of the water, such as fish filleting, skinning, scaling, cutting ropes, and more. 

What Makes a Good Pocket Knife for Fly Fishing?

There are many types and brands of fishing pocket knives. A wide variety of options is a good thing, but it can also be overwhelming to choose one that best fits your needs. In this article, let’s break down the qualities determining the best knife for fly fishing.

A Robust, Sharp, and Corrosion-Resistant Blade

The tasks you have to perform in fishing trips require a knife blade that’s strong enough to comply with the demands. In addition, fly fishing is more active than traditional fishing and requires more durable materials. The common types of fishing knife steel include, but not limited to:

  • Stainless steel is the standard type for knives, mainly fillet knives. It is strongly resistant to rust and easily sharpened, ideal for fish cleaning tasks. 
  • Carbon steel is more potent and has sharper edges. Carbon steel maintenance requires more work than stainless steel.

There are also knife steel grades, such as the incredibly sharp 420 steel or the exceptionally robust powdered steel. Each has its core strengths, so ensure that you pick the one that fits your fly fishing needs.

The Spyderco Salt Series, for instance, is often regarded as the best fillet knife for saltwater fish. This set of knives are saltwater warriors. They use advanced non-carbon types of steel (LC 200 N and H-1). These types are highly resistant to corrosion.

A Handle that Firmly Stays on your Hand

You need a type of handle that is robust, non-slippery, and can stay firmly on your grip the entire time. It should be strong enough not to be affected by the weather condition, prolonged exposure to water, or regular filleting work.

The most common materials for a knife handle are metal, wood, hard plastic, rubber, and cork. For slippery conditions, rubber is the most ideal to use. Wood has nice visuals and can be convenient to use. However, wood absorbs odor and can be easily affected after prolonged exposure to the water compared to other materials. Plastic handles don’t break easily and don’t absorb odor, but they can be uncomfortable to use for some. Cork is a softer and slip-resistant material.

The Atomic Bear Pocket Knife with Stainless Steel Blade is made of molded G-10. This thermoset plastic laminate is preferred in gun and knife handles. This material doesn’t break easily, is flexible to various temperatures, and lightweight. 


A Knife With a Balanced Weight

A fishing knife needs enough power for challenging fish work, such as skinning and boning. However, since it’s for fly fishing, you also have to ensure that it is light enough to carry around. You don’t sit and wait on a boat. You stand on spots in the water to make a catch, so if the knife’s too heavy, it will be tough to bring around. 

The Grand Way Fish Pocket Knife, for example, weighs 4 ounces. The ideal weight for fishing knives ranges between 3-8 ounces.


An All-Purpose Knife With Great Quality

One of the qualities of cool fishing knives is being all-purpose. They can perform well in more than one fishing task. You can use them for cutting, scaling, filleting, and more. 

Should you Go Traditional or Technology?

When you contemplate between traditional fishing knives and electrical fishing knives, the best way to differentiate them is precision vs. speed. If you want to have massive control of the knife and make precise cuts, a traditional fishing knife will do better. 

On the other hand, the best electric fish fillet knife in the market can get the cutting business quickly done if you desired. 

There is also a difference in their maintenance. Traditional knives are rewashed and sharpened, while electric knives need the power to function. It might be harder to control an electric knife in fly fishing trips, although the endpoint is still preferred.

It’s Not Just About the Knife; It’s About You Too

Getting the best fishing utility knife doesn’t solely rely on the tool’s qualities. The person using it also has a responsibility to keep the knife in its best condition. 

Fishing pocket knives, when not regularly cleaned, can weaken their function. As a result, it becomes a dangerous tool. What’s worse is that it might lead to serious injury when parts of the knife no longer work as intended.

To properly maintain your fly fishing knife, here are some practices you can do:

  • Use a toothpick or probe to remove pocket lint.
  • Use warm water and a bristle brush for grit or sand. 
  • Disassemble the knife to clean it thoroughly.
  • You may also use compressed air to remove dirt when you can’t disassemble it.
  • Use petroleum-based lubricants (food-safe if used for food) to the knife’s pivot points.
  • The type of lubricant varies on the material of your knife. 
  • Don’t use your pocket knife as a screwdriver or bottle opener to prevent damage.
  • Sharpen the knife using stones or a sharpening jig if you want a faster (but costlier) method. 
  • Keep a consistent sharpening angle.


Fly fishing requires more activity and technique. It might be a bit difficult at first. Still, it’s a beautiful experience, you being right in the middle of the gorgeous, blue scenery. Ensure you’re equipped with the right equipment from start to finish. Maximize efficiency with the best fishing knife and make a pleasant fishing memory.

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