How to Choose the Right Fishing Knife and Our Top Recommendations

August 5, 2021

So you’ve caught some fish on your fun fishing trip. What next?

Of course, the kitchen will be the next destination to prepare, skin, and slice your fresh catch. Knives come in all shapes, sizes, and functions. If fishing is one of your favorite hobbies, it doesn’t hurt to grab yourself a fishing knife or two for a better experience. Deciding you need to get a fishing knife is one thing; actually looking for one among the many brands in the market is another.

Factors in Choosing the Right Fishing Knife

It pays to know a good fish knife. Don’t settle for cheap, low-quality models that can do you more harm than good in the long run. Let's have a rundown of some factors to consider when choosing the perfect knife for your fishing and kitchen needs.

Blade Material

Since we’re talking about a fishing knife, which is more exposed to saltwater, the material of the blade should be less prone to rusting. A good blade material should be durable, corrosion-resistant, and retains its sharpness and edges for longer periods.

Blade Size

Next to the material, you should also consider blade size. Mostly, fish knives range from 4 to 10 inches in length. The basic rule is to use longer blades for larger fish and shorter blades for smaller ones. Technically, the knife should be 2 inches longer than the fish. You may use a 4 to 6-inch blade for perch, trout, walleye, panfish, and mackerel;  a 7 to 8-inch blade for salmon; and an 8 to 9.5-inch for codfish, tuna, catfish, and halibut.

Flexible Blades

Quick trivia: a fillet knife only needs to be 2.5 to 3.5mm at the spine. You need a thin and flexible knife to avoid getting more fish meat in filleting the fish. In addition, you need the proper control in using a flexible blade to make precise cuts of meat.  Since most of the cutting tasks are done with the lower part of the blades, the knife should be approximately 15% to 20% flexible to the handle.


The comfort in using a knife depends on the handle. A comfortable knife handle has a firm grip for more control, is made of high-quality material, safe to use, and, in some way, ergonomic. The three main types of handles are wood, rubber, and plastic. Wood is more comfortable to hold and very sturdy, but it can get slippery when wet. In contrast, plastic and rubber have better grip and are easier to clean but not as sturdy as wood.

Top Fishing Knife Recommendations

Now that we've discussed some of the essentials in finding a good fishing knife let's move on to some of the top brands in this category. Still have trouble finding the best knife for you? These reviews could help you out!

KastKing Fillet & Bait Knife

One of the best choices for a fish fillet knife is the KastKing Fillet & Bait Knife. Its G4116 German stainless steel blades are proven sharp and durable. It can perform many functions, such as slicing large fish, filleting fish, and even as bait when fishing. You can effectively use it both in saltwater and freshwater.

This knife is 5 inches long with a serrated top edge, used for cutting frozen bait. It also comes in various sizes, from 6 to 9 inches long. You can use any of its sizes according to the size of the fish you are slicing. You can use this in filleting large fish like salmon or tuna for the longest.

You will surely like its slip-resistant and super polymer grip for its handle, giving you smooth and convenient cuts in the kitchen. Plus, it also has a knife sheath to maintain and protect the blade and the user.  The sheath also has holes to drain excess water, so the knives remain dry and sharp.

Dalstrong Phantom Series – Japanese High-Carbon Steel Knife

This gorgeous knife is full of elegance and power manifested in ice tempered, high carbon, and Japanese AUS-8 steel blades. You can efficiently skin, fillet, and bone fish using the Dalstrong Phantom series, which features exceptional sharpness and strength.

This steel knife is undeniably sharp and durable, with a blade that’s proven to precisely cut fish with lesser effort. These knives are also corrosion-resistant, moisture-free, and less prone to rust. Since it is made up of a high amount of chromium, expect it to be stain-proof.

Another notable thing about this knife is its beautiful design. Its velvet handle is physically attractive and durable and assures your comfort as you use the knife.

Spyderco Atlantic Salt Folding Knife

Durability is one of the main qualities of this knife. Its solid and sharp blades are definitely made up of nitrogen-based blade steels like H-1 and LC200N. Also, the Salt Series is resistant to rust and a good choice for saltwater fishing.

This is also the best choice if you will use a knife in rigid environments. Its very safe handle is made up of Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon (FRN), a polymer mixed with glass fiber. These knives have lightweight but strong handles.

Its price speaks for its durability and quality. It also has a two-step serration pattern and back lock for maximum safety.

Wüsthof Classic 7-Inch Fish Fillet Knife

Known for its quality knives, the Wusthof Classic Series boasts blades made up of high-carbon stainless steel, making them resistant to corrosion and discoloration. Through Precision Edge Technology (PEtec), its blades are expected to be 20% sharper and have twice the edge retention than old models.

The Wusthof Classic fish knife is a must-have for home chefs. This is very effective for most kitchen tasks with its thin and flexible blades, perfect for deboning, slicing, and filleting fish. It also has a long narrow blade, which you can use for the fish backbone and easy removal of the skin.

Its synthetic polypropylene handle performs well in resisting heat and fading for your safety and convenience.

Buck Knives 220 Silver Creek Fishing Knife

If you usually work on large fish, this knife is a perfect choice. Since its blades are made up of titanium, there’s no question about its strength. It is also known for its flexibility, rust resistance, and hardness, great for slicing and skinning big fish like salmon.

Plus, this knife is also easy to resharpen. With excellent durability, it can withstand stress and extreme outdoor conditions. It also has a polypropylene handle with a rubberized grip for relaxed slicing tasks.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Knife

This knife is known as one of the best pocket fish knives. Its thin edge can get in between meat fibers and make precise fish cuts.

Zwilling knives are known for being strong and durable. These German knives are made from solid steel and a high-carbon formula.

Its blades are constructed from Friodur, which makes them sharper and resilient to stain and rust. This knife also has laser-controlled edges for durability and strength. The ergonomic handle offers both comfort and precision.

Victorinox Fisherman Pocket Knife

If you are looking for a portable knife to make your fishing adventure more convenient, the Victorinox Fisherman Pocket Knife is an excellent option.

One of the advantages of this knife is its versatility. You’ll be surprised to know of its whopping 18 functions: large blade, small blade, can opener, screwdriver 3 mm, bottle opener, screwdriver 6 mm, wire stripper, reamer/punch and sewing awl, Phillips screwdriver 1/2, scissors, fish scaler, hook disgorger, ruler (cm), ruler (inches), multipurpose hook, toothpick, tweezers, and keyring.

Aside from this, it’s also known for its durable and strong steel.

Black Camping Pocket Knife

This knife is a high-performing survival knife made from 440C stainless steel and coated with black oxide. Expect durability, strength, and rust-proof qualities from this excellent pocket knife. It is also a good knife for precise cheese and meat slices.

This knife has a folding spring with an opening blade, pocket clip, and liner lock, which keep the knife safe from any dirt or unwanted closure. It's also suitable for both right and left-handed users.

The Black Camping Pocket Knife is an excellent choice to bring for most, if not all, outdoor activities. It also comes with a Survival eBook, which serves as a guide to effectively use the knife.

Plusinno Fishing Fillet Knife

These knives are suitable for both saltwater and freshwater fish. A Plusinno Fillet Knife is a perfect bait knife since it is durable, strong, and multifunctional. Its blades are made of premium steel, which is both razor-sharp and corrosion-resistant. Thus, you can use this knife effectively for filleting and removing fish meat from the bone.

One of its best features is its ABS sheath, which locks the handle for safety. It also has V-shaped holes for the knife to stay sharp and dry. On the topic of safety, its rubberized handle made of a polymer material provides protection and comfort for wet and dry conditions.

With its perfect length, shape, and style, this fishing knife is a must-have during food preparation, kitchen tasks, and outdoor activities.

Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife

This is the best choice if you are looking for a small yet powerful outdoor knife. Its blade is made of strong Sweden steel, which is corrosion-resistant and can stay sharp for much longer.

Its versatility makes this knife a top choice. Its high-quality blades are very efficient in slicing food, cutting meats, and even carving. Plus, its high-friction handle is excellent for greater control.

The Wrap-Up

For a fishing knife, much like any other cutting tool, it’s always important to consider blade material, blade size, flexibility, and comfort. A fishing knife is essential for home cooks, professional chefs, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. If you want to take any of these hobbies or careers seriously, adding the best fishing knife to your arsenal would be a great start.

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