Last week I woke up next to a beautiful fjord somewhere in the west of Norway. Just when I wanted to start my hiking adventure to go fishing I asked myself: “why did I not bring a proper fillet knife?”
I always use a Swiss army knife to gut my fish. And although that works fine, maybe it’s time to invest in a better knife that is made to fillet and just a great all-around survival/outdoor knife.
I did some research online on the best fillet knives for meat and fish. I was surprised that most knives are actually quite cheap and made with high quality.
Why should you buy a proper fillet knife
If you like to go out fishing and prepare your fish you know it can be a time-consuming job. For this reason, you should invest in a proper fillet knife, as it will make this process a lot easier and fast.
A big advantage of having a fillet knife instead of just a regular pocket knife is that they are made to stay sharp. If you fillet a fish with your knife the job is much cleaner than with a more dull knife.
A proper fishing knife maybe seems like a big investment at first but I think in the end it’s worth it. There are also a lot of cheap fillet knives on this list so there is no reason not to own one!
Bonus: How to make your own fillet knife
In this video from Take And Make, the guy makes his own fillet knife from a saw blade!
My favourite fillet knives for fish and meat
Fillet knives come in all shapes and sizes but for me, the best fishing knife should be portable and of high quality. It should also be easy to fold up and bring in your backpack for travel. The criteria for this list where:
- The price of the knife
- Durability and sharpness of the blade
- Folding mechanism
- Looks and weight of the knife
- Usability to fillet meat and fish
Here is my list of the best fillet knives:
1. Opinel a french budget knife
If you already know a little bit about knives I’m sure you heard of the name Opinel. It’s a french knife brand that is famous for its folding mechanism and great quality, cheap knives.
The Opinel is not just for fish, it’s a great all-around knife. You can use it for everything from your kitchen to survival and fishing in the outdoors.
What I like the most about Opinel knives is that the knife folds nicely into the handgrip. The handle itself is made from wood and I find it to be really solid and the blade stays folded in its place nicely.
Opinel knives also have a turn to lock mechanism which prevents the knife from folding out inside your bag. Over time this mechanism will get loose a bit but fortunately, you can always tighten the ring that locks the blade.
Note: If you want to learn how to tighten the ring, watch this video
2. Bubba Blade 12″
The Bubba blade is an 18″ knife with a 12″ blade, the perfect size for a fishing knife. The knife has a soft rubber handle which gives it extra grip. The sharpness of this knife is really good and because of the quality blade, it will stay sharp for a long time.
If you are looking for a top-notch outdoor fishing knife this one is for you. It comes with a nice cover which you can also put on your belt for quick access to the knife. Another thing I liked about this knife is that it has a hole in the handle so you can put a piece of rope through it and hang it on a branch for hands-free cooking.
3. Wusthof Grand Prix II 9″
If you are looking for quality the Wusthof is the best fishing knife for you! The blade from this fillet knife is made from high-quality carbon stainless steel. Because of its quality, the knife will keep a good sharp edge.
The knife also comes with a leather holster and a portable travel sharpener making it a travel-friendly option as well.
This one is a bit sturdier and has less flex than the other fillet knives on this list. This is good if you fillet a fish since the meat can sometimes be pretty tough to cut through.
4. Rada Cutlery Hunting Sportsman
Last on this list is this fillet knife from Rada Cutlery. Normally I would say you should invest in a good knife, which is in general not that cheap. This fillet knife, on the other hand, has great value for money, at a pretty low price.
The handle of this fillet knife is also made from an anti-slip rubber, it has nice curves so it fits your hand perfectly. If you are looking for a cheap fillet knife for fishes this option is great for you!
How to keep your fillet knife sharp
The most important thing to remember in order to keep your knives sharp is to protect them. Most dents and unsharp edges come from carelessly carrying your knife. This is why it’s important to always put your knife in a holster if you are not using it.
Another reason your knife gets dull is when you use your fillet knife to cut fish on the wrong surface. This is why it’s important to always use a cutting board or if you are in the outdoors a piece of wood.
Sharpening stones are a great way to keep a sharp edge on your fillet knife. I made a post about how to sharpen your knife here.
For me, the best fillet knife for fishing is the Opinel. Affordable and of superior quality. are the two aspects that I associate with this knife.