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Best Fishing Knives Reviewed & Rated For Quality

last updated Mar 21, 2019

When we think of fishing/filleting knives, we immediately think of stainless steel. For any metal that’s going to continually come into contact with water and blood and that may not get a good wash immediately after every use – stainless steel is a must. And for saltwater applications, there’s no other option. When comparing stainless knives, particularly for use in salt water, it’s sensible to stick with top quality manufacturers. Fishing knives get a lot of work. They aren’t like pocket knives that sometimes spend most of their working lives tucked safely away, only to skin the odd animal. Fishing knives are constantly turning to the use of processing fish, as well as all kinds of other uses when on the water – from cutting fishing line to chopping bait and all things in between.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 11 hrs of research

icon
 Rapala Fish-n-Fillet Superflex
99.1/100 our score
Model
100
Features
99
Value
99.4
Durability
98
Rapala Fish-n-Fillet Superflex
Why is it better?

Number of sizes available for different tasks

Attractive knife and sheath package

Non-stick coating for ease of cutting fish

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
 Rapala Fish-n-Fillet Superflex
Test Winner: Rapala Fish-n-Fillet Superflex
Researched Sources
19
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
32
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
11
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
45
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By :

To ensure you are aware of the most recent changes in the market as well as more rich content, we regularly update our list. While we did not find any knives that should replace the ones already listed, we have added some questions and answers, more criteria when selecting, and information about flex tests, electric knives, sharpeners, and pouches. Be sure to check back periodically for any new changes.

Sorting Options
Model Features Value Durability By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99.1
Model
100%
Features
99%
Value
99.4%
Durability
98%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$20.99
See Deal
$22.53
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.1
Model
97%
Features
98.2%
Value
97%
Durability
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$16.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Model
96%
Features
95.7%
Value
95 %
Durability
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$29.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
Model
94%
Features
95%
Value
95.6%
Durability
92.5%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$32.50
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.1
Model
92%
Features
93.5%
Value
93%
Durability
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$39.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.1
Model
90%
Features
89.2%
Value
89%
Durability
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$37.16
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Model
87%
Features
86.7%
Value
85%
Durability
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$21.89
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.3
Model
86%
Features
85.3%
Value
86%
Durability
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$44.95
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.9
Model
83%
Features
82%
Value
81.4%
Durability
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$13.80
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.1
Model
80%
Features
79.4%
Value
79%
Durability
78%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.04.19)
$44.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Rapala Fish-n-Fillet Superflex
  • Victorinox Fibrox Flexible Blade – 6”
  • Rapala 6” Fillet
  • Victorinox Fibrox Flexible Blade
  • Victorinox 7” Straight Blade Fillet
  • F Dick Ergogrip 8”
  • F Dick Ergogrip 6”
  • Wusthof Pro 9”
  • Kershaw Fillet
  • Swibo Fillet
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Fishing Knives

1. Rapala Fish-n-Fillet Superflex

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
99.1
 Rapala Fish-n-Fillet Superflex
Model
100
Features
99
Value
99.4
Durability
98
best offer for today
more shops
$22.53
$20.99
See Deal
Pros:

Number of sizes available for different tasks

Attractive knife and sheath package

Non-stick coating for ease of cutting fish

Cons:

Superflex blade isn’t as well suited to cutting through heavy bones

The wooden handle can degrade with sustained use in/around water

Rapala is well-regarded by anglers, not only for its lures but fishing accessories. The Superflex knife by Rapala is a great low-cost, attractive knife that comes with a sheath. With three sizes to choose from, it’s likely that there’s one to suit your needs.

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Superflex, PFTE coated blade
The blade of this Rapala is extremely flexible allowing the user to hug the frame of fish no matter how fiddly. This, of course, has limitations when it comes to cutting through heavy bone (as are found in the bass if eating them is your thing) but again, this blade is designed to slip over them for a boneless fillet. The PFTE coating ensures that minimal effort is required to slip the blade through fish flesh which can be sticky resulting in clean, well-shaped fillets for the pan.

Features and Specifications
3 blade lengths available – 4; 6; 7 1/2”
attractive leather sheath included
PFTE coated stainless steel blade
Superflex blade
birch wood handle

Cost and Value
The Rapala Superflex is great value for money, and Rapala knives are well-regarded by many fishermen. For an attractive, useful knife and sheath this is a bargain.

2. Victorinox Fibrox Flexible Blade – 6”

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.1
 Victorinox Fibrox Flexible Blade –  6”
Model
97
Features
98.2
Value
97
Durability
96
best offer for today
$16.99
Pros:

Excellent quality product

6” straight blade extremely versatile

Comes with a Fibrox Pro handle

Cons:

Sheath not included

Victorinox makes some of the best knives available – full stop. They don’t come with any gimmicks, just top quality steel that’ll most likely last as long as you’re capable of catching a fish.

Read more

Simple 6”
The 6” Fibrox version is a handy size for small and medium-sized fish and is well suited for fresh or saltwater use.

Features and Specifications
Fibrox Pro handle
High quality flexible stainless steel blade
Straight blade design

Cost and Value
This knife is very affordable and for the price, you receive a top quality knife from Victorinox – a leading knife manufacturer.

3. Rapala 6” Fillet

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Rapala 6” Fillet
Model
96
Features
95.7
Value
95
Durability
94
best offer for today
$29.99
Pros:

Stainless steel

Plastic handle for longevity and grip

Low cost

Cons:

Sheath not included

The Rapala 6” fillet knife is the no-nonsense, knock-about workhorse of the Rapala team. Its simple, rugged construction with a cast resin handle and stainless steel blade will work and last in the toughest conditions.

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Won’t Rot or Rust
For a fishing knife that’s going to see a lot of use either in fresh or saltwater – the Rapala 6” is a good choice. The hard plastic handle won’t rot or warp like wood can, and its stainless steel blade will perform without blemish for years as long as it’s given the odd rinse.

Features and Specifications
cast resin handle
stainless steel blade
6” blade length very versatile

Cost and Value
For what it is this knife is the best value around. The blade isn’t going to be the same grade steel like some of the other knives on this list but it’s still going to get the job done.

4. Victorinox Fibrox Flexible Blade

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.3
Victorinox Fibrox Flexible Blade
Model
94
Features
95
Value
95.6
Durability
92.5
best offer for today
$32.50
Pros:

Deeper blade for exerting more power

Victorinox product

This knife is incredibly powerful and strong

Cons:

Long, broad blade makes it difficult to fillet small fish

The 8” knife from Victorinox is for heavy-duty work and larger fish. It’s a great choice for salmon and large saltwater species.

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Increasing Size and Strength
The 8” flexible blade ensures that this knife will work great on fish with more depth of blade to exert extra power when cutting through bones and a longer blade for wider filleting jobs.

Features and Specifications
Fibrox Pro handle
High quality flexible stainless steel blade
Straight blade design
8” blade length

Cost and Value
The Fibrox 8” fillet knife is another great value product from Victorinox. For larger fish, this knife is a great value for money.

5. Victorinox 7” Straight Blade Fillet

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.1
Victorinox 7” Straight Blade Fillet
Model
92
Features
93.5
Value
93
Durability
90
best offer for today
$39.95
Pros:

Great looks and feel in the hand

7” blade use

ul for medium to large fish

Made from one of the best brands in the industry

Cons:

Wooden handles require more maintenance

The Rosewood handled 7” filleting knife from Victorinox is a high quality, great looking fishing knife.

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The Appeal of Wood
There’s nothing quite like a wooden handled butchers knife. For looks and comfort in the hand, they have no plastic equivalent. This knife from Victorinox fits the niche for anyone wanting an attractive, top quality knife.

Features and Specifications
Rosewood handle
7” flexible, straight blade

Cost and Value
This knife is the most expensive option on the list but that being said, it is still an affordable knife that’ll last as long as any other product out there.

6. F Dick Ergogrip 8”

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.1
F Dick Ergogrip 8”
Model
90
Features
89.2
Value
89
Durability
88
best offer for today
$37.16
Pros:

Made in Germany by F Dick

Shallow blade design cuts through flesh with less resistance

Comfortable handle

Cons:

Less suitable for small fish

F Dick is the other big name in butchers’ knives, and the 8” fillet knife is a good choice for large fish.

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Plenty of Cutting Surface
The 8” F Dick is a long knife to start with and by incorporating a curved blade design, the extra cutting surface is provided. The broad point at the tip of the knife gives a more forgiving stroke than s similarly curved, sharply pointed one making this knife easy to use.

Features and Specifications
8” curved flexible blade
ERGOgrip handle
Hi-carbon stainless steel

Cost and Value
F Dick knives are of similar cost as other brands like Victorinox and offer the same level of quality manufacture. They are well worth the price.

7. F Dick Ergogrip 6”

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
 F Dick Ergogrip 6”
Model
87
Features
86.7
Value
85
Durability
86
best offer for today
$21.89
Pros:

Made in Germany by F Dick

Shallow blade design cuts through flesh with less resistance

Comfortable handle

Versatile size for small to medium fish

Cons:

Less suitable for large fish

The 6” version of the filleting knife by F Dick fills the gap for a quality, German-made knife for small to medium sized fish.

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A Handy Package
Curved blades are most common as butcher’s knives for livestock but they give a greater cutting surface for blade length, and a high degree of agility control when cutting around bones. The most noticeable difference between straight and curved blades when used for fish is in skinning the fillets with it being slightly more difficult with curved blades. That being said, they are very functional knives.

Features and Specifications
6” curved flexible blade
ergo grip handle
Hi-carbon stainless steel

Cost and Value
This is another affordable, great value fishing knife up to any work you can throw at it.

8. Wusthof Pro 9”

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.3
Wusthof Pro 9”
Model
86
Features
85.3
Value
86
Durability
84
best offer for today
$44.95
Pros:

Proven filleting blade shape

9” blade length for large fish

Made in Germany

Cons:

Unsuitable for small fish

Wusthof knives are another quality product from a German manufacturer. They are known for the quality of their knives.

Read more

Big Knife for Big Fish
With a 9” blade, the Wusthof is designed for large fish. It’ll cut great fillets off salmon, but don’t try to work on a panfish unless you like to struggle.

Features and Specifications
9” flexible blade
high carbon stainless steel
black poly handle

Cost and Value
The Wusthof is on par with other quality knives on this list and makes another affordable option.

9. Kershaw Fillet

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.9
Kershaw Fillet
Model
83
Features
82
Value
81.4
Durability
81
best offer for today
$13.80
Pros:

Comes with positive gripping sheath

Economical

Comes in two different sizes for consumers to pick from

Cons:

Bulky

The 7 and 9” options available in the Kershaw fillet knife give the choice of a blade more suited to small/medium fish or medium/large fish. This knife is a good, inexpensive option that comes with a sheath.

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Comes with Sheath
Having a sheath to protect the knife and people around it when it’s not in use is a good idea – and the Kershaw is one of few knives on this list that comes with one. The sheath is snug fitting and the knife positively ‘clicks’ into place – ensuring it doesn’t accidentally fall out.

Features and Specifications
7 and 9” blade lengths available
420J2 stainless steel
Co-polymer handle
Plastic sheath included

Cost and Value
It's an inexpensive knife and good value as it comes with a sheath.

10. Swibo Fillet

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
79.1
Swibo Fillet
Model
80
Features
79.4
Value
79
Durability
78
best offer for today
$44.99
Pros:

Very durable steel resistant to damage

Yellow handle easy to see

One of the higher quality knives on this list today

Cons:

Steel hardness can make it difficult to sharpen

Swibo by Wenger is another well-regarded butchering knife produced in Switzerland. The blade is almost 8” in length and it in the class of mid to large-sized.

Read more

Hard Steel
Swibo knives hold their edge well due to the hardness of the steel used in their manufacture. The steel is also highly resistant to corrosion – which is another good thing for saltwater use. Being so hard, however, means that it’ll take a bit more work to put an edge on these knives.

Features and Specifications
7 9/10” straight flexible blade
Yellow, plastic handle for good grip and high visibility

Cost and Value
The Swibo is one of the more expensive knives on this list. It’s a good quality knife.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Model

It’s important to choose the right size of the knife to sit the majority of work it’ll be used for, blade length was an important consideration. Several of the models included in the list are available in various blade lengths which makes it easier to pick a knife you like then choose the length. Others are similar knives with different models of different lengths.

The inclusion of a sheath says nothing about the quality of the knife and it’s unfortunate that the best knives don’t come with a sheath included. The few models that did contain quality steel and that included a sheath were obvious candidates for inclusion on this list. The Rapala Superflex ticks a lot of boxes here as it’s affordable, attractive, made from relatively good steel and comes with a snug-fitting leather sheath. This makes it one of the best options for the fisherman after a one-stop-and-go option.

Features

Continued exposure to water, salt, sun, and blood wreak havoc on handle materials. Wooden knife handles fare the worst in these conditions, and for simple reliability and longevity, plastic handles are to be favored in most cases for a fishing knife.

A couple of wooden handled knives were included in this list because – let’s face it – wooden handled knives look good! They also fit well in the hand and are comfortable to use. With a little extra attention, a wooden handle can last for a long time, even in the testing conditions of a fisherman’s pack.

Value

The good thing about fishing knives is that you can get the best quality available for an affordable price. Butchers’ and chefs’ knives as tools are made to be economical and this is a great bonus to the recreational angler. None of the knives on this list is going to hurt the hip pocket.

The Rapala knives on this list are fantastic value considering how fit for purpose they are. If you’re in the market for an inexpensive knife these are the way to go.

Durability

While most fishing knives are durable, many factors are involved when it comes to determining how durable one it. The greatest of these factors is the user, themselves. A knife not properly cared for will dull, rust, break and more; therefore, ensuring the blade is cleaned and dried after each use will significantly increase the life of your knife.

Another major factor is the steel. A softer steel does not always maintain the edge necessary despite proper care. On the other hand, a harder steel may not flex the way one should because it is too brittle.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
Model
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#2
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#3
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Consider the Steel Type

As was stated in the introduction to this review, stainless steel is really the only way to go for fishing knives. There isn’t much need to get bogged down in specific steel grading. As long as you buy quality from the start – you’ll never have an issue with corrosion. Flexible blades are very important for fish filleting knives as they allow pressure to be applied to slicing while the knife forms to the bones of the fish ensuring a clean cut and minimal wastage. Additionally, a flexible blade can be pushed down against the cutting board while skinning a fish fillet, keeping the blade flat against the skin without making a mess of the flesh or cutting through the skin itself.

Know the blade shape

The generic style of a fish filleting knife looks similar to that of the Rapalas in this list: a relatively narrow, straight-spined blade with the cutting edge curving up to the tip. Some knives have a slight upward curve in the spine towards the tip. This design allows the blade to slice flesh with minimum resistance due to its narrowness. The very narrow, up-curved point gives great dexterity for fine work (depending on blade length). Generally speaking, any straight-bladed knife design works best for fish filleting. This allows for easy skinning of fish fillets in particular. Curved ‘boning’ style blades end up with a lot more surface area in contact with flesh and skin during this process and are more difficult to finish the job with.

The blade length is important

The length of the blade effectively limits the size of fish a knife is capable of working on easily. Panfish and even small walleye are well suited to a dinky 4” blade for ultimate accuracy and fine work without an extra blade to deal with and keep sharp. Knives in the 5 to 7” range are good all-rounders that’ll perform well on smallish to largish fish. Long knives of 8” or more are best suited to large fish – like salmon or tuna – where long cuts are called for. It’s much easier to get a clean fillet with a knife that is longer (but not too much) than the fish’s depth of body.

Know the storage you want

It’s best to keep a knife sheathed when not in use – to look after the knife and to protect the user and others around. Unfortunately, most butchers knives don’t come with a sheath and one will have to be sourced separately. Two options in this list, the Rapala, and the Kershaw, do come with an included sheath. Both are inexpensive knives so may be a good option for that reason.

Other Factors to Consider

Flexibility

An important consideration when choosing a fishing knife is the amount of flex it possesses. When it comes to optimum slicing and cutting, flex can be vital to making the job of filleting much simpler.

The flex in most cases is contingent on the thickness of the blade. The thinner the blade, the more flex it will have, and vice versa. There should be more flex in a shorter blade, as sharper cuts and tighter angles are required when working on smaller fish. When working with longer blades, there should be a certain degree of flex to them. However, maintaining the flex in the shorter blades are more important.

Blades that are four and 6-inch fish knife blades should be considered flexible and quite thin. When applying pressure while the tip is pressed straight down, the blade should turn or “bend” about an inch, perhaps more. As the lengths of the knife increases, the entire blade should maintain flex. But, the thickness is added when the length of the blade is increased, as they must exude greater strength capabilities.

Advanced Features

For those of you that clean fish regularly, another option you might consider is an electric fillet knife. This type of tool effortlessly works through all sorts of fish, saving effort, time, as well as patience. An electric fillet knife can take some getting used to, but once you catch on, there are great benefits.

Most models of electric knives include a rechargeable battery pack, 110V wall plugs, 12V light plugs (excellent for those times when the only source of power is your vehicle), as well as 12V battery post clips. Add a travel case and you are good to go.

Bottom Line

A fishing knife sees a lot of work in its lifetime and this needs to be considered when choosing the knife. Selecting a high-quality product from the start will ensure that the user is satisfied with their purchase. The best quality knives are those designed for use by professionals in the industry such as professional fishermen, butchers, and chefs. These knives will stand up to all the abuses a fisherman can throw at them and continue to be reliable for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How durable are fishing knives?
a:

It sometimes seems a bit odd that such a light gauge blade can be that durable but rest assured – they are. The flexibility built into the blades of fishing knives ensures that they can withstand considerable forces placed upon them. Remember to keep this within reason though. It’s easy to feel the limit of a blade – it’ll bend easily to a point before extra pressure causes little change in the bend. The point where this begins is the maximum safe bend inherent within the blade. Don’t over-bend any knife because a flying shard of the blade can cause all kinds of accidents.

q: Are they easy to sharpen?
a:

Most are. Particularly those from high-quality manufacturers like Victorinox and F Dick who use steel designed to be the best trade-off between hardness and ease of honing. Flexible bladed knives come with their own intricacies of sharpening. The very flexibility of the blade can cause problems when sharpening them on a whetstone, with the blade bending and causing uneven grind. The easiest way (and the correct way to use a stone) is to apply minimum pressure on the stone while grinding the blade.

You don’t want to wear the blade out unnecessarily! Even, firm pressure is all that’s required to take the shoulder off a blade and re-hone the edge. Due to the thinness of fishing knife blades, a little work goes a long way and you’ll be back to shaving sharp in no time.

q: What is the best length?
a:

The length of the blade depends on what it’s going to be used for. Short blades are best for fine work and small fish, while longer blades work are most effective on large fish and where slicing is more prevalent than tricky boning.

As a rough guide – the ‘correct’ length blade should be just a little longer than the depth of the fish’s body (from back to belly) at its widest point. This ensures that the blade can be passed entirely through the fish during filleting and entirely through the fillet during skinning to give a single, clean cut and solid fillet with minimal wastage. Long knives are also great for slicing steaks/cutlets from large fish, and a short blade would need many slices to do the job.

q: What are the differences between a manual fishing knife and an electric?
a:

The many differences between an electric and manual knife. When compared to the manual, an electric one weighs more and works quicker. Electric is also more expensive than the manual.

q: Are a boning knife and filleting knife the same thing?
a:

No, these knives are not the same. The fillet knives are the best when it comes to filleting fish as the blade has a thinner construction. A boning knife has a thin blade, but not as thin as the one on the fillet knife. Boning knives are also not as flexible as a fillet knife.