7 Best Fillet Knives for Saltwater Fish

Photo of author
Last Updated:

Filleting fish is a delicate process, and having the right knife makes all the difference. If you have ever experienced a dull fillet knife, you know how frustrating it can be. Not only does it make the filleting process take longer, but it can also be dangerous.

A sharp fillet knife will easily glide through the fish, making for a much safer and quicker experience. Picking the best fillet knife for saltwater fish is critical.  Use this guide to sift through the noise and pick one that will last you a long time!

7 Best Fillet Knife for Saltwater Fish Reviewed

1. Gerber Controller

Key Features:

  • Finger choil
  • Lanyard hole
  • Sheath system with built-in sharpener, pocket, vents, and clip
  • Corrosion-resistant blade
  • Hydro Tread grip
  • A glass-reinforced polypropylene handle
  • Optimize to withstand harsh conditions

The Gerber is a newer knife on the market, and they’ve done their homework when it comes to the design. They reached out to anglers from all over to get their input on what they’d want in a fillet knife and sheath and implemented those recommendations.

The first thing they did was pick a corrosion-resistant yet sturdy steel that would hold an edge in a saltwater environment. They went with a 9Cr stainless steel that allows for flex to get every piece of meat off the fish while staying sharp.

The next best thing they did was design a grip that gives you plenty of force to cut the fish without slipping. The over-molded grip around the knife’s full tang and the different rubber pieces maximize your grip. Couple that with a hard yet easy-to-clean fishing fillet knife sheath, and you’ve got a winner.

2. KastKing Fillet Knife

Key Features:

  • A protective knife sheath
  • Non-slip super polymer grip
  • Razor-sharp stainless blade
  • It is thicker and stiffer than others

The KastKing Fillet Knife is a great option for those looking for a quality fillet knife that won’t break the bank. This knife features a razor-sharp stainless-steel blade thicker and stiffer than other knives in its class, making it ideal for larger fish. 

The non-slip super polymer grip ensures that your hand won’t slip when wet, and the protective knife sheath ensures that your knife stays sharp and ready for use. Its bright color makes it easy to spot in the boat or tackle box.

3. Rapala Saltwater Fillet Knife

Key Features:

  • Super sharp stainless blade
  • Flexible tip
  • Easy clean sheath
  • It has a comfortable grip

If you are looking for a knife to fillet saltwater fish, then the Rapala Saltwater Fillet Knife is a great option. The blade is made from super sharp stainless steel and has a flexible tip that makes it easy to maneuver.

The knife also has an easy clean sheath to keep it in top condition. The comfortable grip ensures that you can use the knife with ease.

4. Rapala Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet Knife Combo

Key Features:

  • Extra length to limit wrist and hand fatigue
  • Laminated and polished for a sanitary build
  • Incredibly razor-sharp
  • Outstanding craftsmanship
  • Expertly handcrafted to handle both small and large animals

The DALSTRONG fillet knife is one of the top-rated filleting knives on Amazon for a reason. It’s a great all-around knife that will tackle any fish you put in front of it.

This knife has a blade that’s 6 inches long and extra thin to make slicing through fish a breeze. The blade is also laminated and polished for a sanitary build that resists rust and corrosion.

The handle on this knife is slip-resistant and comfortable to grip, even when your hands are wet. Plus, the knife’s extra length will help limit wrist and hand fatigue.

Also, check out our guide on some of the Top Electric Fish Fillet Knives.

5. Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife

Key Features:

  • Excellent corrosion resistance
  • Exceptional toughness
  • High friction handle
  • Easy to clean
  • Available in 3.5 and 6.1 inch

If you’re looking for a beautiful stainless-steel blade that comes in both 3.5 and 6.1 inches in length, you should consider the Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife.

They use a 12C27 stainless steel blade which comes razor sharp, holds an edge, and fights against saltwater corrosion. We like the TPE rubber soft grip, which keeps the blade firmly in your hand and prevents dangerous slipping.

Even though this knife holds an edge, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be sharpened if you’re going through multiple fish in a row. Depending on the fish you’re cutting, the blade will benefit from a quick tune-up.

6. Dexter P94812 Fillet Knife

Key Features:

  • High carbon steel blade
  • Durable and slip-resistant polypropylene handles
  • High quality
  • Hollow-ground blades

Dexter has been making a stainless-steel fish filleting knife that everyone, from anglers to chefs, has been using for a long time. We first heard about Dexter from Anthony Bourdain, who said he used them in his kitchen to fillet fish before cooking them for his guests.

We’ve cut a bunch of fish with this knife without sharpening it often. It’s nice to have a knife that can hold an edge for a long time. The handle is barebones textured plastic, and it doesn’t come with a sheath like some of those more expensive fillet knives.

Its durability and simple design make the Dexter P94812 one of the best fillet knives for the money.

7. Bubba Blade

Key Features:

  • Non-slip grip handle
  • Durable
  • Rust resistant
  • An extra sharp tip
  • Sheath with a belt loop
  • Reliable

Bubba Blade has been making high-end fillet knives for some time. The distinct red handle and the titanium-nitride-coated black blade are a staple in the fishing community. You’ll need to consider this one if you’ve got some money to leverage and want a bold fishing filleting knife.

The soft grip is also non-slip, and you have a place to attach a lanyard so that you don’t lose this knife overboard. We like the trigger grip, which makes it easy to maneuver the blade to wherever you need it. The full tang design and the high carbon stainless steel blade mean it’ll last you a long time.

Everything You Should Consider Before Buying a Saltwater Fillet Knife

A quality fillet knife is a necessity for anyone who regularly cooks fish, whether they get their catch from fresh or salt water. While many types and brands of fillet knives are on the market, some considerations should be made before purchasing one to ensure it will suit your individual needs.

The following guide outlines everything you should think about before buying a saltwater fillet knife, from the blade material to the handle style.

Saltwater Fillet Knife Features

Best fillet knife for saltwater fish

A fillet knife is part of the boning knife family and is used to make quick work of removing meat from the skeleton of a fish and the skin from the meat.

Blade Material

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a fillet knife is the blade type. The two most common materials used for fillet knife blades are stainless steel and high-carbon steel.

Stainless steel is less likely to rust than high-carbon steel, making it a good choice for those who do a lot of saltwater fishing. However, it is also more difficult to sharpen and not as strong as high-carbon steel.

High-carbon steel fillet knives are sharper and easier to sharpen than their stainless-steel counterparts, but they are also more susceptible to rusting. If you opt for a high-carbon steel knife, keep it well-oiled and clean it thoroughly after each use.

Handle Style

If you’re doing a lot of filleting, it’s essential to choose a knife with a comfortable handle. Some of fillet knives’ most popular handle styles are rubber, wood, and plastic.

Rubber handles are slip-resistant, making them a good choice for those with sweaty hands or using the knife in wet conditions. Wood handles look nicer than plastic or rubber but can become slippery when wet.

Plastic handles are lightweight and inexpensive but not as durable as rubber or wood. Also, there are two types of handles the trigger grip and the standard grip.

The trigger grip is easier to maneuver the blade with because you can place your index finger on the trigger. The standard grip is the more traditional way to hold a fillet knife.

Blade Length

You also need to consider the length of the blade when choosing a fillet knife. A longer blade will give you more leverage, making it easier to fillet larger fish. However, a shorter blade is much easier to control, making it a better choice for smaller fish or those with less experience filleting.

The thickness of the blade is also something to take into account. A thinner blade will flex more, making it easier to maneuver around the bones of a fish. However, a thicker blade will be more durable and less likely to break.


When you’re looking at fillet knives, you’ll notice that some are more flexible than others. A more flexible blade is better for filleting smaller fish because it can easily contort to fit around the bones. A less flexible blade is better for larger fish, as it will be less likely to bend under pressure.


A sheath is not strictly necessary, but it is a good way to protect your knife and keep it from rusting when not in use.

Fillet knives with sheaths often have a belt loop, making them easy to carry with you when you’re out on the water. If you opt for a knife without a sheath, keep it oiled and stored in a dry place when not in use.

How to Maintain Your Fillet Knife

Once you’ve found the perfect fillet knife, it’s essential to take care of it to last for years to come. Here are a few tips on how to maintain your fillet knife:

  • Clean the knife after each use. Saltwater is incredibly corrosive, so be sure to rinse the knife off in fresh water and dry it thoroughly after each use.
  • Apply a light coat of oil to the blade after each cleaning. This will help to prevent rust and keep the blade in good condition.
  • If the knife becomes rusty, you can remove the rust by scrubbing it with a stiff brush and some white vinegar.
  • If you have a high-end knife, check if it’s dishwasher safe. Some of the more advanced grips can’t handle the dishwasher’s abuse.
  • Keep your harsh detergents away from your knife. Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Sharpen your knife often with a quality sharpener or block. A sharp knife is a safe knife.
  • Keep your cutting surface soft. Don’t cut on marble countertops or items that could dull or chip your blade edge.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fillet a saltwater fish?

We like to place the blade behind the pectoral fin and cut through. Then place the edge and cut down the spine until you get to the tail. Then slowly peel the meat away from the bones and rib cage until you can pull the fill entirely away from the carcass. Remove the skin and work on the other fillet.

What is the best fish fillet knife?

The best fillet knife for saltwater fish is one that can stand up to the abuse of the ocean and hold an edge. If you’re on a budget, we like the Dexter Fillet Knife. If you have more money to blow, then we recommend the Gerber Controller.

What is the best electric fillet knife for fish?

We like the Rapala Electric Fillet Knife for saltwater conditions.

What knife do you use for fish?

We recommend a durable fillet knife with a quality blade.

Insider Advice

Saltwater fillet knives are a great investment for any fisherman or woman. They provide the perfect tool for filleting your catch and, with proper care, will last for many years.

Be sure to consider the factors we’ve discussed before making your purchase, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect knife for your needs.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
× How can we improve it?
× Thanks for your feedback!

We're always looking to improve our articles to help you become an even better fisherman.

While you're here, why not follow us on Facebook and YouTube? Facebook YouTube

Dive Knife

Best Dive Knife – Our Top 6 Picks for 2023

Our best dive knife for scuba & freediving in 2023 is Cressi Skorpion Dive Knife. This tempered stainless steel knife tops our list because it’s durable, sharp, and safe. It has a sheath with a locking mechanism. The other option is the AquaLung Squeeze Lock Knife, which is small, easy to use, and has a
marlin taken for dinner

How To Kill A Big Fish (And Be Mentally Ready For It)

I was 30 when I put a knife through a big fish’s brain. I was 15 hours south of the US border, floating by myself in the Pacific Ocean. I had just finished a seven-minute rodeo with my largest yellowtail trying my best not to get tangled in my reel line. Adrenaline was coursing through
how to fillet bass

How to Fillet Bass

Although bass can be a delicious fish, the proper cleaning techniques can make the difference between a fine meal and a wonderful one. How to fillet bass can be challenging, especially if you’ve never seen it done before. But if you clean, gut, and fillet the fish correctly, you can cook your sea bass or
how to fillet redfish

How To Fillet Redfish — A Quick and Easy Guide

Are you wondering how to expertly fillet redfish for your next home-cooked meal? Understanding how to properly fillet this popular and flavorful fish is essential for anyone looking to bring out the best of their seafood dishes. In this comprehensive guide, we’re sharing how you can fillet redfish. Many anglers usually score one of the
how to clean and fillet california sheephead

How to Clean and Fillet California Sheephead

The California Sheephead is a favorite fishing target of many SoCal spearos. The carnivorous bottom fish species are not only large, strong, and fun to catch underwater but are also tasty. Catching the California Sheephead California sheepheads have big scales and can grow large over a long period of time. What’s more entertaining about these
best gerber knives

The Best Gerber Knives for Hunting and Fishing in 2023

The Gerber Knives brand has an impressive 80-year-old history that is hard to beat. During that time, it has evolved as one of the best knife makers who have made it a favorite among anglers who love to fillet their own catch and camping enthusiasts. If you are trying to find the best Gerber knives