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Articles » Gear Reviews » Accessories » 7 Best Fillet Knives for Saltwater Fish: A Buyer’s Guide

7 Best Fillet Knives for Saltwater Fish: A Buyer’s Guide

Picking the best fillet knife for saltwater fish is critical if you want to make easy work of your catches. Not to mention, a poor quality knife is a risk hazard for you.

Use this guide to sift through the noise and pick yourself one that will last you a long time!

ImageProductDetails
sample-table__imageBest Saltwater Fillet KnifeGerber Controller
  • Sharp Blade
  • Great Grip
  • Sharpener on Sheath
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sample-table__imageKastKing Fillet Knife
  • Bright Handle
  • Good Price
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sample-table__imageBudget OptionRapala Saltwater Fillet Knife
  • White Handle
  • Stainless Steel Blade
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sample-table__imageElectricRapala Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet Knife Combo
  • Cordless
  • Powerful Motor
  • Interchangeable Blades
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sample-table__imageMorakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife
  • 6.1 Inch Blade
  • 12C27 Stainless Steel
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sample-table__imageDexter P94812 Fillet Knife
  • Chef Approved
  • Narrow Blade
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sample-table__imageBubba Blade
  • 7 Inch Blade
  • Titanium Blade Coating
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7 Best Fillet Knife for Saltwater Fish for 2020 Reviewed

1. Gerber Controller

Gerber Controller 10 in. Saltwater Fish Fillet Knife
  • Optimized to withstand harsh saltwater environments with...
  • Full tang 9Cr18MoV steel blade was specifically selected for...
  • HydroTread Grip is applied strategically in raised sections...

The Gerber Controller 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 will 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 to design a grip that gives you plenty of force to cut the fish without slipping. The over-molded a grip around the full tang of the knife and added different pieces of rubber and cutaways to 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

KastKing Fillet Knife, 9 inch Strong Fillet Knife
  • Razor Sharp Stainless Blades – All new KastKing knives...
  • The Right Knife For The Job - The 9” Strong Fillet Knife...
  • Non-Slip Super Polymer Grip - We use the most comfortable...

The KasKing fillet knife is a popular choice in the community because it’s a solid knife for the price. Plus, the bright orange stands out among the other fillet knives on the market. For the knife, KastKing chose to go with a G4116 German Stainless-Steel blade, but we’ve heard that it’s a pretty soft metal and therefore, will need to be sharpened often.

The grip is a comfortable polymer that is slip-resistant and bright, so you’ll never lose it. Since it’s not expensive, you can buy a few of these to keep on the boat, in your tackle bag, and wherever else you need a fillet knife.


3. Rapala Saltwater Fillet Knife

Rapala Saltwater Fillet Knife 7 inch
  • White "Comfort-Grip" handle resists heat and fatigue.
  • Super sharp stainless steel blade for years of service.
  • Flexible tip for delicate work.

Rapala makes a bunch of quality fish filleting knives, but not all of them are rated for saltwater use. It’s easy to forget to wash off your knife after a long day out on the boat for your blade to show signs of corrosion.

This fillet knife is best if you’re on a budget. They are barebones and don’t offer anything special in terms of superior grip or blade materials, but sometimes that’s what you’re looking for.

The beautiful thing about a budget filleting knife is that if you break it, lose it, or loan it, and your friend doesn’t give it back. It won’t hurt your wallet.


4. Rapala Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet Knife Combo

Rapala Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet Knife Combo
  • Lithium Ion Cordless Fillet Knife
  • Includes 6" & 7-1/2" Blades
  • 2 Lithium Ion Batteries & Wall Charger Included

If you’re in the market of making short work of a lot of fish, then it’s worth considering an electric knife for filleting fish. Rapala makes a quality cordless fillet knife with a steel blade that will hold up to both freshwater and saltwater fish.

The only complaint about this knife is changing out the steel blade. It’s not the most straightforward task if you’re unfamiliar with it, but make sure you read the instructions before you first use it. Also, if you’re going to be cutting large fish, then you’ll likely want to look for one with more power or stick with a substantial blade fillet knife.

With any saltwater knife, especially one that has moving parts, keeping it well maintained is critical. Make sure it has a sharp blade, and you lubricate it from time to time to reduce corrosion.

Check out our guide on some of the Top Electric Fish Fillet Knives.


5. Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife

Morakniv Fishing Comfort Fillet Knife with Sandvik Stainless Steel Blade, 6.1-Inch
  • Stainless steel fillet knife with patterned, high-friction...
  • 6.1-inch blade is versatile enough for most sizes of fish;...
  • Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel is known for its razor...

If you’re looking for a beautiful stainless steel blade that comes in both 3.5 and 6.1 inches in length, then 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 a bit if you’re going through multiple fish in a row. Depending on the type of fish you’re cutting, the blade will benefit from a quick tune-up.

When it comes to the best filleting knife, this one is one of the contenders. There are a few advancements made by other manufacturers which put them above the Morakniv; however, if you’re looking for a quality mid-ranged fish fillet knife, this one won’t disappoint you.


6. Dexter P94812 Fillet Knife

Dexter P94812 Fillet Knife, 7-Inch, Narrow
  • For chefs who want Dexter quality at its most affordable
  • 400 series stain-free high-carbon steel blade
  • Durable and slip resistant Polypropylene handles

Dexter has been making a stainless steel fish filleting knife that everyone from anglers to chefs have been using for a long time. The first time we heard about Dexter was from Anthony Bourdain, who said that 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 and haven’t needed to sharpen it all that 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.

We like it for its durability. You don’t have to worry about your spouse throwing it in the dishwasher and ruining the handle. You don’t have to worry about it dropping into the ocean off your boat and hurt your wallet. It’s just a good quality fish knife filleting the heck out of whatever you throw at it.


7. Bubba Blade

Sale
Bubba 7 Inch Tapered Flex Fillet Fishing Knife with Non-Slip Grip Handle, Full Tang Stainless Steel Non-Stick Blade, Lanyard Hole and Synthetic Sheath for Fishing, Boating and Hunting
  • DIMENSIONS: 13” overall length with 7” blade
  • EASE OF USE: Non-Slip Grip handle for outstanding grip...
  • RELIABLE: Features safety guards for protection from the...

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

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 to be. The full tang design and the high carbon stainless steel blade means it’ll last you a long time.


Everything You Should Consider Before Buying a Saltwater Fillet Knife

Picking a fillet knife doesn’t have to be hard. If you’re new to fishing and won’t be cutting up a bunch of fish, then we recommend you stick to an essential fillet knife like the Rapala or Dexter until you find yourself needing a more advanced tool.

If you’re still looking for help to understand the different features of a fillet knife and what sets them apart from each other, then let’s take a closer look at the various elements of fillet knives.

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

When you’re looking for a fillet knife, you want one that is curved from the handle up to a point. This allows the operator to have the ability to make detailed and precise cuts, which are essential when maximizing the amount of meat you take off the bone.

Since we’re worried about cleaning saltwater fish, the best fillet blades will be made of stainless steel. In this steel, the addition of chromium will be included to aid in corrosion resistance.

Sharpness

Most fillet knives are around the high-50s on the Rockwell hardness scale. This medium-level allows for the blade to keep an edge since the metal is a bit softer. Fillet knives are flexible to be able to remove the skin from the meat; therefore, most blades are thinner to allow for the flex.

The bevel on these blades is around 12-17 degrees, which allows for sharpness but reduces its durability.

Handle

The primary consideration for these knives is the potential to slip and cut yourself. That’s why the handle you chose must be excellent in wet environments. It’s not just the water from the ocean that will make things slippery for you but also the fish itself.

We like the trigger handle shape because it gives a place for your index finger to rest, which is at the highest risk of slipping onto the sharp blade.

A lot of older fillet knives used wood for their handles, but now it’s not uncommon to find various types of plastics and rubbers used for added grip.

Cost

Cost is always a factor when picking the right fillet blade. When it comes to selecting the best fillet knife for saltwater fish, remember that saltwater is a harsh environment that requires a lot of care. If you choose to buy an expensive knife, remember that you’ll need to care for it more if you want to keep your investment.

Electric vs. Manual

If you’re going to be processing a lot of catches, then it’s worth looking into electric fillet knives. They are similar to reciprocating saws used in woodworking and will make quick work of any animal you put in front of it. The motor should be powerful and make sure you don’t get it wet otherwise, and you can break it.

Power Source

The two most common options are plugged in power and cordless. If you’re going to be cutting at home, then either option works. If you plan to take this blade on a boat, then we recommend that you get a cordless version so you can work with it in any situation.

How to Maintain Your FIllet Knife

  • Moisture is the enemy of metal. Therefore, do you best to rinse off the salt water with fresh water and let it dry before storing. Also, don’t soak your knife!
  • If you have a high-end knife, make sure you 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

Q: How do you fillet a saltwater fish?

A: 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.

Q: What is the best fish fillet knife?

A: 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.

Q: What is the best electric fillet knife for fish?

A: We like the Rapala Electric Fillet Knife when it comes to saltwater conditions.

Q: What knife do you use for fish?

A: We recommend a fillet knife that’s durable and comes with a quality blade.

Insider Advice

Work within your budget. If you’re not going to be fishing often and bringing home your catches, then it doesn’t make sense to go all out and buy an expensive blade. Keep it simple.

After a while, once you start processing a bunch of catch, then upgrade. You can always use your budget option on the boat or as a backup in case you lose your main one. We also recommend you have a couple in your possession, and you never know when you’ll need one for cutting lines or veggies.


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Jon Stenstrom
Founder

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