What Are the Different Types of Fish Fillet Knives?

Patti Kate

Fish fillet knives include electric models, as well as manual knives. Some fish fillet knives are made with folding handles for compact storage when traveling or camping. People who use fillet cutlery regularly may prefer knives with ergonomic handles, that are designed to eliminate stress on the finger joints. Fish fillet knives may also have double serrated stainless steel blades.

A fillet of salmon can be grilled or broiled.
A fillet of salmon can be grilled or broiled.

Professional fisherman use fish fillet knives to clean their catch. Fisherman often choose fish fillet knives that have a titanium coating on the blades. The blades of these knives are typically about 6 or 7 inches (15.2 or 17.8 centimeters) in length. Many styles of professional fish fillet knives have wooden handles, often made in rosewood. Fillet knives typically come with some type of case or sheath for safe storage when not in use.

Filleting knives for salmon are usually thicker and heavier than knives for flounder or trout.
Filleting knives for salmon are usually thicker and heavier than knives for flounder or trout.

Various types of fillet knives are used by fisherman, camping enthusiasts, and chefs, depending upon which types of fish are to be cleaned and cut. For example, saltwater fillet knives are the choice for cleaning and filleting saltwater fish, such as tuna and swordfish. Some fish fillet knives are made specifically to be used for one type of fish, such as salmon. These knives are generally thicker and heavier than knives used for filleting trout, sole, or flounder.

Buying fish fillet knives in a set of four, five, or six is an option for many. Fillet knife sets include various sizes and styles, offering greater versatility than a single knife. Sets generally include a bait and line cutter knife, which is typically about 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) and may be used to fillet small varieties of fish. The bait and line knife is also used for cutting a fishing line. Many gift packs include a knife sharpener as well.

Fillet knives may be curved or contoured for flexibility. These help cut through fish bones and cartilage with ease. Another type of fish fillet knife is known as a boning knife. Flexible boning fillet knives are used for removing bone from fish, and generally do not have a bolstered edge.

Electric fillet knives are often preferred by those who frequently cook various types of fish. These electric models may be powered by household current or rechargeable batteries. Electric knives are often vented for proper dispersion of heat. Some electric fillet knives feature a coiled cord. Most electric fillet knives come with a double serrated blade as well as a flat blade.

Many fishermen keep a fillet knife in their tackle box.
Many fishermen keep a fillet knife in their tackle box.

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Discussion Comments


@Logicfest -- Some good news here is that even an inexpensive filet knife can be enough to get the job done if you are talking about smaller fish caught in a lake (I mean nothing over 10 pounds or so). Some fishermen make the mistake of buying something huge and expensive when that cheap little number down in the bait and tackle aisle will handle smaller fish just fine.

I think that is important to keep in mind because people do tend to take their filet knives out with them so they can cut up some fish for camp outs and such. Don't lug that expensive filet knife with you. Bring something you don't mind losing.


Think of three words when looking for a filet knife -- strong, thin and sharp. Here's the thing. You want one that is small enough to be able to effectively filet a fish, but not one so small that it breaks under heavy use. So, it needs to be strong. Also, it must be easy to sharpen and keep sharp because cutting out fish filets doesn't work so well if you are dealing with dull knives.

On an aside, I do believe this is the only way to enjoy fish caught out in the wild. If you do it right, you get nice slabs of meat and nothing else. A good filet knife lets you cut everything out nice and clean.

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