Fishing

Best Fillet Knives to Keep in Your Tackle Box

fish being filleted

There’s one big reason why many of us get into fishing, and it’s an important one: we enjoy eating what we catch.

It feeds us, and feeds our families. And sure, it’s always fun to hook into a monster and fight it forever, but sometimes we simply enjoy hauling in our limit and frying them up on the bank.

To do that, of course, you need a good knife to clean your fish. But not just any knife will do. Fillet knives should have a decent amount of flex to them to help strip the fish away from its skin.

And they should also be razor-sharp. I keep my knives sharp enough that I inevitably cut myself every time I’m cleaning. So much so, my buddies bought me Kevlar gloves. Joke’s on them—they work like a charm.

These are a few knives to keep in your tackle box, no matter where you’re fishing.

Rapala Fish ‘n Fillet Knife

Rapala Fish 'n Fillet Knife with sheath and sharpener
Image from Gander Outdoors

Rapala is a name that’s synonymous with catching fish, so it stands that they should know how to clean them too. The Fish ‘n Fillet knife comes in four inches, six inches, and seven and a half inches for variability in whatever you’re catching, but I like the six-inch blade for an everyday fillet. It’s a full-tang (meaning the blade is in one piece) and tapers up to a beautiful point and is made of razor-sharp Scandinavian steel.

There’s also a beautiful birch handle to help with grip. Add to that its affordability, and that it comes with both a sharpener and a leather sheath (because wrapping in paper towels doesn’t work nearly as well as you might hope), and you can see why it’s a must in your tackle box.

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Gerber Controller Fillet Knife

Gerber Controller Fillet Knife with Handle
Image from Gander Outdoors

Is there such a thing as a tactical fillet knife? If there is, it’s this Controller by Gerber. The knife is sharp, yes. It’s flexible enough, yes. But what really stands out is the handle. Its HydroTread Grip is both ergonomic and intended to hold better when your hands are wet or slimy.

It too comes with a sheath (with a built-in sharpener, no less). While this one is pricier, there’s no denying the quality you get with a Gerber.

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Rapala Hawk Fillet Knife

Rapala Hawk Fillet Knife
Image from Gander Outdoors

Two Rapala knives in the same list? Blasphemous. But seriously, Rapala knows how to fillet a fish. And this bargain of a knife is perfect for quick filleting. The stainless steel blade comes razor sharp and is beautifully flexible.

Of course, a more affordable knife means ceding certain qualities, and here you get a hard plastic handle. Granted, it’s textured to help grip and also features a significant finger guard—just in case things do slip. But for the price, it’s hard not to keep a couple around.

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Sea Striker 8-Piece Fillet Kit

Sea Striker 8-Piece Fillet Knife Kit with Case
Image from Gander Outdoors

I know, I know—this isn’t a fillet knife. It’s technically two fillet knives and a bait knife. Plus a pair of shears. And a sharpener. And a cutting board. And a pair of non-stick gloves. Oh, and they all come in a molded carrying case.

See why this kit is included now? Fish large and small. Delicate fillets and full-blown steaks. You’ll need a pretty big tackle box to hold this kit, but if you’re catching a wide variety of fish, a little kit like this can save you a lot of time when you’re cleaning.

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Don’t see the fillet knife for you? Check out all of the knives for sale at Gander.

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