Fillet Knife

The single most important thing to remember is that a good fillet knife provides a sharp edge that will be used to separate the fish fillet from the fish so that you can enjoy the rewards of your catch.  These knives can be made from different types of metal or steel, preferably a stainless steel alloy that will hold its sharp edge through many cleanings.  You will find a variety of fixed bladed knives in various lengths.  Fixed blade fillet knives require you to provide the power.   You will also find 3 types of electric fillet knives:

  1. Electric Fillet Knife - 110 volt,
  2. Battery Powered Fillet Knife - 12 volt, and also
  3. Portable Battery Rechargeable Knives.

Selecting your fillet knife is like selecting a friend - choose one that is comfortable in your hands, one that you feel you can safely clean your fish.  It is also important to maintain a sharp edge by using a knife sharpener, or an electric knife sharpener so that you cut smoothly, safely and quickly.   Keeping the blades clean and dry during storage will increase the life of your blades.

Fixed Blade Fillet Knife

More fish are filleted with fixed blades because they are easy to carry and can be used anywhere without worry of a plug in.  There are as many opinions as to which one is best as there are people who use them.  The differences are in the quality of the blade, the length, how flexible the blade is, and what the handle is made of.  

You will find fixed blade fillet knives made from wood, composite, rubber and a variety of plastics. Your decision should be made by feel and cost.  If you clean a lot of fish you can opt for a more expensive hardened steel blade which will hold its sharp edge longer.  Sooner or later all blades will need to be sharpened before usage.

Buck Knives 0033YWS Mr. Crappie 6.5 Slab Slinger Bait/Fishing Knife

This buck fillet knife has hardened steel and holds its edge well.  Highly recommended.  Pick one up and get started!  Sharpen as needed,  clean and dry your knife before storage and you knife will work and last you a long time.

Electric Fillet Knife

There are a number of electric models on the market to choose from.  The biggest difference between them is their electric motor.  The motors differ in their power, sturdiness, and dependability.  Some will get almost too hot to hold if you fillet more than 8-10 fish right after one another.   They all feature tandem cutting blades that are serrated and provide a cutting motion that goes through the fish and its bones with less effort than the fixed blade knife.  This can make the fillet process go faster and easier.  However, when first learning to use the electric fillet knife go slow at first because you could accidentally go too far and cut through the backbone and actually cut the fish in half.  

These are four good knives to consider.  We at PFT have used Mister Twister for many years, and attest to its power, comfort and ability to fillet a long time and not get hot.   Recently we have used the American Angler as well as the Rapala Lithium Fillet Knife.  The American Angler is really strong and quiet.  It also is the most comfortable knife we have handled.  Rapala's new Lithium knife works surprisingly well, does not get hot and the battery lasts up to 90 minutes of continous filleting. a whole days worth of walleye from 9 guys for example.

TWO WAY Fillet® Fish Cleaning System

FINALLY, the fillet board system anglers have been looking for is now available.    This patented fillet board and clamp securely holds slippery fish through the slimy fillet process in perfect fillet position. This means TWO WAY Fillet® provides you a safer, more efficient, and faster fillet process.  Is TWO WAY Fillet® different?  YES!  Their clamp holds the head (not the tail) to fillet any species of fish.  The more you clean the more benefit you will see.  Using TWO WAY Fillet® is like filleting with a third hand, and we here at PFT wholeheartedly recommend this incredible new product.   Fillet A Better Way®.   Available at many Scheels stores, at their on line e-commerce store and on

TWO WAY Fillet® Patented Fillet Board and Clamp, Fillet A Better Way (White, Original)

12 Volt Fillet Knife

Sometimes a 110 volt outlet is hard to find and having a battery powered knife handy is a big help.  Here is great branded 12 volt knife that can be used boat side when faced with that situation.   Keeping a fillet board on your boat will let you fillet your fish under virtually any circumstance.  This Berkley kit can be plugged into a 12 volt outlet, clipped to a 12 volt battery or even plugged into a 110 outlet with its 12 volt converter.

Berkley Fillet Knife Deluxe Electric with Stndrd/Vehicle Plg/Bttry Clips/Case, Red/Blk

This lithium battery powered fillet knife is awesome.  If you were going on a back pack trip and wanted to fillet one fish and have for lunch, this would be the electric knife to take.  Many hesitate because they wonder if the battery will last through the fillet process. Our experience has shown that cleaning 15 walleye, 4 pike and 4 smallies in an evening the battery is still going strong.  Up to 90 minutes of continuous filleting.  (9 guys can catch a lot of fish on one day in Canada)

Ready to Become Expert in Filleting

Now you know about the knives to look for to begin to fillet your fish.  If new to an electric knife, just go slow in the beginning.   Click on these links to read more about other tools and specific techniques to make the perfect fillet.

  1. HOW TO FILLET FISH: Learn about fish anatomy - Find Your Fillet, Clean Rinsing, Freezing Fish Fillets
  2. HOW TO A CLEAN FISH: Make sure you have all the tools you need to learn how to fillet fish
  3. FILLETING FISH: Step by step pictures of filleting fish

Keep Your Fillet Knives Sharp

How often should you sharpen your knife edges?  That depends on just how often you use your knives, how many bones you have cut through, and the surfaces you have cleaned your fish.  Once a year you should consider doing a more thorough job using an electric sharpener, but if during your fillet session you notice any hesitancy of the knife passing through your fish,  you should pass the edge over a fine surfaced manual sharpener.