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A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Fishing Knife

March 15, 2024

A fisherman who actually catches fish knows he must have a full tackle bag of fishing equipment for all kinds of things. A premium fishing knife along with the right tackle for the form of fishing is also a must.

Fishing knives come in many shapes and sizes but with the same job in mind. Ensuring that getting the bait prepared correctly, filleting the catch and even de-scaling, all of these must be spot-on.

So we’ll take a look at a few factors that go into not just picking up a knife online or at the local tackle shop but getting a premium blade to do the job. 

Blade Material

The blade material in fishing knives is of prime importance. Due to its excellent edge retention and corrosion resistance, high-carbon stainless steel is a preferred choice, especially for a knife exposed to water and marine elements. 

The carbon content makes the blade stay sharp over time, while the stainless component prevents rust and staining. Also, when choosing a knife, look at the kind of steel and its properties, including your fishing environment and maintenance choices.

Blade Flexibility

Flexibility is a characteristic of a fillet knife that is a popular kind of fishing knifes. The flexibility of the blade permits accuracy when cutting and ensures it can easily slip around bones and flesh, leaving clean fillets. 

The flexibility of the blade will depend on its width and length since thin and long blades are flexible. Think about the species of fish that you usually catch, since bigger fish need a knife with some rigidity to handle the size and weight; however smaller fish require a blade that can carefully work through finer fillets.

Handle Grip

The handle acts as your feeler to the knife and is indispensable for control and safety. A proper fishing knife should have a handle that could stay comfortable for a long time and offer a non-slip grip. 

Rubber, textured plastic, and composites are also ideal selections. Some handles are also designed to conform to your hand, making it easier when you are doing activities in degrees, such as filleting many fish.


The durability covers both the blade and the handle. The knife should be made in such a way that it can bear the hard conditions on the boat while cutting and cleaning the fish, considering the elements and exposure. 

Choose knives that have full-tang construction, where the blade metal runs all through the handle, as it is the best design for added strength and sturdiness. Moreover, the joining of the blade and handle should not be evident to ensure that water does not penetrate, thus causing damage.

Size and Portability

The fishing knife size should correspond with the fishing type you are carrying out. To catch bigger fish, a long, sturdy knife is needed. On the other hand, a smaller and more versatile knife fits stream or lake fishing. 

Portability is equally important and your knife should be easy to carry in a sheath at your belt or tackle box. A lightweight knife with a safe sheath will mean it is always there when you need it and doesn’t weigh you down.

Types of Fishing Knives

  • Fillet Knife –  It features a smooth, flexible blade that allows for smooth and fast fish filleting. This is the part you never want to get wrong, so that all your hard work ends up with a bad cut, so ensure you clean and sharpen your knife, before and after use. 
  • Bait Knife – This type of knife is shorter and typically has a serrated edge, and it is used to cut and prepare bait. Again, make sure your blade is perfect; there is an art to preparing the right bait.
  • Boning Knife – This knife has a hard blade for precision work, as well as fish cut bone removal. These knives are not just for fishermen, they play an integral role in many commercial kitchens. Used by chefs and throughout the food processing industry, there’s plenty of choice out there to end up with a premium blade. 

Fishing Equipment – Choosing the Correct Knife 

The type of knife you will need will depend on the fishing environment. Saltwater fishers may give importance to corrosion resistance where as, the freshwater fisherman may consider versatility and fine tuning. 

Think about the routine activities that you go through while fishing, and pick a knife that can comfortably perform those tasks.

Complementing Your Fishing Equipment

The rest of your fishing accessories should be matched by your fishing knife. It should be equivalent in quality and function to your rods, reels, and other tackle. A well-selected knife becomes part of your fishing ritual as you grow to improve your angling technique.

Maintenance and Care

In order to keep your fishing knife in good shape, regular maintenance is the key. It involves the sharpening of the blade when it gets dull, cleaning after use and proper storage of the same. 

A good knife is always a good performer and the durability factor makes it a great investment for any angler.


Choosing the right fishing equipment means having the right fishing knife. However, it is the art of finding a balance between the sharpness, and durability of the blade and what kind of fishers you are targeting. Of course, fishing is diverse.  There is a major difference between fresh and salt water fishing and course fishing too.  With these major features in mind, you can choose a knife that will work for you on many fishing trips and will become an essential part of your fishing gear.