Top 7 Best Fishing Knives in 2024 Reviewed by Expert [Buying Guide]

The Best Fishing Knives for 2023 Reviewed

Hey fellow angler, welcome to my review of the best fishing knives!

Maybe you’re a seasoned angler who’s been fishing for decades. Or maybe you just picked up your first rod last week. Maybe you’re a fly fisherman, or maybe you’re a deep-sea angler. Whatever your experience level or fishing style, a fishing knife is a staple in any tackle box. That’s why we went in search of the best fishing knives for you.

After 3 gruelling late nights and lots of energy drinks, these seven fishing knives were the fruits of me and my team’s labour.

During our search, we had to consider each knife’s sharpness, durability, and handle. One knife in particular stood out among the rest. That knife is the highly versatile Bubba Tapered Flex. Razor-sharp right out the box, super resistant to rust, and with an extremely long-lasting handle, we found no better fishing knife than this one.

In case that wasn’t what you were looking for, fret not. From fixed blade to electric knives, and budget options, we’ve included them all for your perusal.

Let’s begin!

Our Top 7 Picks

  1. Bubba Tapered Flex (Best Overall)
  2. Bubba Pro Series Cordless Electric Fillet Knife (Best Electric Fishing Knife)
  3. Gerber Controller Saltwater Fish Fillet Knife (Best For Large Fish)
  4. Gerber CrossRiver (Best For Small Fish)
  5. Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet Knife (Best Budget)
  6. Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife (Best Budget For Small Fish)
  7. CRKT Clark Fork Folding Fillet Knife (Best Portability)

The 7 Best Fishing Knives

Before we get started, note that some of the product pages’ weights are inaccurate. All our listed weights are our own measurements, so you can trust them.

Also, these knives are all full tang except the folding knives, electric knife, and the Morakniv Companion.

Now with that out of the way, let’s jump straight into it!

Best Overall

1. Bubba Tapered Flex

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length: 7 inches
  • Handle Material: Titanium + Stainless Steel
  • Handle Length: 8 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces

Starting the ball rolling is the Bubba Tapered Flex. Whether it’s filleting or boning, this knife won’t let you down. You’ll be getting remarkable sharpness, superb corrosion resistance, and exceptional hardiness.

Straight out of the box, this was the sharpest blade I had ever seen. Not only is it stainless steel, but it’s also coated with titanium nitride which makes it incredibly hard and aids it in warding off rust.

I took this stainless steel blade fishing and made quick work of my catch. I cleaned my catch in half the time of my fishing buddies. I’m not lying when I say that the next day, every one of them went and got their own Bubba Tapered Flex.

What’s even more impressive is how this folding knife feels as sturdy as a fixed blade knife. The locking mechanism gives off an aggressive click once in place. Once secure, the pivot is so well-built that it feels no different from a fixed blade knife.

Then, as if this knife wasn’t robust enough, Bubba decided to make it even more durable. Bubba went and crafted its handle with stainless steel and titanium. This gives you a tough handle that finishes off fish with a single whack and doesn’t corrode.

For those wondering whether this knife can both debone and fillet, yes, it can. The tapered flexibility balances flexibility for filleting fish and rigidity for cutting through bones. The semi-flexible blade also works well on heavier meats like tuna and wahoo.

Finally, to seal the deal, convenience comes in a package with this knife. You can attach the sheath to your belt with the belt loop or fold it to just 8 inches to keep in your pocket.

To sum it up, this is a convenient and versatile knife that can both fillet and debone fish. With its incredible sharpness, toughness, and resistance to corrosion, this is the best fishing knife that money can get.

Best Electric Fishing Knife

2. Bubba Pro Series Cordless Electric Fillet Knife

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length: 7-9 inches
  • Handle Material: Aluminum
  • Handle Length: 8.5 inches
  • Weight: 19.3-21.8 ounces

This next fishing knife is for those who want maximal results with minimal effort. It’s equipped with a state-of-the-art motor, deadly-sharp blade, and heavy-duty handle. Among electric fishing knives, this is the cream of the crop.

First off, this blade is stainless steel and coated with titanium nitride, much like the Bubba Tapered Flex. The difference is, this knife’s stainless steel has a higher concentration of carbon. This makes the already deadly blade even harder and sharper. I was able to slice up my turkey and brisket with ease using this electric knife.

The lethal and rugged blade aside, there’s also a heavy-duty handle. The hardy aluminum makes finishing off your catch a breeze. What’s more, the non-slip rubber tape around it provides a secure grip. It also maintains this grip even in slimy and wet conditions.

But that’s not what makes this the best electric fishing knife.

What truly sets the Bubba Pro Electric Fillet Knife apart is its motor. The futuristic brushless motor puts out 20+% more torque with the same amount of energy usage. No brushes also means no energy is lost due to friction. This translates to a motor that’s more than 20% more energy-efficient too. The result is the longest-lasting and most powerful motor on the market.

To top it all off, this electric knife set even comes with 4 different knives from seven to twelve inches. This allows you to take on fish of any size. We measured the weight of the assembled knife with each length, which is why you’ll see a range of listed weights.

I could find only two flaws with this knife. Number one, the trigger guard is too small for a gloved finger. Number two, the handle is bulky, even for big hands.

Other than those minor flaws though, you won’t find anything to complain about. If you’re looking for an electric fishing knife, there’s no better one than this.

Best For Large Fish

3. Gerber Controller Saltwater Fish Fillet Knife

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length: 10 inches
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Handle Length: 4 inches
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces

Designed for taking apart large fish, this electric knife was made for anglers who frequently fillet bigger fish.

For the blade, this fillet knife features stainless steel with Gerber’s Salt Rx coating for added corrosion resistance. Safe to say, this fillet knife was built to withstand harsh saltwater environments.

I tested this fishing knife out on walleyes and was able to fillet seven of them in minutes. I’d say it’s almost as sharp as the Bubba Tapered Flex.

If we’re talking handles, this fishing knife beats the Bubba Tapered Flex hands down. Fiberglass far exceeds steel in terms of toughness and resistance to corrosion. There’s also rubber-like thermoplastic around it. The fiberglass makes this far tougher than other knives. The thermoplastic ensures your grip won’t slip in even the slimiest conditions.

At this point, both knives are evenly matched. The Bubba Tapered Flex is sharper and a lot more portable. On the other hand, the Gerber Controller Saltwater Knife has arguably the best handle available. Its blade is also 3 inches longer and better suited for larger fish.

There’s one thing that puts the Bubba Tapered Flex above this fish fillet knife though – its versatility. This knife lacks the balance of flexibility and rigidity that the Bubba Tapered Flex has. As such, though deboning is still possible, it’s much harder than if you had the Bubba Tapered Flex.

In short, the Bubba Tapered Flex is better for anglers who want a fillet and boning knife in one. Otherwise, if your target species are much larger and you don’t need a boning knife, you can get this fillet knife. It’s also worth noting that this fishing knife is 5 bucks cheaper than the Bubba Tapered Flex.

P.S. If you’re thinking of using the Gerber Controller for smaller fish, the length might get in the way. I’d suggest sticking with the Bubba Tapered Flex.

Best For Small Fish

4. Gerber CrossRiver

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length: 3 inches
  • Handle Material: Fiberglass
  • Handle Length: 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 3.7 ounces

Next on our list is the Gerber CrossRiver. This is, in essence, the smaller version of the Gerber Controller.

Sharpness-wise, this knife has the same stainless steel blade with Rx coating as the Gerber Controller. Naturally, it’s as sharp and robust as the Gerber Controller.

Handle-wise, this knife is also outfitted with fiberglass and a layer of rubber-like thermoplastic. Once again, you can expect a similar level of strength and hardiness.

The only difference between this knife and the Gerber Controller is length. The Gerber CrossRiver’s handle is 0.5 inches longer, but the blade is 7 inches shorter.

I’m sure it’s obvious by now that the Gerber CrossRiver is really just a smaller Gerber Controller.

Longer blades like the Gerber Controller and Bubba Tapered Flex will only get in the way when filleting small fish. Anglers who mostly catch small fish might want to give this fishing knife a shot.

Best Budget

5. Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet Knife

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length: 6 inches
  • Handle Material: Birch
  • Handle Length: 4.5 inches
  • Weight: 6.7 ounces

If none of the above knives appealed to you, I’m guessing it’s a matter of price. That’s why we included the Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet Knife.

For the price of a few cups of coffee, you’ll be getting a stainless steel blade, birch handle, and even a sharpener.

The stainless steel blade isn’t coated, which explains its price. The lack of coating means the blade is less hard and resistant to rust. Notwithstanding that, stainless steel is still very much a solid choice that will get the job done.

The birch handle, needless to say, will never corrode or rust. Birch is hard and heavy with great shock resistance. It does wear out quickly though, so it’s less preferable than longer-lasting materials like steel.

This fishing knife isn’t going to do wonders, but it does what a fillet knife needs to, and it does it well. It’s also nice that Rapala threw in a sharpener, so you won’t have to buy one separately and incur more costs.

All in all, this is a great fillet knife that’s easy on your wallet and delivers on the most crucial aspects – sharpness and durability. For those looking to spare their wallet, look no further.

Best Budget For Small Fish

6. Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length: 4.1 inches
  • Handle Material: Rubber
  • Handle Length: 4.7 inches
  • Weight: 5.8 ounces

Another budget pick, this is the best budget knife for small fish.

For the blade, there’s no coating, but it is made out of stainless steel. As stated earlier, you’ll still have enough sharpness and hardness for filleting.

For the handle, rubber makes for a not-so-robust handle, but provides a very firm grip.

This time around, there’s no sharpener, which is why this fishing knife is $7 cheaper than Rapala’s.

As for length, both budget knives’ handles are roughly the same. But for the blade, this knife is almost 2 inches shorter, making it the perfect knife for small fish.

If you’re on a shoestring budget and often snag regular sized fish, you should get the Rapala Fish ‘N Fillet. However, for smaller fish, you’ll no doubt want the Morakniv Companion.

Best Portability

7. CRKT Clark Fork Folding Fillet Knife

  • Blade Material: Stainless Steel
  • Blade Length: 6 inches
  • Handle Material: Glass-Filled Nylon
  • Handle Length: 4.9 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 ounces

Finishing things off is the Clark Fork Fillet Knife.

Measuring a mere 7.1 inches when closed and weighing an unbelievable 1.8 ounces, this fishing knife is unbeatable in portability.

You’ll also be glad to hear that the blade is stainless steel and the handle is glass-filled nylon. Both materials can take lots of abuse and will withstand anything you throw at them.

If you value portability above all else in a fishing knife, this is the best fillet knife for you.

What To Consider When Buying A Fishing Knife

Ever looked at a fishing knife and thought “Would this make a good fishing knife?”. Well, by the end of this section, you’ll know exactly how to judge a fishing knife’s worth.

Intended Usage

Fishing knives are generally used for four purposes. Those four are filleting, portioning bait, cutting line, and slaughtering fish.

Fillet knives have a flexible, long, and thin blade to maneuver inside fish and yield the most meat.

For portioning bait, you’ll want a bigger and more sturdy blade.

For cutting line, any blade with a sharp edge will do.

For slaughtering fish, you’ll want a hard and solid handle. This is so that you can knock out your catch with a single hit.

Basically, a knife with a sharp edge and robust handle are must-haves. The only choice you have to make is whether to get a fish fillet knife or bait knife.

If you don’t fish with bait often, you’ll be better off with a knife meant purely for filleting fish. If you do fish with bait often though, you should go for a relatively slender and flexible, but slightly bigger knife that can both fillet fish and prepare bait.

Blade Material

A fishing knife may not be a samurai sword, but you’ll still need good-quality metal that can resist rust and is easy to sharpen.

Everyone knows you’ll need some kind of steel, so the real question is which type?

For fishing knives, the best blade materials are carbon steel, stainless steel, and tool steel.

Between those three steels, there are also different grades. For example, for stainless steel alone, you’ve got 420 steel, 304 steel, 5Cr steel, 7Cr steel, and so on.

There are too many grades of each type of steel to cover, but you don’t have to worry. Whatever the grade of carbon, stainless, or tool steel, it will be corrosion-resistant and easy to sharpen.

As such, as long as the steel for your knife is either carbon steel, stainless steel, or tool steel, you’ll be fine.

Blade Edge

Most fishing knives will have either a hollow grind or a flat grind. I could explain in detail what each type means, but here’s the gist.

Hollow grind blades are thinner, sharper, and more flexible, and are ideal for fillet knives. Flat grind blades are fatter, less sharp, and stiffer, but also more hardy. Hollow grind blades are better for filleting and flat grind blades are better for boning.

No matter what your blade edge, it’s critical that you keep a sharp edge. Even the best fishing knife in the world won’t be able to do much if it’s not sharpened. Blunt blades take more effort to cut through anything and you will have to exert a lot more force. This not only tires you out, but you’re also more likely to slip and cut yourself.

Ideally, your blade edge should be easy to sharpen. As mentioned above, make sure your blade material is one of the three steels.

Coating

The point of coating is to help your blade resist corrosion and scratches better. Similar to the different grades of steel, there are countless coatings for blades.

Since any product page will make its coating clear and state its purpose, you’ll have no trouble telling whether a fishing knife has coating for added corrosion resistance.

That said, it doesn’t mean that any blade that has no coating is going to rust once exposed to water. There’s no question that a coated blade will be more durable. However, as long as your steel is of high quality, it will hold up well against the elements even without coating.

Is It Legal To Carry A Fishing Knife Around?

In most countries and states, as long as you have a valid reason, you can lawfully carry a fishing knife around. For example, it wouldn’t make much sense to arrest a chef for carrying a cooking knife on the way to work, now would it?

Still, fishing knife laws vary from state to state and country to country. Make sure you check with your local authorities first.

Some states dictate that you have to keep your fishing knife concealed. Others may require you to keep it sheathed.

Either way, as long as you comply with the local laws, you won’t get into any sort of legal trouble.

My Verdict

From assessing a fishing knife to legally carrying it around, we’ve covered them all.

A good fishing knife greatly speeds up boring processes like deboning, filleting, and cutting bait. Hopefully, you found the right knife for you. In case you still can’t make up your mind on which one to get though, I recommend the Bubba Tapered Flex. It possesses outstanding sharpness, first-rate corrosion resistance, and top-notch sturdiness. More importantly, you can use it for both filleting and boning. You just can’t go wrong with the Bubba Tapered Flex.

On the off chance that you need any additional fishing gear, here are our fishing gear guides.

All the best, and be careful when handling your fishing knife!

Content retrieved from: https://fishingsensei.com/gear/others/best-fishing-knives/.

Fishing Life
Logo