Get the Best Folding Fillet Knife [Fillet Like a Pro]

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If you regularly prepare meat and fish, you’ll love to hear that the best folding fillet knife can make this process a piece of cake!

With the right folding fillet knife which is compact enough to be taken on the go, filleting fresh catch or prepping meat for the barbecue won’t just be easy, but also an enjoyable experience!

A folding fillet knife boasts a thin, flexible, short, and narrow blade that optimizes the maneuvers and allows you to make precise cuts. It gives you the needed control when working with different fish types and games.

However, since not all folding fillet knives are made the same, there are numerous options available.

Man cutting salmon on a board with best folding fillet knife

To prevent confusion, here at Knife Verge, we love making the research for you! Check out the best models below, as well as some extra tips you should consider.

Why Do I Need A Folding Fillet Knife?

When you choose the wrong knife for a job, you can waste precious game and fish. And, the process could also be slow and even frustrating. Plus, your risk of injuring yourself when using inappropriate knives is higher!

This being said, the best folding fillet knife is awesome when you’re transitioning your fish or catch from the lake to the plate. Thanks to their flexible and thin blades, they boost the maneuverability, help you make precise cuts, and allow for the ideal combo of control when you’re filleting.

Folding fillet knives are awesome because they become half their size when closed and therefore, are suitable for pockets while you’re fishing. A lot of folding knives also have a clip on one side that can be used to further keep the knife safe in the pocket.

Folding fillet knives are great for fishing small streams with small fish and finishing less demanding tasks like cutting lines and bait or later filleting the fish to prep it for the fire. You can open them in seconds to get to the blade. Moreover, the blade is securely locked in this position to optimize your safety.

Which Features To Consider Before Buying?

Once you’ve established that you need a folding fillet knife, it’s important to choose the best one. To do this easier, make sure it checks out the following features:

  • Blade

This is the most important part of the knife and it will determine the cuts you’ll make and their cleanness. Opt for blades that are resistant to corrosion and wet surroundings because salt water is known to reduce its performance.

Stainless steel is always a safe bet and provides enough strength, sharpness, and resistance.

  • Handle

The handle of the folding fillet knife you choose has to provide a comfy grip. This will ensure the slicing and dicing goes easy and fast. And, when using it outdoors, your hands may be wet so it needs to be non-slippery.

Moreover, in case you’re wearing gloves, you need a strong grip on the handle before you begin cutting. Folding fillet knives can have handles made of various materials ranging from wood to plastic or rubber.

Usually, the choice depends on personal preference-a handle that’s comfy and easy to hold and helps you tackle all the slicing and cutting effortlessly!

  • Size

Size of the knife matters as much as its sharpness. In fact, by choosing the right size of the knife and blade, you will directly influence how easy it will be to fillet a fish or game. And, the choice you’ll make concerning its size depends on the fish you plan to fillet the most.

You can find blades in several lengths and each is better with a certain type of fish. Namely, opt for shorter ones if you usually catch smaller fish the most like crappie or if you need to do precision work.

Filleting fish like trout or bass is best when using a medium-sized blade that’s approximately 7 to 7 ½ inches long. The longer blades are suitable for big fish.

  • Strength

In addition to the blade’s size, you also need to consider the strength too. This is to ensure the blade can do the job you want it to do. You can find various thickness levels and the thinner the blade is, the more flexibility you should expect.

Flexible fillet knives are useful when you need to tackle small fish or remove bones. However, take into account that the more flexible blades may not be efficient at slicing larger fish. This is because the strength is lower and the flexibility is high!

Straight vs. Serrated Blade

The debate on whether a straight or a serrated blade on a folding fillet knife is better has been going on for some time. And, there’s no right or wrong choice, but it’s a matter of preference.

Generally speaking, straight blades will be better at push cuts and show superior accuracy, control, and clean cuts, no matter if you’re cutting or slicing.

But, generally speaking, serrated edges are better than the plain ones in slicing cuts, particularly through tougher surfaces because the tiny serrations grasp the surface and cut it quickly.

Some of the power of serrated edges lies in its format so you will often see it perform optimally despite the blade going dull. The serrations’ high points touch the material first and give more pressure than the one with a straight blade and thus, ease the punctures.

If you want optimal shaving, apple skinning, or deer skinning, a fillet knife with a straight blade will help you do it easily and quickly. Serrated blades on the other hand are awesome to have when there’s a need to cut through a thick rope or wood or fish with tougher skin.

How To Clean My Folding Fillet Knife?

No matter if it’s a folding knife or any other type, the best way to clean them is to do it by hand in the sink with warm water and mild dish soap and then dry them right away.

Of course, you can find models claiming to be dishwasher-safe; however, leaving blades to soak in water for some time could mess up their longevity and performance!

When you take care of your knives the right way, they can be your best friends for a lifetime. Put some effort into proper maintenance and keep your blades strong and long-lasting.

Do I Need To Sharpen My Folding Fillet Knife?

Sharpening your fillet knife will depend on the type of blade you have, i.e. serrated or straight. The former tends to perform well even after its sharpness has reduced whereas the other one may need to be sharpened as soon as possible as you notice it’s gone dull.

Sharpening their blades isn’t overly demanding and you can do it in the comfort of your own home. There are several ways you can try and an electric sharpener is considered the easiest and simplest method.

Most electric sharpeners come with two stages, i.e. sharpening and honing. In order to sharpen the knife, you pass its edge on the slot several times until you get the desired sharpness.

With the honing step, you can bring back the blade’s sharpness before it goes dull. It’s also a great way to keep the blades in optimal shape after use.

Another way to sharpen your fillet knife is a whetstone; however, this one requires you to be more skilled to do the sharpening properly, or otherwise, it can ruin your blade’s edges!

Sharpening rods are suitable when you need to hone the blade quickly or when your knives go dull after you’ve cut several slices. The sharpening is easy-you just slide the blade over the round metal steel. Push the blade away from you to prevent injuries!

Best Folding Fillet Knives on Amazon

Top Pick

Bubba 5 Inch Lucky Lew Folding Compact Fillet Knife with Non-Slip Grip...

Bubba’s 5-Inch Lucky Lew Folding Fillet Knife is deservingly our top pick because it offers so many awesome features for the best possible filleting experience.

From the sturdy and sharp-pointed blade to the rubberized ergonomically designed handle, it’s built to serve and last!

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Budget Pick

Outdoor Edge Fish & Bone - Folding Fillet Knife with 5.0' 440A...

Outdoor Edge’s Folding Fillet Knife is a wonderful budget-friendly option.

It will be your go-to for filleting fish and game and surprise you with lovely extra features like the nylon belt sheath and its lovely Zytel handle.

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1. Bubba 5-Inch Lucky Lew Folding Fillet Knife

Bubba 5 Inch Lucky Lew Folding Compact Fillet Knife with Non-Slip Grip...

Product Information

Package Dimensions14 x 7 x 1 inches
Item Weight0.64 Ounces
ManufacturerBubba Blade Knives by BTI Tool
Price$40.55

Highlighted Features

  • Awesome grip
  • Amazing value for the money
  • Comes in a protective sheat
  • Perfect for detailed work

With an overall length of 11 inches and boasting a 5-inch blade, this folding fillet knife gives ultimate control and optimized grip.

It’s an ideal choice for detailed cuts and slices thanks to the super thin and extra-durable 8cr13mov blade.

Thanks to its built, you will easily fillet without losing precious meat. Moreover, the blade has been coated with Ti-Nitride to reduce the risk of rust whereas the sharp tip will make starting cuts effortless. The handle is really amazing and unique.

It’s an amazingly persistent knife on water and demanding saltwater conditions.

The handle offers a finger flipper for fast access, a liner lock for a secure cut, and a thin profile for easy carrying. We appreciate the sheath included which makes the carrying so easy!

2. Buck Silver Creek Folding Fillet knife

Buck 0220BLS Knives Silver Creek Folding Fillet Fishing Knife, Blue,...

Product Information

Package Dimensions0.39 x 0.39 x 0.39 inches
Item Weight3.53 Ounces
ManufacturerBuck Knives
Price$32.99

Highlighted Features

  • Amazing grip
  • Sharp & long-lasting blade
  • Lanyard loop
  • Doesn’t slip
  • Versatile

This is an awesome fillet knife to have! Its major selling point is its amazing grip.

It’s achieved thanks to the rubberized and anti-slip design (glass reinforced polypropylene with TPE rubber and a stainless steel guard) that helps you have total control over the blade, no matter if your hands are wet or there’s rain falling.

What’s more, the blade lock mechanism is great and it will ensure the blade doesn’t slip when you’re cutting, filleting, or slicing. The 6.5-inch blade made of strong and durable titanium-coated 420J2 stainless steel is amazingly sharp and long-lasting.

We appreciate the large lanyard loop that ensures maximum control and easy storage. When folded, the knife is only 7.25 inches long, making it perfect for your pocket when you’re on the go.

Offering an amazing blade and grip, this folding fillet knife is not to be missed!

3. Kershaw Folding Fillet Knife

Kershaw Folding Fillet (1258X), K-Texture Knife; Flexible and...

Product Information

Package Dimensions6 x 1 x 1 inches
Item Weight3.53 Ounces
ManufacturerKershaw
Price$23.79

Highlighted Features

  • Ergonomic design
  • Sharp & long-lasting blade
  • Locking mechanism
  • Optimized safety
  • Limited lifetime warranty

This folding fillet knife boasts a back-lock mechanism that ensures the blade is secure when being used and you needn’t worry about accidental slips.

You also get an amazing and functional glass-filled nylon handle. Its rubberized grip maximizes the comfort and maneuvers and helps keep the knife steady in the hands, even when they’re wet.

In addition to the wonderfully designed handle, you also get a premium sharp and durable blade made of 420SJ stainless steel which is 6.5 inches long when opened. It comes with a protective sheath which is great and prolongs its sharpness and safety.

Your fishing adventures will get better once you have this folding knife in your pocket. It has a limited lifetime warranty for a pleasant shopping experience!

Customers’ favorite features are the ergonomic design, the easy grip, and the good value for the price!

4. Opinel Slim Series Folding Fillet Knife

Opinel Slim Series Folding Fillet Knives - Wood Handles / Stainless...

Product Information

Package Dimensions3.58 x 1.02 x 0.67 inches
Item Weight1.06 Ounces
ManufacturerOpinel

Highlighted Features

  • Traditional look
  • Locking mechanism
  • Beautiful wooden handle

This series is somewhat different from the other fillet knives on the list. The various knives available from the series are marked with numbers; 8 and 10 are great pocket knives and 15 is an awesome fillet knife. 15 also has the longest blade and it’s great for different types of fish.

The wooden handle looks wonderful and natural, even though it may be a bit more challenging to grip it optimally in poorer conditions outdoors.

The blade is long-lasting, tough, and non-rusting. It boasts 12C27 Sandvik stainless steel and it’s very sharp. When open, the knife has a 12.75 length and it’s quite affordable.

Thanks to the locking mechanism, when the blade is open, it will stay like that all the time and prevent accidental closures and injuries!

It’s the ideal option for people looking for a more traditional look of their knives and a lovely wooden handle. When your fishing buddies see it in action, they’ll be quite surprised!

5. Kast King Folding Fillet Knife

KastKing Folding Fillet/Fishing/Camping/Hunting Knife, Razor Sharp...

Product Information

Package Dimensions8.58 x 3.46 x 1.81 inches
Item Weight8.5 Ounces
ManufacturerKastKing
Price$24.99

Highlighted Features

  • Suitable for use and in saltwater or freshwater
  • Lightweight and slip-resistant rubberized handle
  • Compact
  • Comes with a protective sheath
  • Versatile

If you want to fillet with a razor-sharp blade that lasts, this folding fillet knife is perfect for you. Its blade is made of G4116 stainless steel and coated with a gray, non-stick finish.

The premium straight blade will keep its edge for long while its pointy tip will ensure easy poking to start the slicing or cutting. It’s a balanced combo of flexibility and strength for optimal filleting.

Thanks to the titanium coating, the blade won’t rust or corrode. The ergonomic and non-slip handle is made of reinforced polypropylene and provides a rigid and strong frame.  It’s been rubberized with TPE rubber to ensure maximum comfort and easy and steady grip.

When folded, it’s only 7 ½ inches long so it’s ideal for carrying it in your pocket or bag.

6. Outdoor Edge Fish & Bone Folding Fillet Knife

Outdoor Edge Fish & Bone - Folding Fillet Knife with 5.0' 440A...

Product Information

Package Dimensions12 x 6 x 12 inches
Item Weight4.94 Ounces
ManufacturerOUTDOOR EDGE
Price$14.97

Highlighted Features

  • Lightweight design
  • Compact size
  • Stunning & razor-sharp blade
  • Ergonomic
  • Versatile

Whether you need to fillet fish for the barbecue or debone game, this knife is there for you. It boasts a slim and lightweight design and thanks to its foldability, it’s ideal for your pockets, backpacks, or fishing bags.

The blade is stunning; it’s razor-sharp thanks to the use of strong and durable 440A stainless steel. It won’t rust or corrode, even when exposed to water. The blaze orange handle that’s double-molded Zytel has been rubberized for extra comfort and the best non-slip grip.

It will be your go-to for filleting crappie, bass, catfish, rockfish, and more. You can also use it with small and big games. We appreciate the extra features like the pocket clip and the Mossy Oak nylon belt sheath.

Customers who purchased it praised it the most for being ergonomic and offering a good value for the price.

7. Gerber Gear Folding Fillet Knife

Gerber Controller 6 in. Folding Fish Fillet Knife

Product Information

Package Dimensions16.26 x 5.51 x 1.57 inches
Item Weight8 ounces
ManufacturerGerber
Price$45.00

Highlighted Features

  • Ergonomic
  • Lightweight
  • Good value for the money
  • Strong & razor-sharp blade
  • Non-corrosive

Slim, good-looking, and foldable, this knife is great for taking it with you on your fishing and camping trips or when you need to do some filleting in your yard.

The strong 9Cr stainless steel 6-inch blade makes sure the process of filleting and slicing is easy and fast. The edge is razor-sharp and it will keep its sharpness for a long time.

Moreover, it’s been mirror-polished to ensure easy cleaning and extra durability from corrosion. The manufacturer also thought out the grip; it’s non-slippery even when used in wet conditions. What’s more, its design can withstand harsh conditions like saltwater.

And, considering its affordability, it’s hard to beat it. Customers who bought this folding fillet knife gave the most kudos for its ergonomic design, its lightweight, and the good value for the money.

8. Outdoor Edge Razor Fin Folding Filleting Knife

Outdoor Edge Razor-Fin - 5' Replaceable Blade Folding Fillet Knife...

Product Information

Package Dimensions10.8 x 0.5 x 10.8 inches
Item Weight4.1 Ounces
ManufacturerOutdoor Edge
PricePrice not available

Highlighted Features

  • Good value for the money
  • Sturdy
  • Sharp blade
  • Compact
  • Rubberized handle

This is yet another classic folding fillet knife that’s affordable and awesome for those people who fish occasionally.

You get a 5-inch 440A stainless steel blade which is kept safe in place when the knife is opened up. Thanks to the folding ability, the knife is compact enough to fit into your pocket or tackle box.

Carrying it with you is made even easier thanks to the belt sheath and pocket clip. You’ll find the handle comfy and easy to hold. As it’s been rubberized, it allows for easy grip even in wet conditions. It’s a perfect choice for filleting crappie, walleye, and fillet bass.

Although it’s not as fancy as some other folding fillet knives, overall, this one is pretty awesome!

9. Rapala Folding Fillet Knife

Rapala Folding Fish Pro Fillet 5', Multi, One Size

Product Information

Package Dimensions1 x 1 x 1 inches
Item Weight5.44 Ounces
ManufacturerRapala
Price$28.00

Highlighted Features

  • Sharp blade
  • Lock-back design
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Optimized blade
  • Compact size

This folding fillet knife by Rapala offers convenience and an easy release lock-back design. It boasts the perfect size to finish various slicing and filleting tasks.

The ergonomic handle ensures you always have optimal balance and a comfy grip. The blade, thanks to being constructed from strong Japanese steel, it’s long-lasting, tough, and sharp. It’s also flexible enough to ensure easy and quick filleting.

Moreover, the blade has been additionally tapered for extra control and durability and polished for easy gliding through tougher skin and bones. The compact size allows the knife to be easily carried in your pocket or fishing bag when folded.

10. Columbia River Knife Folding Fillet Knife

CRKT Clark Fork Folding Fillet Knife with Sheath: Compact, Light...

Product Information

Package Dimensions‎10.94 x 1.09 x 0.49 inches
Item Weight1.8 ounces
Manufacturer‎Columbia River Knife & Tool

Highlighted Features

  • Easy opening
  • Safe lock mechanism
  • Robust blade
  • Comfy handle
  • Can be used with wet hands

When you hold this knife and start filleting with it, you feel confident. It’s been doing amazingly for the past two decades and it’s a product of innovation and integration. Designed in Pennsylvania, this knife is robust and this reflects in its performance.

The blade is amazing-durable, tough, and sharp, and made of premium stainless steel. When it’s open, it stays like that thanks to the safety lock mechanism. The handle is ergonomically designed and created with food-safe plastic and reinforced with glass nylon.

Since it comes with a reinforced nylon sheath, blade protection and safety are optimized, and the carrying is also easier. Put it in your fishing bag or pocket without any worries.

We have to mention to limited lifetime warranty included; it will cover any defects in workmanship or materials!

Final Thoughts

No matter if you’re at home or in the camp kitchen, the best folding fillet knife will prove worthy time and time again. All fillet knives have their one-of-a-kind flavor and will give you something different.

With this in mind, it’s essential to determine where and when you plan to use it and what you’ll be using it for the most.

A good fillet knife is compact and sharp enough to help you scale or fillet meat and fish optimally and everywhere.

You’ll love our best pick-it’s a combo of quality, performance, and longevity whereas our budget pick is awesome for people in need of a folding fillet knife who have a limited budget.

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