Fillet knives are like fishing rods. There’s no one “right” model that’s perfect for everything. That’s why most knife manufacturers will create a line of different blade sizes and styles. Take, for example, Cuda’s Professional Knife Series. Each knife in the Professional line has a titanium-bonded non-stick blade, a distinctive 47-layer compressed Micarta® handle, and full-tang construction. The series includes seven models, ranging from the 6-inch fillet knife to the 10-inch breaking knife.
So which knife should you choose for which fish filleting jobs? Here are the top knives for filleting fish, along with reasons why each one is ideal for certain tasks.
6-inch Fillet Knife
A 6-inch fillet knife is ideal for freshwater fillet jobs on trout and panfish. Note the skinny blade, which is good for working around bones without wasting any meat. It’s also flexible, which is ideal for skinning fillets. Because the blade on the Cuda Professional is corrosion resistant, and it can also be used for smaller saltwater species like winter flounder, and sea robins.
6-inch Curved Boning Knife
The 6-inch curved boning knife is a better choice for saltwater fish with tougher scales and skin, such as scup and black sea bass. Its thicker, less flexible blade is also a good choice if you’re looking for a knife that can do light baitboard duty, such as cutting squid.
The wide, less flexible blade on Cuda’s 7-inch knife is an excellent baitboard knife for chunking bait. It’s also the preferred style for many captains when filleting tough-skinned fish like striped bass, blackfish, and bluefish, when flexibility is less important than strength and durability.
For most large fish, such as fluke, bluefish, cod, and mahi, a longer 9-inch blade is in order. This knife’s long, thin blade allows for a steady, even cut, and the extra length comes in handy when skinning the fillets. Its flexible blade is ideal for skinning fillets without wasting meat.
9-inch Serrated Knife
A serrated fillet knife is great to have for cutting into fish with heavy scales, like striped bass. Thick scales make starting a fillet difficult, and they also dull your knife quickly. When filleting a large striper, use a serrated knife to start the fillet and cut through the skin. Then, finish the job with a 9-inch fillet knife. Serrated knives are also ideal for cutting frozen bait.
10-inch Butcher Knife
When it comes time to dice up a big swordfish, shark or tuna, a regular fillet knife isn’t going to cut it. For these applications, you’ll want a longer, thicker blade that doesn’t have much flex to it. A big butcher-style knife can also be used for slicing between vertebrae to cut fish steaks.