The Right Fillet Knife

Cuda Micarta knife collection

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.

Cuda Professional Knives

7-inch Semi-Flex Wide Fillet Knife

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.

Cuda Micarta 9-inch fillet knife

9-inch Fillet Knife

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.

10 on “The Right Fillet Knife

  1. Louis Fioravanti

    Very interesting. I spend hundreds of dollars on the right rod and reel but never gave any thought on using the right knife. Thanks for the info.

    1. Brian J

      I like the new design with the nonstick blade and the handle looks cool but did you guys upgrade to at least a half a tang full tang is desired tang being the part of the blade in the handle I’ve had a couple just break the blade fell out of the handle because it didn’t have a tang you would think you would have a quality product if you advertise it on this website anyways I hope your new fillet knife is a hit

      1. Bruce Mandel

        Doesn’t the description in the article state they are full tang?

  2. Dave Humphrey

    Wow really always looked for a soft 9″ flex fillet knife. Never really gave it that much thought! So do they sell this as a complete kit? It sounds like anyone that fishes fresh and salt would want the whole schabang……

  3. Brian J

    I like the new design with the nonstick blade and the handle looks cool but did you guys upgrade to at least a half a tang full tang is desired tang being the part of the blade in the handle I’ve had a couple just break the blade fell out of the handle because it didn’t have a tang you would think you would have a quality product if you advertise it on this website anyways I hope your new fillet knife is a hit

  4. Jae

    Those look like great knifes but the let be realistic. Those are way over priced for knifes. I still have my cheap 15 dollar fillet knife that works wonders. Just keep it sharp

  5. Clarence

    I use Dexter Russell knives they hold a great Edge great sharp blade and have specially coated blade available also make a special handle that you can be molded to your hand

    1. Ezra Agnew

      This is obviously paid product placement, as it’s all one brand. Any discussion of saltwater filet knives that doesn’t include Dexters, is just silly. I don’t use them, but I would mention them.

  6. ezra agnew

    And yes, I know the article is listed as “by partner content”, but most people will never see that and think this is an actual review, not a thinly veiled ad.

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