5 Tips for Using Fish Fillet Knives

By American Fishing Tackle Company (AFTCO)

May 23, 2022

5 quick and must-know tips for using a fish fillet knife. We’ll cover everything from choosing the right knife to how to keep that knife sharp and use it to clean fish. 

Get a better-quality fillet, prolong the life of your knife, avoid injury and make cleaning a fish easy with these 5 fillet knife tips.

1. Blade Size Matters: Select the Right Fillet Knife

The first step is to make sure you have the right fish fillet knife. When searching for a new fishing knife you want to make sure you know what fish you will be filleting, how large it will be, and how dense the bones tend to be. If you are filleting a trout, we suggest a smaller flexible knife like the AFTCO 7-inch Flex Fillet Knife. As you build up from there, larger fish require larger knives such as the 9-inch flex fillet knife, and once you get to fish with larger bones like many saltwater species, reach for stronger breaker style knives like the 8, 10, or 12 inch AFTCO fillet knives.


2.Keep it Sharp: Sharpening a Fillet Knife

Once you have the right size knife, you need to make sure it stays sharp. Fillet knives are typically made with softer steels so hard structures like bones won’t chip the blade. This is a great feature, but that makes the knives lose their edge faster. Make sure you at least hone your knife before every use and sharpen your knife at least once a year, more if you use it often. Here are our recommendations on how to hone and sharpen a fillet knife. Safety Tip: Many knife injuries occur from improper knife resulting from a knife that is too dull.

3. Spend Time Learning How to Clean a Fish

Now that you have all your equipment and it’s time to fillet a fish, you’ll find many different techniques. How to fillet a fish step by step. Fishing guides are always knowledgeable but look at a few different ways, find what you prefer based on your fish’s size and shape, and be confident with your cuts. It will become easier, and your fillets will look better after you get the hang of it.

4. Multiple Knife Options Can Make Filleting Much Easier

Once you start to get proficient in filleting fish, you might find it beneficial to have more than one knife to handle specific tasks. A precise cut would require a smaller thinner knife, whereas the finishing cuts breaking the rib bones will require a thicker knife. Having at least two knives, a flexible fillet knife and a breaking fillet knife will be a large help to you.

5. Post Catch Care is Important. Learn the Best Way to Keep Fish Fresh

The best tips for keeping your fish fresh start when the fish is in your hands. Ike Jime is an easy 4 step process that will keep your fish fresher longer and even make it taste better. Check out the complete guide to Ike Jime. Once you are done cleaning your fish, proper storage of fish is also important to keep fish fresh. Vacuum sealing fish is a great way to extend the shelf life and when combined with these other tips for keeping your fish fresh, you can have great-tasting fish all year long.

American Fishing Tackle Company (AFTCO)
American Fishing Tackle Company (AFTCO)
Family-owned and operated, AFTCO represents unparalleled quality, performance, and reliability when it counts most. AFTCO is a fishing apparel brand & tackle manufacturer that builds products to handle the harshest elements. From fishing rain gear to a fish fillet knife, at least 10 % of AFTCO’s profits are donated back to fishing conservation through their 10 % Pledge to protect and conserve.