Fishing for Fillet Knives – Why You Need Quality Fishing Knives for the 2021 Season

Fisherman using fishing knives

You just hauled up a monster, didn’t you? Yeah you did, we know it. Hope you have your fishing knives.

The patience and timing it required for you to bring that big guy in is something we are extremely jealous of; few of us here at BladesWork Unlimited possess those traits (looking at you, Christian). Fishing is not the antsy individual’s game, and worse yet, having poor tools can turn all that hard work into shark chum (literally). So, I have set out on a mission to help you, the patient fisherman, understand the how and why of fishing knives and their importance to your latest catch.

While you can absolutely use any type of knife for fishing, acquiring a quality fishing knife specifically is going to save you a lot of heartache. For starters, the thin and flexible blade on fishing knives also maintains a short and narrow quality; this enables a higher level of maneuverability, control, and precision. Those fish fins, bones, and meat don’t stand a chance. To give you a better idea of what makes fishing knives so great, I have broken down by aspect this critical tool in your tackle-box.


Things are going to get messy once you’ve hauled in that trophy. With the natural oils on fish skin, the blood and slime from cleaning, and the ever-present water aspect, having a handle that will prevent slippage is critical. Fishing knives tackle this problem effectively, as the handles are designed in a way to support ergonomic hand feel, and prevent slippage when things start getting messy. This also helps prevent fatigue as you conduct precision cuts, especially on those larger catches.

You will usually see handles available in wood, laminate, or plastic. These all have their pros and cons, and working directly with our BWU Forge Team bladesmiths will help you determine which is best. My personal favorite is plastic for its durability, but hey, I’m just a certified cutter of things.

Blade Length

Custom Fishing Knife

Typically, you can generalize fishing knives blade length into three categories: short, medium, and long. Short blades are easy to control and perfect for smaller species, such as sunfish or crappies. Medium length blades are best for a larger array of fish species, and they range between 17 and 19 cm long. It’s a typical jack-of-all-trades blade length, and will cover you for any day-long voyages. Long blades, your trophy fish size, give you even greater control when preparing the largest of fish. Downside is they can be a difficult carry, and likely require a spot in the box as opposed to your hip.


Panfisher fishing knife

First off, when it comes to fishing knives, we’re full tang only guys. Having said that, you have two main blade styles to choose from: Scandinavian (or German) and Japanese. Your Scandinavian-style fishing knives are general going to have a double-bevel on the blade and is overall designed to be heavier and thicker. This is going to be the go-to for a more straightforward style of fillet or chop.

Japanese-style, on the other hand, is your more precision designed tool. A single bevel on the blade and narrower design is going to give more flex, and therefore better suited to a clean-cut situation. The lighter blade may not be as good for chopping or larger swipes as its European cousin, but it is lighter and has a finer cut.


A surprisingly important aspect of your fishing knife game. Your fishing knife is not just for use at home, this tool is needed on site at your nearest lake, river or ocean. That means you need a sheath that will protect this treasured tool from the elements, and keep it sharp and rust-free during period of non-use. Our personal recommendation is leather, quality leather, but our bladesmiths on the BWU Forge Team can design anything to fit your needs.

Don’t let yourself ruin that beautiful catch because you didn’t bring a quality set of fishing knives out with you. Take it from us, who barely possess the patience to catch the trophies; it is even worse to squander them when you do…

Check out this incredible article on fishing and fishing gear from our friend Reuben Lim

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