Fishing can be incredibly rewarding when done right – but can also be incredibly frustrating without the right tools. When it comes to choosing the best fishing knife, there’s a lot to be on the lookout for. We’ll guide you through this process so that you get the best possible value for money.
Our goal is to help you find a knife that’s just right for you. You’ll have a clear idea of what to look for in a quality fishing knife, and where to find it. Let’s jump into the guide!
Top 7 Best Fishing Knife Reviews in 2023
We’re going to be looking at 7 fishing knives we think to offer the best value for money and performance that lives up to their claims. You’ll find out what’s unique about each knife, and why it’s worth your time and money. We’ll cover their most important features and end each review with what we did and didn’t like about the knife.
By the end of our guide, you’ll feel ready and confident to make an informed decision – hopefully getting a knife that you’ll get massive value from and keep around for years! Let’s get into our best fishing knife reviews!
Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops Folding Knife
Here’s one of the most popular picks for the best fishing knife. Smith & Wesson make some excellent folding knives, and they’ve done a fantastic job with this folding knife. With a blade length of just over 3”, it’s versatile enough for most general outdoor and utility work you’d use a folding knife for. The knife is pretty lightweight and well-balanced thanks to the slightly larger handle.
You’re getting durability as the blade is made from 7CR17 steel which is stain, rust, and corrosion-resistant. It’s a reliable knife for fishing in both freshwater and saltwater as a result. The thumb stud gives you quick access through a swift motion that’s smooth and consistent. You’re getting a sharp edge with a serrated potion for cutting cables and rope.
The tip can handle piercing (though not too heavy) and the reverse end of the blade has a track that can be used with a fire sparked. This handle is made from black aluminum and gives you strength without all the added weight. It’s easy to grip and non-slip, making it perfect to take on the boat with you.
- Easy to hold the ergonomic grip
- Very sharp edge with a serrated portion
- Responsive opening action
- Resistant to corrosion and rusting
- Black coating comes off over time
- Linear lock occasionally doesn’t click into place (seldom happens)
Morakniv Companion Outdoor Knife
Here’s a larger 4.1” blade dedicated to outdoor use. It’s made from hardened Sandvik 12C27 steel that’s durable and has decent edge retention. It’s less prone to rusting and staining; making it a perfect choice if you’re looking for a handy and capable fixed blade knife. You’re getting an ergonomic and non-slip grip.
It’s patterned and textured design lets it sit comfortably in your hand and gives you plenty of controlled cutting power and accuracy. The sheath and handle tips are a luminous orange color making it easier to find in low-light and when you’re outdoors. It’ll also be easier to find if you accidentally drop it into the water.
Even with the sheath on, this knife is lightweight enough to carry with you all the time without it bothering you. The edge is exceptionally sharp and comes that way out the box. It’ll need to be touched up often to keep that premium sharpness – but you’ll have no trouble handling utility and general work with this knife.
- Very sharp and easy to maintain
- Luminous orange handle is easy to spot and great for the outdoors
- Ergonomic handle that can be used ambidextrously
- Sheath fits very well
- Edge retention isn’t fantastic
- Tip isn’t too sturdy and should be used carefully
Tac-Force Tactical Spring Assisted Knife
Spring-assisted knives aren’t for everybody, but if you enjoy them, here’s an excellent option. The opening and closing are one-handed, swift, and smooth. This lends particularly well to fishing as you often won’t have both hands free. It’s a handy knife to have around and has quite a versatile blade. The serrated portion is one of the better ones we’ve seen on an assisted knife and gives you exceptional cutting power.
It will make quick work of rope and twine, as well as cut through some tougher materials and even fish bones. There’s a bottle opener and a glass breaker mounted to the handle for emergencies. You’d love this if you enjoy popping open a cold one while out on the boat. We loved the pocket clip and think it’s one of the better clips out there.
You’ll get quite a few different mounting options and it’s got the right balance between rigidity and functionality. The 3mm thick blade is sturdy and robust, easy handling some heavier work and giving the knife quite a bit of durability. Overall, this is possibly the best fishing knife for the budget if you want the convenience and speed of an assisted opening knife.
- Excels at one-handed use
- Rapid deployment of the blade is reliable
- Excellent serrated section that’s very sharp
- Handle has a bottle opener and a glass breaker
- Black coating can be scratched off quite easily
- Not the most comfortable handle (too many ridges and points
MTech USA Spring Assist Folding Knife
Here’s another fantastic one-handed folding knife with a rapid deploy and a secure lockup. You’ll immediately notice just how gorgeous this knife is. It’s got a stunning polished silver finish that suits the gold-colored handle. Stainless steel is used to give the blade excellent edge retention and resistance to stains, rust, and corrosion. You’ll get a long life from this knife without needing to spend a thick chunk of change.
The handle is crafted to be minimalistic and lightweight while not losing any comfort or functionality. You can be incredibly accurate with it and longer cutting sessions aren’t straining on your hands or wrists. You can carry the knife safely with the native pocket clip. It’s easy to mount and has versatile carrying options.
We loved the slightly longer 3.75” blade that gives you a little more cutting power and a slightly heftier feel to the knife. Overall, this is one of the best fishing knife options if you want something that looks fantastic (as a gift) while still being highly functional.
- One of the most attractive folding knives at this price
- Lightweight while not losing that hefty feel
- Very sharp edge with excellent edge retention
- Strong tip with a powerful piercing ability
- Gold finish on the handle shows scratches and damage very easily
- Doesn’t come very sharp right out the box
Morakniv Craftline Utility Knife
Here’s one of our top picks for the best fishing knife if you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to spend it on a knife that does nothing that disappoints. You’re getting a 3.6” fixed blade utility knife that’s perfect for taking on your fishing trips thanks to the non-slip and comfortable handle.
It’s impact-resistant and gives you fine control over the sharp blade. You’ll also get a Combi-sheath to keep the blade in when you’re not using it. This helps to further protect it from rusting, especially when you’re on the ocean. Saltwater tends to cause corrosion a lot faster than freshwater.
The flexi-blade has quite a bit of bendability and this helps when you’re trying to skin a fish and gives you the versatility to handle utility work where thicker blades fail. That being said, you’ll need to be careful not to bend the knife too much, or it’ll leave it permanently disfigured. At 3.6” long, it’s a super-functional and handy addition to your travel or utility kit.
- Excellent value for money
- Flexible blade can take a lot of lateral pressure
- Durable non-slip handle
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Doesn’t have the greatest edge retention
- Handle isn’t too well-suited to very large hands as the finger and handguards are quite pronounced
Spyderco Harpy Fishing Knife
Here are premium quality and well-crafted folding knife from Spyderco. It features an awesome Hawkbill-style blade that has a large serrated edge that stretches almost the entire length of the blade. This is an incredibly useful blade type for the outdoors and lets you cut quickly and easily through most things.
You’re still getting a straight edge towards the tip and thanks to the curved profile you get excellent functionality from the shorter edge. The tip is very powerful and sharp. You can easily slice through things and finish the job with a sharp serrated edge. You’re getting a G10 handle with a smooth, non-slip, ergonomic profile.
There’s also a finger hole in the base of the blade that lets you get a better grip on the knife for drag cutting and slicing. With 12.5% chromium, the stainless steel is highly resistant to all forms of rusting and corrosion. This knife will survive harsh outdoor environments in both the hot and cold, without chipping or rusting.
Despite begin relatively lightweight, this knife is incredibly sturdy and robust. It’s a tool for the true outdoors man that wants to invest in quality knives that’ll never disappoint and last for a long time. You’re getting a best fishing knife with impressive robustness and class-leading performance.
- Premium quality material build and well-crafted design
- Excellent quality G10 handle with slip and rust resistance
- Incredibly sharp serrated edge and tip
- Finger cutout in the blade for a better grip
- Quite expensive compared to most of the knives on this list
- Not particularly beginner-friendly
Cressi Borg Spearfishing Knife
Here’s a large modern knife with robust outdoor performance. It’s crafted from 304 Japanese stainless steel and features all the resistance and durability you’d want in an outdoor/fishing knife. It’s one of the most versatile fixed blade knives in this review and has a double-sided edge. The spine of the blade has a powerful and sharp serrated cutting edge and a wire-cutter, and the opposite (normal side) edge is straight.
You’ve got an ergonomic handle with finger grooves to give you impeccable grip strength and accuracy. It’s suitable for ordinary grips and reverse-grips. You can use the base of the handle for breaking and bashing objects without damaging the integrity of the knife. The sheath has an effective locking mechanism that keeps the blade safe and secure.
You can fasten the sheath to the belt strap that comes along with it. It’s the best fishing knife for carrying with you on your trips or just keeping handy in the car or boat. Overall, it’s one of the best fishing knives with a fixed blade and this level of versatility in its price range.
- Finger grooves make the handle extremely comfortable
- Dual-sided cutting edge with a serrated portion
- Features a cord-cutter and a glass breaker
- High-level of resistance to the elements and corrosion
- Quite heavy and bulky with the sheath on
- Sheath gets scratched easily and shows it clearly
5 Essential Features to Look for in a Fishing Knife
Fishing is a relaxing and peaceful time where you can connect with nature and all that it has to offer. The last thing you want is a dull and ineffective fishing knife frustrating you and ruining the experience. We’ll help you pick the right fishing knife for your unique needs by looking at 5 of the most essential features worth paying attention to. Let’s get started!
This is probably the most critical initial feature as it will decide how and where you can use your fishing knife. Fishing knife blades can be anywhere from 2″ up to 8″ and 10″ long. The smaller 2-4″ knives are great for multi-purpose use and are highly portable.
They often come with additional tools crafted into the knife. The larger 5-9″ fishing knives are your fillet knives. 5″ is enough for small-medium fish, but you’ll need a larger 8″ fillet knife for larger fish like tuna.
You don’t need the most rugged steel for a fishing knife as they don’t go through strenuous use. What you do need, though, is high-grade corrosion resistance – especially if you’re working with saltwater. Here is some steel to look for:
- 420 steel
- Stainless steels
- 5Cr & 7Cr steels
This will have the most significant impact on your experience using the knife. You need something non-slip that’s easy to control with accuracy and consistency. Rubber is an excellent choice, but wears quicker than other options. Polymer and glass-reinforced nylon are excellent choices for longevity that don’t sacrifice too much functionality.
You’ll need to choose between assisted-opening folding knives, manual opening knives, and fixed-blade fishing knives. Fixed blades offer the most power and durability. Assisted-opening knives are the least durable but the most portable and quick to use. Manual opening knives offer a healthy balance between strength, durability, portability, and functionality.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How Sharp Do Fishing Knives Need to Be?
A: This depends on how you plan on using the knife. If you’re descaling large fish, you’ll need a very sharp blade to save you time and energy. If you’re working on general fish and doing basic filleting, you don’t need an exquisitely sharp knife – especially if you’re working with thick and strong bones.
Q: Are Multi-Tool Fishing Knives Any Good?
A: Yes, they can be very useful when used as they should be. Most multi-tool fishing knives don’t pack a sizable main blade, so it’s not a great choice to filter and work on larger fish. What you lack in cutting power, you’ll make up for in versatility and practicality.
Q: Do Fishing Knives Need to Be Flexible?
A: Generally speaking, yes. Fishing knives need a relative amount of flex to be useful for filleting and working around a fish’s bones. If the knife was rigid, you’d lose quite a bit of meat and will struggle with the more intricate and accurate cuts.
We’ve taken a look at 7 knives we think would make a fantastic addition to your outdoor toolkit. These knives make exceptional fishing companions and can help you out tremendously in a pinch and with their raw functionality. You should have a clear idea of what features you’ll need in your next fishing knife.
You also know what kind of performance and value to expect across the different price points. Feel free to take the time and go back over any of the knives that interested you. Hopefully, you’re ready to get the best fishing knife for your needs and style – and make the most out of your next outdoor/fishing trip!