What's in your Tackle Box? Fishing Knife Basics

By: Ben Anton


An avid fisherman is typically able to tell you the contents of his tackle box: fishing hooks, line in various weights, shiny and dull fishing lures, colorful bobbers, an extra reel, needle nose pliers, a flashlight, maybe some fishing scissors and a fishing knife. Each of these tackle box items is an important element in both successful and not so successful fishing trips to the river. Having the right kind of gear, the kind that will withstand a variety of elements, is key.

The following are some tips on what to look for when purchasing a durable fishing or fillet knife to all those would-be and experienced anglers out there.

When choosing a fishing knife, the size of the fish being lured needs to be considered. A ten inch blade would be excessive if you typically fish stocked rainbow trout or crappie in your local river. The larger blade could damage the meat of smaller fish during cleaning if you are not careful. On the other hand, a small fillet knife on a medium-to-large catfish or grouper would be time consuming and potentially impossible. If you fish a variety of species, consider owning multiple knives in various lengths and widths. There are a number of fishing knife sets with multiple blade styles available on the market. If you have one knife that you really like, maybe it has a handle style that suits you, see if the manufacturer makes other size knives in the same style.

The next item to consider when choosing a fillet or fishing knife, is the quality of the blade. You want to look for stainless steel blades that can maintain their sharpness. You also want to try to buy one that can be sharpened easily throughout a fishing season. Stainless steel is recommended because of its stronger resistance to rust; fishing knives encounter a lot of water. You will want the same durability and strength in your fishing knife as you would a hunting knife. However, with a fillet knife, a tempered blade that can cut smoothly and thinly is ideal. When purchasing a fillet knife, look for one that is serrated in a portion of the knife, toward the handle is best. Having the serration in addition to the smooth sharp blade will be helpful to cut through tougher sections and bones and will keep you from needing a second serrated knife.

The final items to consider are all about your personal style. There are a number of knives available depending on the type of fisherman you or the recipient of the knife is. Consider how frequently you use a fishing knife during your fishing trips. If you tend to constantly be reaching for yours, purchase a folded knife that can be put in your pocket or hang from a fishing vest so it will be easy to get to. If you have a messier tackle box with little organization, consider purchasing a fishing knife that comes with a sturdy knife sleeve or one that folds to avoid accidentally cutting yourself or damaging the blade while it is moving around in the box. If you have arthritis or carpel tunnel syndrome, try out various knife handle shapes to find one that is comfortable for you. There are a number of knife options available; donít settle for anything other than what will best help you as you fish this summer.

Consider these tips as you put together your tackle box and gear this summer. Whether you are heading to the river, lake or ocean, a quality fishing or fillet knife is an important addition and just may help bring in the record breaking fish.

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Ben Anton lives in the Northwest and writes for DLK.
Ben Anton invites you to read about proper fishing knife maintenance and usage at our easy to use multi purpose knife website.

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