How to choose a knife for fishing

A fisherman’s knife is a must-have tool. Cutting the line, sharpening the pegs, clearing the vegetation on the shore, and finally cleaning and butchering the catch for harvesting – there are a thousand applications. And best of all, if the knife is designed for use in fishing conditions. Our article will be about how to choose such knives correctly, and at the end we will offer several good fishing knives for our taste.

Fishing knife steel

The most important characteristic for a knife is steel. The more expensive it is, the better, but based on the statement about the low price, we need to choose a good budget steel. Moreover, we must not forget that it must withstand high humidity – there are not very many of these among budget steels.

Here is a list of the most suitable stainless steel for a fishing knife:

  • 440 is one of the best inexpensive stainless steel, combining decent hardness and good moisture resistance. The most corrosion-resistant grade is 440A, and the least is high-carbon 440C, but it is also the hardest;
  • AUS-8 is a Japanese stainless steel with very good cutting and hardness characteristics. Perhaps the best steel in the budget segment;
  • 8Cr13MoV is an excellent Chinese stainless steel, analogue of AUS-8. It is easy to sharpen and holds the edge well, but requires some maintenance to completely exclude corrosion foci;
  • Sandvik 12C27 is a classic high-chromium stainless steel, one of the most balanced steels in the world: it combines hardness, ductility and corrosion resistance in equal proportions.

We do not recommend high-carbon stainless steel such as D2 for a fishing knife – from moisture, foci of corrosion are formed on it, especially if care is neglected.

Carbon is not worth considering at all: rusting literally before our eyes, it deprives the knife of practicality. Despite the fact that in other situations we would recommend a couple of good carbon steels, but in the case of choosing a fishing knife, refrain from such a purchase.

Fishing knife design

The design of a fishing knife is largely a matter of taste and personal comfort. Indeed, both folding knives and fixers are great for the role of the main knife for fishing, but still each option has its own characteristics.

Folding fishing knife

Lightweight and compact folding knives do not take up much space and are always at hand. Besides fishing, they can be worn every day.


+ Light weight;

+ Small size;

+ Stylish look. Such knives are an accessory that complements the image of the owner.


– Slightly high price, all other things being equal;

– The complexity of the design and maintenance. It takes longer to disassemble the knife for cleaning, and when folded it is sensitive to moisture;

– Vulnerability of the structure to clogging. Some types of locks are very vulnerable to dirt or dust;

– Less reliability. Most folding knives are unsuitable for heavy work: chopping, planing, striking.

Fixed blade fishing knife

Fixed blade knives are more reliable and capable of many more tasks. In addition, they are easier to care for due to their design.


+ Reliability. It is much harder to break a knife with a fixed blade than a folding knife;

+ Possibility of power use. You can chop, you can use it as a chisel, you can chip woodpipes;

+ Versatility. A fixed blade knife will replace many tools;

+ Easy to service and maintain.


– Large sizes, often impossible to wear on a daily basis.

Blade profile type

The profile type (blade shape) determines the possible range of tasks for the knife. Assuming that with this knife you will work with wood, peel and gut fish and cut food, then the following profiles are best suited:

  • Normal blade or Scandinavian profile is the traditional form of Finnish knives. Equally well suited for cutting and chopping. In combination with Scandinavian descents, it works great on wood;
  • Drop-point is perhaps the most common knife profile. Well suited for all household tasks, it is equally convenient for them to cut vegetables, open boxes and skin a hare carcass;
  • Clip-point – similar to the Scandinavian profile, but with a bevel of the butt to the point, often with a false blade. Also very handy for all types of tasks;
  • Bowie is the brutal brother of the clip-point profile. Due to the more pronounced displacement of the center of gravity to the edge, it is easier to chop with such a knife.

In general, apart from very extreme profiles, most blades will cope with fishing tasks. So do not take the proposed options literally, these are recommendations and not a direct indication. Choose a blade of the shape you like.

Blade sharpening type

The type of sharpening determines how well the knife will cut certain things, and how long it stays sharp. The basic rule is this: the sharper you can sharpen the blade, the faster and easier it will become dull from work. Therefore, there are many types of reduction and sharpening for the blade, balancing on the verge of sharpness and practicality in varying degrees. Here are the most common ones:

Scandi is a traditional Scandinavian type of mixing, with direct descents and without leads, or with micro leads. It cuts hard materials well, with such a sharpening it is easy to work on wood. When cutting solid products, it can wedge and break;

Hollow or razor – concave descents with or without edge feeds. This type of sharpening has the lightest and sharpest cut, but the thin edge is very fragile and not very suitable for rough work;

Chisel or chisel – one-sided mixing with one trigger, rarely found, mainly on working or traditional knives. Dulls quickly, but sharpens easily, this is the main advantage;

Flat or straight – butt descents help to make the cut sharp and delicate. This type of sharpening does not damage the products when cutting; chef’s knives are made with such slopes. This sharpening is very fragile, and does not allow you to work effectively with wood, since the blade gets stuck in it;

Convex – The convex, lenticular convergence of the descents gives the knife tremendous stamina, but a slow cut. This sharpening is typical for tourist and bushcraft knives;

Compound – smooth straight descents with pronounced leads. A versatile combination of good cut and high blade endurance.

Additional characteristics of the fishing knife

The rest of the knife’s characteristics do not greatly affect its cutting performance, but can simplify its use and maintenance.

  • Blade length – for a fishing knife, a length of 8-10 centimeters is quite enough. Blades longer than 10 centimeters require more effort for planing due to the larger leverage, and too short – not as versatile;
  • Handle material – given that your hands may be wet with mucus, grease or water, you should choose the most grippy materials: all kinds of polymers, thermoplastics and composites. Bone and metal are certainly beautiful, but impractical;
  • Blade processing – stonewash, satin-finish and painting facilitates maintenance and further reduces the risk of corrosion;
  • The presence of a lanyard ring – with active work, the lanyard can slightly simplify the task, it is good that there is already a provided hole for it.

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