Best Fishing Pocket Knife: Review & Comparison Guide

by Andrew

Best Fishing Pocket Knife: Review & Comparison Guide

by Andrew

by Andrew

The quality of your gear can make or break a fishing trip, but there’s more to it than just rods and reels. A good blade is essential for any angler, but how can you know you’re getting the best fishing pocket knife? From shopping to sharpening, we’ve collected a comprehensive guide to fish pocket knives below!

Preview

Product

Blade Material

Blade Type

Blade Length

Check Price

Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket-Sized...

Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade

Stainless Steel

Smooth V-Grind

2.2 inches

Case Yellow Fishing Pocket Knife

Case XX WR

High-Carbon Stainless Steel

Smooth & Serrated

3.4 inches

Spyderco Salt 2 Lightweight Folding Knife...

Spyderco Salt 2 Folding Knife

Alloyed Steel

Serrated

3 inches

Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S 7.1in S.S....

Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S

Carbon Steel

Combined Serrated & Smooth

3.1 inches

Kershaw Link Folding Pocket Knife (1776);...

Kershaw Link Pocket Knife

Stainless Steel

Smooth

3.25 inches

Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife

Stainless Steel

Smooth

3.42 inches

Victorinox Swiss Army Classic SD Pocket...

Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Stainless Steel

Smooth

1.5 inches

CRKT Squid Folding Pocket Knife: Compact EDC...

CRKT Squid

Stainless Steel

Smooth

2.25 inches


Why Every Angler Needs a Pocket Knife

No matter what fishing style you prefer, a good fish pocket knife is one of the most versatile tools any angler could ask for. Easy to carry and endlessly helpful, a fishing knife can free tangled lines, cut bait, and remove tricky hooks. A fly fishing pocket knife is a must-have for fly fishers, baitcasters, or beginners at risk of bird-nesting their baits.

Even once you’ve landed your haul, a pocket knife fish scaler can easily help you descale, debone, gut, and clean your catch. Rather than waiting until you’ve returned to the shore, a pocket knife can offer you prime-cut filets and leave the rest for easy disposal or chum bait.


How to Choose a Quality Fishing Pocket Knife

Blade Shape

A straight back or trailing point design is best for filleting fish. Cimeter blades are popular, as their tapered points allow anglers to get close to the spin and ribs when deboning. Serrated edges work well for cutting frozen bait, tangled lines, and tough scales such as striped bass. However, smooth knives are far better for filleting, deboning, skinning, and fresh bait.

Flexibility & Durability

Flexibility is crucial for a good fish knife pocket knife, and you’ll need a knife that’s strong but light enough to curve around fish bones while filleting. You may prefer a more rigid blade for tougher cuts or bait board duty, but the blade should always be durable enough to withstand the elements. Saltwater anglers, in particular, should look for corrosion-resistant materials.

Grip Comfort

Just like a good-quality rod, a fishing knife will be spending plenty of time in your palm. Ergonomic designs are key to preventing hand strain, but they can also improve blade safety. If your pocket knife has a rigid, slippery, or uncomfortable grip, it can be easy to lose traction and slice yourself or your catch. Look for slip-proof builds that can withstand heavy waves and sweaty hands.

Portability

Rather than loading yourself down with extra fishing gear, ensure you’ll never forget your fishing knife by keeping it light. The best hunting and fishing pocket knife should be light enough to keep in a fishing vest. Whether it has a foldable function for improved portability or a fixed blade and handle, your knife should always be small enough to store in a pocket.

Price

Pocket knives can often be found for cheap online, but not all knives are created equal. Some blades, such as the Case yellow fishing pocket knife, are so well-respected that you can trust they’re worth the investment. Consider long-term investment when comparing blade prices, as a higher-quality knife can prove the smarter option when cheaper knives break and require replacing.


8 Best Fishing Pocket Knife Reviewed

1. Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade

Our Top Pick

Blade Material

Stainless Steel

Blade Type

Smooth V-Grind

Blade Length

2.2 inches

Weight

2.8 ounces

Safety Features

Cover with built-in click lock

The best of the best, this Morakniv pocket knife tops our rankings for good reason. With exceptionally tough stainless steel, a fire-starter blade spine, and a variety of colorful sheaths and ergonomic grips to choose from, the Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket Knife offers award-winning quality and an affordable cost.

The fixed blade may be just 2.2 inches, but this stainless steel pocket knife packs a punch. Made of remarkably durable stainless steel, the Eldris’ blade comes with a fire-starting spine made of ferro fire-steel. Excellent for any outdoorsman, the blade is made of top-grade Swedish Sandvik 12C27 stainless steel with peak edge performance, hardness, and sharpness.

The blade is joined to a rubbery grip handle, designed with an ergonomic palm swell for comfortable use. The handle -- which comes in black, blue, green, orange, red, or yellow -- also allows for gripping straight up to the blade, which is ideal for finesse work such as filleting or deboning.

Although the blade is less susceptible to corrosion, the stainless steel is unfortunately not completely resistant. We recommend rinsing the blade liberally with freshwater after any use in saltwater environments or limiting this pocket knife to freshwater fishing. But with an award-winning design, one-year warranty, and affordable price tag, it’s clear to see why the Moraniv Eldris is a winner.

Pros
  • One-year warranty
  • Sheath drainage holes
  • Spine blade = fire starter
  • Remarkably sharp
Cons
  • Lacks saltwater protection
  • Sheath may need reimagining

2. Case XX WR

Runner Up

Blade Material

High-Carbon Stainless Steel

Blade Type

Smooth & Serrated

Blade Length

3.4 inches

Weight

0.2 ounces

Safety Features

Folding pocket knife

Ask any angler for a glance at their pocket knife, and most will show you the same classic yellow handle. A staple among fishers of every age, this XX WR Case Fishing Pocket Knife is a modern rendition of a timeless icon. Lightweight, multipurpose, and built in the U.S.A, this fish scaler pocket knife is sure to serve you well.

This ultra-light blade comes with two sets of blades for maximum functionality. The long clip blade is both flexible and thin enough for detailed work, with a trailing point perfect for delicate deboning. However, the blade is simultaneously strong enough to serve as a multipurpose knife for everyday use. The fish scaler comes with a bluntly serrated edge, specially designed to work beneath fish scales without slicing the delicate skin. And at the tip of the scaler, a hook disgorger allows for easy gear recovery.

Both blades are made of Case Tru-Sharp Stainless Steel, a high-carbon steel blend that ensures superior sharpness for longer than standard steel. Both durable and flexible, the Tru-Sharp steel has superb corrosion resistance against saltwater and rust. Produced in the United States with a lifetime warranty, this Case fishing pocket knife combines timeless elegance with modern manufacturing. For a knife that’ll last decades, look no further than this XX WR Case Yellow Fishing Pocket Knife.

Pros
  • Manufacturer’s lifetime warranty
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Lightweight, portable design
  • Classic design, respected brand
Cons
  • No locking mechanism
  • Occasionally wobbly blades

3. Spyderco Salt 2 Folding Knife

Best for Saltwater Fishing

Blade Material

Alloyed Steel

Blade Type

Serrated

Blade Length

3 inches

Weight

4 ounces

Safety Features

Folding knife & back lock

Spyderco is another beloved blade company, and there’s a reason its Spyderco Salt 2 Folding Knife has found favor among fishers. Made of H-1 steel for superb durability, this hollow grind folding knife is lightweight, safe to handle, and remarkably rust-resistant. For saltwater anglers in need of a blade that’s up for anything, the Spyderco Salt 2 is undoubtedly the way to go.

The 3-inch hollow grind blade comes with superior sharpness, with the signature Spyderedge serration pattern. Contrary to standard, one-distance serrated blades, the Salt 2 has a two-step serration pattern of large and small indentations. This increases the cutting edge’s surface area by nearly 24%, making it easy to detangle lines, free hooks, and descale fish.

The handle itself comes with an ergonomic textured grip, hi-vis coloration, and black-coated titanium pocket clip that’s functional for both left or right-side carrying. Made up of hi-visibility nylon reinforced with fiberglass, the polymer is injected into molds for optimum durability and a remarkably lightweight build.

The blade itself has Spyderco’s signature hole for ease of access, and the blade’s slight enough to keep around necks or on belts without strain. Better still, the blade’s blend of non-rusting alloys ensures the Salt 2 stays sharp no matter the waves. Overall, the Spyderco Salt 2 Folding Knife is the perfect companion to any saltwater fishing trip.

Pros
  • Ultra rust-resistant alloy
  • Extremely sharp steel
  • High-vis fiberglass handle
Cons
  • Longer blade; slightly bulky
  • Dulls quickly with steady use

4. Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S

Best Hunting and Fishing Pocket Knife 

Blade Material

Carbon Steel

Blade Type

Combined Serrated & Smooth

Blade Length

3.1 inches

Weight

3.5 ounces

Safety Features

Folding design & liner lock

Smith & Wesson is a name that commands respect, and this Extreme Ops SWA24S Hunting and Fishing Pocket Knife is no exception. With a safely foldable design, easy-flip access, and combined serrated and smooth blade, there’s nothing the Ops SWA24S can’t handle.

Made up of Smith & Wesson’s black oxide high-carbon stainless steel, this 3.1-inch blade comes with a clip point silhouette and a combination edge. A smooth blade to start and serrated at the base, this multipurpose knife is ideal for use both on the water and off. Although excellent for fishing and hunting alike, we recommend rinsing the blade with freshwater after any salt exposure.

Designed with ease of access in mind, this pocket knife comes with jimping and a convenient pocket clip. The black aluminum handle comes complete with molded finger indentations, and the ergonomic, textured grip ensures you stay in control. Better yet, the finger flipping blade has ambidextrous thumb studs for easy wielding with either hand. Although the blade flips nicely, it only opens halfway for safety purposes. You'll have to straighten the blade manually, and closing it can run the risk of pinched skin.

Manual folding aside, this is a sleek, reliable blade that’s easy to use and covers a variety of situations. Best of all? It’s one of the cheapest pocket knives on our list. For a multipurpose blade that won’t disappoint, look to the Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops SWA24S.

Pros
  • Extremely affordable quality
  • Highly lightweight build
  • Versatile combination blade
  • Rust-resistant carbon steel
Cons
  • Lacks spring-assist opening
  • Dulls quickly with use

5. Kershaw Link Pocket Knife

Best Value Fish Knife

Blade Material

Stainless Steel

Blade Type

Smooth

Blade Length

3.25 inches

Weight

4 ounces

Safety Features

Folding design & liner lock

Our best value fishing knife, this Kershaw Link Pocket Knife may not be the best of the best, but it’s still a serviceable blade. The Kershaw Link blade is made up of stonewashed stainless steel, a pre-worn finish meant to look rugged but isn't as bright as sleeker knives.

Although similar Kershaw designs go for far higher prices thanks to the blade's quality, this more-affordable Link is made up of 420HC stainless steel. A modified steel with higher carbon content, the blade is stronger but can feel bulky compared to lighter, more flexible knives. Meant to be corrosion resistant and protected against abrasion, the blade flips into a folding form for safe storage when not in use.

Although the matte black nylon handle comes with SpeedSafe Assisted Opening, the quick-flip opening doesn’t always work safely. The pocket knife’s liner lock, meant to keep the blade rigid when unfolded, has been known to slip loose. Check your blade before use by gently shifting it against the matte black handle; any wiggling and the blade likely isn’t safe.

The unforgiving handle can be uncomfortable, but the textured grip made up of glass-filled nylon offers decent adhesion in damp palms. Paired with a thumb stud for easy one-hand deployment and a reversible pocket clip for ambidextrous users, the Kershaw Link is ultimately a decent blade for the cost.

Pros
  • Shaving sharp blade
  • Rapid flipper opening
Cons
  • Unsafe lock design
  • Rigid, uncomfortable handle
  • So-so blade quality

6. Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife

Best Spring Assisted Fishing Pocket Knife

Blade Material

Stainless Steel

Blade Type

Smooth

Blade Length

3.42 inches

Weight

4.4 ounces

Safety Features

Folding design & liner lock

This Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife is easy to wield and highly affordable for a quick-flipping blade with a razor-sharp edge. A lightweight folding knife with a sleek matte black finish, Grand Way's pocket knife combines the best of style, durability, and affordability.

The clip-point blade is made up of 440C stainless steel, with a black oxide coating for a clean finish. Shaved sharp straight out of the box, this durable blade comes with superb hardness and corrosion resistance. Although the stainless steel gives this pocket knife some heft, the partially-hollowed aluminum keeps the blade light enough for everyday use. The handle is molded with a textured grip, with a pocket carry clip for easy access.

Grand Way’s assembly is built with affordable quality in mind: Even if the spring breaks, this knife is still functional as a foldable pocket knife. The blade comes with a simple liner lock, an index flipper trigger, and thumb jimping for pressure control. The flipper trigger is highly responsive and doubles as a pseudo-finger guard once the blade’s open.

For tough-fighting fish like bass, a one-handed spring-assisted knife is a definite boon. And while the safety switch can be a little too easily shifted, this Grand Way Spring Assisted Knife is lightweight, low-cost, and high quality enough to be well worth the price.

Pros
  • Responsive flipper trigger
  • Lightweight, affordable quality
  • Sleek black oxidized steel
Cons
  • Easily-shifted safety switch

7. Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Best Multitool Pocket Knife for Fishing

Blade Material

Stainless Steel

Blade Type

Smooth

Blade Length

1.5 inches

Weight

0.32 ounces

Safety Features

Folding design

Victorinox is a brand that needs no introduction. A classic survival tool with sleek everyday design, the Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife has been an icon since 1897. With stainless steel tools in a compact, lightweight frame, this corrosion-resistant multitool is what every angler needs. Although the smooth stainless steel blade is just over 1 inch long, this pocket knife is focused less on size and more on strategy.

The tempered, annealed, and polished steel blade is joined with a sharp pair of miniature scissors, nail file, 2.5 mm screwdriver, tweezers, and a plastic toothpick. You can trim lines with the scissors, use tweezers for disgorging hooks, and depend upon the Swiss-made blade for everything in between. The entire knife weighs in at just 0.32 ounces, and the ABS/cellidor handle is smooth and rust-resistant.

A ring at the edge of the handle makes it easy to hook to lanyards and keys, while the weight is perfect for pockets and fishing vests. Both the handle and steel tools are protected against corrosion, and sticky hinges are solved by submerging the blade in warm water for 10-15 minutes. In addition to the rust-resistance, the blade is easy to resharpen with minimal effort. And with Victorinox’s lifelong warranty, you can trust this little blade to go a long way.

Pros
  • Iconic design, reputable brand
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Multipurpose functionality
  • Lightweight & low cost
Cons
  • Smaller size, unsuited for xl catches

8. CRKT Squid7. Victorinox Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Best Budget Fishing Pocket Knife

Blade Material

Stainless Steel

Blade Type

Smooth

Blade Length

2.25 inches

Weight

3.5 ounces

Safety Features

Folding design & frame lock

Last but never least, the CRKT Squid Folding Pocket Knife is our best budget blade for fishers everywhere. This pocket knife comes with a host of high-end features at a solid price point, with a rugged stonewash finish, thumb studs, and a limited lifetime warranty.

The drop-point blade is 2.25 inches long and made of 8Cr13MoV stainless steel, an alloy that holds its edge quite well and is relatively easy to sharpen. The pocket knives come in black stonewash, silver stonewash, silver assist, and holey squid, with the stonewash shades offering an attractive finish that hides the inevitable scratches and dulling of use.

On-blade friction grooves are tailored for improved grip, with a notch for the index finger that allows you to handle the blade securely. The handle is molded with the curves of your palm in mind, but the all-metal handle can make this blade surprisingly hefty for its size. Given the curves and sleek finish, some reviewers have had trouble with gripping the knife -- if you're using this in the rain and heavy surf, consider adding some grip tape for improved adhesion.

The heavy handle is rounded for comfortable carrying, with a deep clip for belts and pockets. Thumb studs allow for one-handed opening, and a limited lifetime warranty protects the hollow grind blade against material or assembly defects. With a safety lock, stylish finish, and solid metal construction, this CRKT Squid Folding Pocket Knife is our best fishing pocket knife for the value.

Pros
  • Shave sharp blade
  • Compact & comfortable to carry
  • Affordable quality
Cons
  • Smooth metal handle lacks grip
  • So-so abrasion resistance
  • Heavyweight handle

Practical Uses for Your Fish Pocket Knife

There's plenty you can do with a good pocket knife! Some of the most common uses for a small angling knife include detangling lines, losing bird nests, prepping bait, cracking clams or mussels, freeing hooks, deboning fish, and filleting your catches. And when a fighter like a bass comes along, cutting your line at just the right time can help you save your reel and rod from going overboard.


How to Sharpen a Fishing Pocket Knife

Pocket knives can be sharpened by whetstones, honing rods, and molded knife sharpeners. While steel rods work best for honing your blade’s edges, we recommend sticking with knife sharpeners or whetstones. Whetstones, as the name suggests, must first be soaked in clean, cold water for 10 minutes before being lubricated with mineral oil. Determine the angle of your blade -- most pocket knives range from 25 to 30-degree angles on their beveled edge -- and angle the edge alongside the stone, with the blade facing away from you.

Starting at the whetstone's base, steadily glide the knife forward and outwards, sweeping the stone's surface. Repeat 10-12 times. Once sharpened, repeat the process on the blade's flipside 6-8 times. Finally, flip the whetstone to its finer-grit side and briefly run both sides of the blade across. This removes any lingering burrs or rough edges. Rinse clean, and test the sharpness.


Caring for Your Fishing Pocket Knife

In addition to keeping your blade properly sharpened, be sure to check for signs of corrosion or rust. Rinse blades with clean, fresh water after use, particularly if they’ve been in saltwater environments. Consider adding a few drops of oil to keep folding hinges from sticking over time. Some pocket knives have visible screws, which can be periodically tightened. For solid-metal blades or those without sheaths, consider investing in a protective travel case. Leather is traditional, but waterproof canvas or molded plastic can last longer in damp environments.


People also Ask (FAQs)

What are EDC knives? Are pocket fishing knives considered EDC knives?

EDC knives refer to Every Day Carry knives, which are compact and comfortable enough to keep in your pocket throughout the day. Crucially, EDC blades must also be short enough to comply with local weapon restrictions. Thanks to their small size and multipurpose uses, many pocket fishing knives can double as EDC knives.

What is the best length for a fishing pocket knife?

Tough bait and larger species such as walleye are best treated with 6 - 7” knives. However, blades shorter than 5 inches are the most versatile for work, such as trimming lines, baitfish, and smaller panfish.

How much should I spend for a quality fishing knife?

Although pricier brands can run upwards of $100, you rarely have to spend more than $15-50 on a good quality fishing knife.

Can I use a saltwater fishing pocket knife in freshwater?

Absolutely! Just be mindful of using freshwater knives in saltwater, as some “anti-corrosion” blades aren’t built to withstand salt air.

Can I use a hunting pocket knife for fishing?

Yes, but it depends on the knife. Some specialty hunting knives aren’t built for fish; look for a combination of a smooth and serrated edge for a multipurpose blade.

Where is the best place to buy these fishing pocket knives?

Knife manufacturers such as Morakniv, Victorinox, and Kershaw all have online stores, as do outdoor recreational retailers such as Cabelas. Mark-ups can occur, however, so we recommend Amazon for the lowest prices and widest selection of products.


Conclusion

Whether you’re aiming for deep-sea saltwater prey or merely hitting your local creek for crappie, a good fishing pocket knife can always improve your fishing trips. For a durable, affordable blade with an innovative design, the Morakniv Eldris Fixed-Blade Pocket Knife is our top pick for any angler. Tight lines!

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