Informational Guide

How To Sharpen A Fillet Knife

Keeping your fillet knife sharp and ready to use is important if you are planning to prepare fish that you have caught for eating. Find out how here!

by Andrew

Informational Guide

How To Sharpen A Fillet Knife

Keeping your fillet knife sharp and ready to use is important if you are planning to prepare fish that you have caught for eating. Find out how here!

by Andrew

by Andrew

A fillet knife is made to cut fish and remove bones from fish fillets. There are many different kinds of fish knives, but the fillet knife is one of the most useful for these kinds of needs. Keeping your fillet knife sharp and ready to use is important if you are planning to prepare fish that you have caught for eating. 

If you want to know more about the details of how to sharpen a fillet knife, you should check out this guide. 

Fillet knives can become dull from regular use, or they might also become dull because they have been stored wet. Knives that have been washed in the dishwasher can also be dulled by the hot water and friction that is part of the cleaning process in these machines.  

Certain kinds of fish, particularly the larger varieties, can have tougher scales and larger bones, leading to the speedy dulling of these kinds of knives. You will always want to be sure that you wash your knife by hand and dry it thoroughly before putting it away. Make sure that you plan to sharpen the knife properly on a more frequent basis if you are preparing tougher fish for cooking with your knife. 

Learn More: Boning Knife Vs Fillet Knife: Compare Types, Uses & Differences

How To Sharpen A Fillet Knife: Using A Whet Stone Or Steel

How to Sharpen Any Fillet Knife: Different Methods Explained 

You can sharpen your fillet knife in a few different ways. You will want to be sure that you are aware of the proper way to use these tools if you are planning to sharpen your fillet knife yourself. Sharpening these items properly matters for their longevity and effectiveness. 

1. With an Electric Sharpener 

When using an electric sharpener, be sure to watch your fingers and your hands and make sure that you are moving the blade through the sharpener at the right speed. Moving it too slowly or too quickly can lead to waves and bends in the blade. This sharpener works best if you are able to remove the handle from your knife before sharpening. 

Learn More: Electric Fillet Knife Vs Regular Fillet Knife: Which Is Better?

2. With a Whetstone 

Whetstone sharpening can be a really easy way to sharpen this kind of knife. Whetstones are easy to use and essentially just a sturdy stone made to sharpen blades of knives. You need to be sure that you use the proper directional pressure as you sharpen, which for a fillet knife, is about 20 degrees. You will just guide the blade gently with your opposite hand as you work. 

3. With a Lansky 

Some fillet knives are too thick for a Lanksy sharpener, so you will need to be careful that you do not try to force this to work if your knife does not fit. The stand is used to hold the knife with this style of sharpening, and you will use the included rods to sharpen the blade. This is not always feasible with this type of knife, so you should be sure that you can make it work before you start out. 

4. With a Sharpening Rod 

Sharpening rods work well for almost any kind of blade and are made more for removing the burrs and imperfections than they are for sharpening. You will just draw the blade along the sharpening rod to make the edges smooth and ready to go for your next fish preparation job. 

5. Using a Sharpening Steel 

Sharpening steels work much like sharpening rods, and you will simply draw the blade along the length of the steel. This is usually not a rounded dowel-style tool like the sharpening rod and is instead triangular or square in shape. You will use the sides of the steel to provide the correct sharpening surface for your needs. 

Sharpen Fillet Knife

How to Sharpen a Bubba Fillet Knife? 

You will get a single-piece carbon steel blade with this knife, and it is much less likely to rust, stain, or corrode over time. The knife offers the perfect filleting shape and length, and the no-slip handle offers superior grip and security in your hand. You will be able to clean all kinds of fish with this knife as well as cut through bone with ease. 

Steel rod sharpening works best on the Bubba Fillet knife. You will want to make sure that you get a sharpening rod that is stainless steel and coated with Ti-Nitride. This is the right tool for sharpening all parts of the Bubba Fillet Knife blade. 

  1. 1
    Set your Bubba Fillet Knife at a 22-degree angle to the sharpening rod. Hold the sharpening rod at a 45-degree angle to the knife.  
  2. 2
    Grind the blade from the bottom to the tip of the knife a few times. 
  3. 3
    Rub gently on both sides to smooth out burrs and chips in the blade. 
  4. 4
    Make sure that you keep the same angles stated above no matter what part of the blade you are sharpening. 
  5. 5
    Don't grind too fast, and make sure that you repeat the same slow strokes evenly on both sides. 
  6. 6
    Wash the blade off with mild soap and water, and then dry carefully and thoroughly before storing your knife. 

How often Should you Sharpen a Fillet Knife? 

You should hone your blade as needed to smooth out rough spots and burrs on the blade. This can be done after each use if you are making your knife work on tough jobs. This is not the same as sharpening your blade, however. Sharpening of a fillet knife should be done at least once a year, and you might need to do it a few times a year if you use it quite frequently.  

Be careful not to sharpen your knife too often, or you might wear it out to the point where it cannot be used anymore. There is a balance between too much sharpening and not enough, and you need to be sure that you keep it to experience the full lifespan of any fillet knife. 

Related Article: How To Sharpen A Rapala Fillet Knife (Proper Technique & Angle)

Fillet Knife Sharpening FAQs

What angle do you sharpen a fillet knife? 

For most of these blades, you will hold the sharpening rod at a 45-degree angle and the blade at a 22-degree angle. Other sharpening tools might require that you use a different angle for your blade sharpening jobs. Check out videos if you need a little help to learn the correct methods to sharpen these kinds of tools. 

How can you tell if a fillet knife is sharp? 

You will notice that cutting items has become more difficult, and you might experience the blade catching or sticking as you work with it. These signs can indicate that it is time to sharpen your knife blade so that you can work at full capacity again. 

Can a fillet knife be too sharp? 

A fillet knife cannot be sharpened to the point where it is too sharp, but over-sharpening can impact the angle and shape of the blade. You do not want to overwork your sharpening process and cause one side of the blade to be sharp and the other dull. Making sure that you sharpen the blade just enough to do the work it needs to do is important. 


A fillet knife is a very useful, specialized tool that can help you clean and cut up fish of all kinds. Caring for your fillet knife is vital to prevent damage to the blade and imperfections that could lead to the blade sticking or catching when in use. Make sure that you always follow the recommended sharpening instructions for your knife blade and that you store it properly after each use. 

The Bubba Fillet Knife is a great tool for this need and is more durable and easier to use than many other knives on the market. This is one of the best tools you can invest in if you need to clean fish regularly.