On Open Waters: The Top 10 Ways to Use a Pocket Knife While Fishing

Every fisherman has his (or her) toolkit with hooks, lures, fishing line, weights, and other things one needs while fishing. Setting up a good fishing kit is an important step to complete before ever boarding a boat.

One tool that every good fisherman keeps in their kit is a good pocket knife. A 2007 study found that about 90% of hunters and fishermen use pocket knives and that they often use the same pocket knives they carry around every day!

Pocket Knife While Fishing
many men’s items on wood plank, closeup at stainless steel folding knife.

But, how do you know which knife to pick? What kinds of things can you do with a little knife out on a boat?

Read Our guide about how chose Best Swiss Army Knifes

We searched through all our resources to find the top 10 things to do with a knife while fishing. Keep reading to learn all these tricks and more!

How to Pick a Good Pocket Knife

One quick web search yields thousands of pocket knife options to choose from at every price point you could imagine. These are some things to look for when choosing a good knife for your fishing toolkit or even everyday use.


No, you can’t look at a knife and decide whether it will hold up to any wear and tear you may put it through. But, these days, you can look up reviews of pretty much any knife manufacturer and knife model to see what other customers think about it after using the knife.

Another thing to look for as far as durability is special treatments to strengthen the knife like a glass-reinforced nylon handle or a coated knife blade.


Some smaller knives add on unnecessary bells and whistles (like swiss army knives) to make the knife more tactical and masculine looking at a glance. In reality, those extra moving parts could break and prevent you from using the knife at all. It’s best to pick a simple knife with as few moving parts as possible.

Blade Length

Some knife manufacturers advertise their products as pocket-sized or palm-sized, but many times the knife is too small (or too big) for practical use. The blade of the knife should measure between 3 to 4 inches for optimal portability and ease of use.

If you need more help choosing a small fishing knife, check out this page for more information about picking the best pocket knives and a list of their top picks!

Top 10 Ways to Use Your Knife While Fishing

There are tons of things to do with your knife while you’re out fishing. These are our top 10 favorite things you can do with a small knife out on a boat.

1. Opening a Bottle of Brew

You could use the handle or clip part of the knife to pry off the cap from a bottle of beer (or an old fashioned soda) once you find your fishing spot, but make sure to close the knife so you don’t slip and cut yourself!

2. Tightening Screws

The vibrations and jostling of a motorboat can wiggle screws loose everywhere! If you notice a loose screw, you can use the blade of the knife like a Phillips head screwdriver, but don’t use too much force though, or you’ll dent or bend the knife blade.

3. Cutting up an Apple

Let’s face it, sometimes you get hungry while you wait for a fish to take the bait. If you bring an apple or other fruits with you, you can use the knife to cut off bite-sized pieces, but be sure you clean and sanitize the blade before you use it to cut up your food though.

4. Preparing Bait 

Sometimes the bait you buy from the tackle shop comes a bit too big. When this happens, take out your knife and cut it into smaller pieces.

5. Cutting Tangled Fishing Net

Even if you don’t use nets when you fish, some people not only use them but then abandon the nets in the water if they get too tangled to use. If you’re unfortunate enough to have a net tangle up in your propeller or on your fishing line, use your knife to free the net, then please bring it back to shore and dispose of it the right way.

6. Whittling While You Wait

Another thing to do while you wait for a bite on your line its to whittle some wood. Your little knife is the perfect size to whittle little designs with, so bring along a small piece of wood and whittle away.

7. Hammering Tool

Ok, so it’s not the best tool to use as a hammer, but in a pinch, it’ll do. If you bend a hook out of shape or need to force something into place, try using the butt of the knife while it’s closed to hammer it back into position.

8. Cutting Your Fishing Line

If your line gets tangled or you need to tie on a new lure, you’ll need to cut the line. Pull out your trusty little knife and trim the line to the perfect length.

9. Cleaning Corrosion From Your Boat’s Battery Terminals

If you notice the boat battery getting weak, check the battery connections because saltwater causes corrosion and build up that hinders the battery connection. Try scraping some of this corrosion off of the contact then reconnect the battery for more power.

10. Preparing Fish

You don’t want to do this while you’re on the boat, but once you’re back on dry land, you can use your knife to gut and clean any fish you caught so you can take home the flesh and cook it. Run the knife from tail to head to remove scales and then slit it from throat to tail and remove the organs. Then rinse the fish clean and put on ice to keep it fresh on the ride home.

The Thing About Fishing Is You’re Bound to Get Hooked!

Once you find a good pocket knife, you’ll notice that you reach for it for almost any task because it’s a must-have tool for any fisherman’s kit.

Be careful using your knife while out on a boat though. One small wave can knock you off your balance and you could cut yourself. Also, make sure to put the knife away when you’re finished to further prevent accidental injuries.

We hope you loved reading this article and that you learned a few new things to do with your pocket knife when you’re out fishing. If you’re looking for more information to plan your next fishing or hunting trip, check out the rest of our blogs today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *