While it’s not the most glamorous job on the planet, cutting bait and chum is a necessary chore. Dealing with nasty, smelly bait and fish guts can get pretty gross – and can foul up your entire craft. Bait cutting boards solve this problem.
Bait cutting boards offer a large flat surface for you to cut bait, clean and fillet your catch, or prepare anything else. Many also feature other features like built-in slots for stashing fillet knives, pliers and other tools, drainage holes for washing away gunk, and etched on rulers for measuring your catch.
I’ll break down some of the best bait boards, and some of the key features to consider when picking the right one for your craft.
Quick Answer: 6 Best Bait Boards
- Best Overall: Magma Products Bait/Filet Mate LeveLock 20”
- Runner Up: Five Oceans White Bait/Fillet Board 20”
- Best Board for Larger Boats: Magma Products Bait/Filet Mate LeveLock 31”
- Best Kayak Bait Board: Scotty #455 Bait Board
- Best Compact Board: Magma Products Econo Mate 12”
- Bucket Board: Joy Fish Cutting Tray
Top 6 Bait Cutting Boards
If you’re looking for the ideal bait board for a wide variety of watercraft, this sturdy 20-inch wide cutting board from Magma Products is tough to beat. The rod holder mount will fit into any transom-mounted rod holder and can swivel and lock in multiple ways to give you an ideal cutting surface.
At a little over a foot long, the ball and tube assembly feel rock-solid inside nearly any rod holder. This provides you with a convenient cutting location and is far more ergonomic than trying to cut bait on top of a cooler or bucket.
Two built-in knife holsters will house most large-sized fillet knives, as well as a holder for fishing pliers. Grooved sides and a slotted back provide overboard drainage for easy cleaning.
The fit and finish are top-notch, with a UV stabilized compression molded polyethylene cutting surface. It’s also FDA approved for food preparation or service.
While it might cost a bit more than other models, the durable construction and rock-solid mount make this bait board a great value and a great addition to nearly any boat.
- Cutting Board Dimensions: 20” x 12 ¾”
- Mount Type: Rod holder
- Built-in fillet knife holsters and pliers receptacle.
- Top-notch construction: won’t crack, peel, mildew, or absorb odor.
- Fully adjustable locking pivot head.
Sturdy, well-made, and sleek, this stainless steel and UV stabilized high-density polyethylene board is built to last for years and years. It’s designed to fit inside any standard rod holder and features a locking mechanism to keep the entire board securely in place.
The stainless-steel tube assembly measures about 13”, which is generally a good height to cut bait, chum, and fillet fish. The board won’t absorb fishy odors, so you can also use it for prepping other food.
A swivel attached at the top allows you to level, tilt, and adjust the angle of the table. The swivel locks in place, but even when locked the tightest position it will tilt if you lean on it.
Several side channels and a slotted back makes washing down a breeze, while three built-in knife holsters can accommodate a variety of fillet knife sizes. A pliers storage slot is also included.
If you’re looking for a durable, long-lasting bait cutting board for a reasonable price, you’d have a hard time topping this one.
- Cutting Surface Dimensions: 20” x 12 ¾”
- Mount Type: Rod holder
- Durable, UV stabilized, and odor-free board.
- Side channels with slotted back for quick and easy drainage.
- Tilt and lock adjustable top.
- 3 fillet knife holders and pliers slot.
Best Board for Larger Boats
If you’ve got a larger boat, or you’re looking to prep a lot of bait, then this big boy has got your name on it. It features a 31” x 12 ½” cutting surface, making it big and sturdy enough to clean and fillet larger fish like king salmon, lingcod, and others.
The base mounts with the same excellent Levelock mount as the smaller model above, giving it a rock-solid fit inside your boat’s rod mount. While you might think a single mounting location wouldn’t be enough for a larger board surface, it’s highly stable and won’t shift at all as you cut bait.
The same UV stabilized polyethylene is used on the cutting surface giving you a nearly indestructible surface that won’t crack, peel, or absorb fishy odors. A quick-release adjustable cam top lets you change the board’s angle in seconds, and also folds completely flat for easy transport.
To clean the board, simply tilt and rinse off any gunk – the runoff easily drains out the grooved sides and slotted back.
- Cutting Surface Dimensions: 31” x 12 ½”
- Mount Type: Rod holder
- Ultra-durable, rock-solid mount and gimbal.
- Easy to clean with grooved sides and slotted back.
- Built-in knife holsters and pliers slot.
Best Kayak Bait Board
This little gem from the kayak pros over at Scotty is the perfect choice when you want to cut bait on a kayak or small boat. Measuring just 12 ¼” x 9 ½”, it’s the perfect size for cutting up bait and prepping lures.
It features a protective lip all-around the board – so everything stays in place and nothing can fall out. A built-in accessory rack allows you to mount a variety of accessories directly to the board including a camera mount, cup holder, and fishfinder. It also has slots to hold pliers, lures, soft baits, and anything else you want to keep within arm’s reach.
You can attach the board directly to your craft with any Scotty bracket, but if you want it to be elevated a useful accessory is the Scotty #429 Extended Gear-Head Adapter. This will allow you to adjust the board’s elevation and angle on the fly.
The tray is rock-solid and has no wobble to it whatsoever. If you’re looking for a place to cut bait that isn’t all over your kayak – this little board is a great option.
- Cutting Surface Dimensions: 12 ¼” x 9 ½”
- Mount Type: Scotty rod mount
- Highly durable plastic tray is nearly unbreakable.
- Optional accessory attachments for drink holder and camera mount.
- Protective lip contains bait within the tray.
Best Compact Board
If you’re looking for a compact board that can be mounted just about anywhere, this 12” x 16” Magma board is the perfect solution. It comes packaged with a complete gunnel mounting solution, which includes a mounting bracket, hardware, and push/pull pin for quick attaching and detaching.
The entire table folds completely flat for storage and has a convenient knife and pliers slots for stashing your cutting tools. Grooved sides and a slotted back allow for easy drainage. The cutting surface is made from the same excellent high-density polyethylene as the other Magma bait boards, so you can be sure you’re getting a top-shelf product.
Installation is easy, with just two holes required to drill the mounting bracket in place. When you’re ready to remove the board, just pull the mounting pin, fold the hinge bracket, and go on your merry way!
- Cutting Surface Dimensions: 12 ” x 16”
- Mount Type: Gunnel Mount
- All mounting hardware comes included.
- Perfect solution when you have limited boat space.
- Easy to attach and detach.
- Knife and pliers slots included.
Don’t overlook the humble bait bucket board – while it might not have all the bells and whistles of larger transom-mounted boards, it will get the job done. This cutting tray is built to fit onto a standard 3 or 5 gallon bait bucket, and also has non-skid rubber feet for use on a flat surface.
The entire board is made from heavy-duty high-density polyethylene, making it durable enough to withstand nearly anything you can throw at it. Sidewalls prevent bait from slipping onto the deck and help keep your cutting area clean.
At 19.5” x 14.5”, the board is on the larger side and gives you enough real estate to cut up large bait without making a mess.
If you’re looking for a no-frills bait board that won’t cost an arm and a leg, you’ll have a hard time beating this tray.
- Cutting Surface Dimensions: 5” x 14.5”
- Mount Type: None
- Built in side walls for containing bait.
- Can attach to the top of standard 3 or 5 gallon buckets.
- Non-skid rubber feet.
Picking the right bait cutting board for your boat will largely depend on your available space, mounting preference, and budget.
Whether you’re chopping squid, anchovies, shad, or carp, you’ll want a sturdy board that can hold up to heavy use. You’ll also want one that mounts well to your craft.
Most bait boards are built to mount directly to your rod holders, but some come with mounting kits for mounting to your boat’s gunnels.
If you frequently fish with live bait, check out my breakdown of the best bait wells and tanks.
Featured image source.
I’ve loved being in the outdoors for as long as I can remember. I grew up fishing, canoeing, and camping throughout the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It’s what lead me to start this site and share my passions for fishing, diving, kayaking and more. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or (preferably!) preparing for my next outdoor adventure.