The Hess Bird & Trout has been in the store lineup for a number of years and I’ve wanted to try one out but just haven’t done it! My recent field trip was the perfect opportunity to do just that.
It’s a great representation of all of the Bird & Trout knives that have gone before it including the Marble’s, Western, etc. If you’ve followed the pricing on some of these older B&T’s, they’ve gotten expensive. The Hess Bird & Trout offers up the same features at a much more reasonable price.
Measuring a trim 6.75″ OAL with a 3.375″ 1095 blade, weighing 2.3 ounces, the Bird & Trout is a compact package. I have fairly large hands and it’s not a knife I’d want to spend a lot of time cutting with. But that’s not what it was designed for.
I don’t want to call the Hess Bird & Trout ‘delicate’ because that’s not accurate. It’s just a compact knife made for field dressing fish or birds. You wouldn’t tackle dressing out a deer with it but I have no doubt with some patience you could.
While I was camping I didn’t get an opportunity to do any fishing so I didn’t get a chance to try it out on a ‘trout’. I did use it for some food prep and it was a great tool around the table. The convex ground blade held an edge very well for 1095 and I didn’t find a need to touch things up. One of the things I’m tempted to try is a flat bevel on the blade just to see how it works out. I typically only use a convex grind on my thicker blades and the Bird and Trout might work just as well without it.
The stacked leather handle didn’t get slippery when it was wet and lends a great ‘classic’ look to the knife. The one point to keep in mind is, typical of all 1095 steel, it’s unforgiving if you don’t clean it thoroughly after use. It’s the perfect example of a knife that I use Frog Lube on. The Frog Lube is food friendly and does a fantastic job cleaning and protecting metal surfaces. And it doesn’t stink or taste like motor oil.
While using it I had to keep reminding myself that the Hess Bird & Trout is what I’d classify as a specialty knife. It’s not an all around ‘utility’ tool you’re going to use for trimming brush, batoning kindling wood or dressing big game. It’s made for lighter tasks and does a great job on them! I’d recommend having one in your kit to fill the gap between your traditional folder and your larger bushcraft knife.