This week, our friends at Benchmade knives released, what we believe, to be one of the most unique, fishiest knives to ever appear in the fly-fishing space. The recent launch feature 4 variations to their classic mini Crooked River series, each of which features a different species of fish (Largemouth Bass, Brown Trout, Tarpon, and Steelhead) that comprise a different niche in the fly fishing community. In collaboration with artist, Casey Underwood, each knife encapsulates the spirit of the fish pictured, and the environment from which they’re based.
Flylords First Impressions:
This week, we had a chance to get some of these knives in our hands (before they were cleared off the shelves). If we had one word to describe them, it would be Robust.
The second you pick up one of these knives, you can feel where the hours of meticulous design went in. Each knife is perfectly balanced (as all things should be), and has a sturdy, yet lightweight feel that fits perfectly to the contours of your palm.
The real draw of each knife is Casey’s contributions to the blade and handle. Each blade and guard is beautifully engraved with the designs of each fish, an associate fly, and the ecosystem from which they originate. The contours of the blade perfectly complement each design, delivering an aesthetically stimulating appeal to each knife that commands the attention of the beholder, revealing new details with each passing moment.
We also had the time to chat with Casey about his work on these knives, and his inspiration behind each design…
Flylords: What inspired you to pick these four fish species specifically for this series?
Casey: We knew we were going to start the series with four knives, and we wanted there to be something for everyone. These four species represent a variety of ecosystems and are beloved to millions of anglers. To me, these fish represent a great place to start… Hopefully, these knives are a success and we have the opportunity to expand the species we offer.
Flylords: It must feel pretty good to have your work represented on such a badass knife. What does this partnership mean to you?
Casey: I’m pretty particular about the companies I choose to associate myself with, and Benchmade is certainly as quality as it gets, both in terms of who they are and what they make. We share a high standard for aesthetics and have had the same vision for this project from day one. I’m proud of this collaboration and hope it’s only the beginning for this unique series of knives.
Flylords: What was the process like developing these designs for such a unique space?
Casey: It’s all about being intentional. I’m extremely passionate about creating artwork that is specific to its purpose. The shape of the blade and the shape of fish, in general, made sense to me; it seemed like a very natural integration. The bolster of the knife offered a fun opportunity to feature the corresponding ecosystem of each species represented. Due to some of the mechanical elements of the knife, I had to intentionally design the fish and ecosystem in a way that no crucial details were covered or cropped. To me, the extra effort will always yield a more successful result.