The Spyderco H1 Fish Hunter knife is built specifically for adventurous free diving and spearfishing in saltwater. We took it to southern Baja, California, on a spearfishing trip to see how it stacks up in this review.
Very few knives can endure the test of saltwater corrosion as well as the Spyderco H1 Fish Hunter (currently $113 on Amazon). The proprietary H1 steel blend from Spyderco has the defining element of corrosion resistance.
Spyderco claims of the knife’s target market,
These daring sportsmen do not use SCUBA gear and dive deeply relying only on their ability to hold their breath for extended periods. If they become tangled in a fishing line, net, or other obstacle or have the need to dispatch a speared fish quickly, they need a dive knife that cuts very aggressively and has a sharp, very acute point. The Fish Hunter was designed to meet that challenge.
Watch our video review, below, and read on for more info.
Review: Spyderco H1 Fish Hunter
Spyderco built this fixed-blade dive knife with a 4.19-inch symmetrical, hollow grind, H1 steel blade. The overall length of this knife totals out to 9.24 inches, with a single sharpened edge. Its serrated edge and sharp point make for an excellent choice when exploring the depths or dispatching fish.
The most notable component of this knife is the resistance to saltwater corrosion. Spyderco achieved incredible resistance by removing carbon from the steel blend. Instead, it adds nitrogen to the Spyderco H1 steel. I was eager to see how this would perform after spending days in the water. Rust has a way of showing up quickly in Baja.
An ergonomically shaped, injection-molded, fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) handle wraps the blade. Side panels on the handle include Bi-Directional Texturing pattern for grip in and out of the water. The handle felt great, and it was easy to work with the blade in forward or reverse handling.
A serrated edge runs 4.10 inches along the blade and is extremely useful for cutting. But testing on land – trimming cords, slicing line, and performing general camp tasks – showed the effectiveness of the serration.
Spyderco made a good choice to offer a serrated version only. It works great to slice anything you might get tangled in while diving. Thankfully, I didn’t have to cut myself free of anything during testing.
Saltwater corrosion was my main concern. My time in Baja lasted one week, which is more than enough time for rust to show up on lesser steels. The only part of the blade that showed any signs of rust was the engraved H1 emblem. A swipe of the thumb removed it.
While scrutinizing this blade for duty effectiveness, the only thing I could note was the thin width. It’s a spearfisher’s job to quickly dispatch fish that have been shot. Once the fish has been secured in the water, the knife goes to work for a quick kill.
This is not a delicate procedure – strength and forceful blade entry do the job. Weak blades have been known to snap on larger fish. While this blade does not show signs of weakness, its thinness raises concern. This is a testament to how well the H1 steel holds up, but only longevity will tell.
Getting a Grip
My two largest gripes with the knife lie in the bright-yellow FRN grip. Personally, I like to take my thumb and press down on the back of the handle while cutting. The handle does have a sloped area for thumb placement, but this spot is smooth. I wish it had some texture.
My other complaint is very similar. The spine of the handle lacks texture. It creates a slick feeling in the hand. While most spearfishers wear gripped gloves for handling fish underwater, freedivers do not. In my opinion, a spine texture design should be included for optimum usage.
The Bi-Directional grip pattern available on the sides works extremely well. It feels nice and is comfortable to the bare hand while cutting.
A sheath can make or break a good dive knife. The G-Clip sheath provided with this knife works wonders for the package. There are multiple ways of attachment. Along the edge are locations for a 2-inch harness strap, the G-Clip for locking onto a belt, and cable attachment points.
A slanted thumb location is the most intuitive aspect. To release the blade, simply push down on the angled edge with your thumb and pull up with your fingers. The friction lock pops with a click you can feel and hear. Make sure to seat the blade into the sheath accurately due to the ultra-sharp tip.
Reflection: Spyderco H1 Fish Hunter
The Spyderco H1 Fish Hunter surprised me on various levels. I’ve never seen a steel blade hold up to rust after five days of saltwater exposure and no rinsing.
The handle, though, is where it falls short. But that’s certainly not a dealbreaker for me. The build is great for the application, a job well done by Spyderco.