B. James & Son, Ealing. The “Avocet” 11’3” c1953-1954.

Whole cane butt, split cane middle & tip. In Exceptional original condition. One owner from new.


We are offering this rod on behalf of its original owner’s brother. It’s the quintessential trumpet-handled Avocet built on Southwell split cane. This is perhaps the most sought-after vintage British made split cane rod of all. Put it this way, we can’t get enough of them, in every sense, and we never tire of them.

This example came to us in such good condition that we did only one thing to it- a very gentle clean with a soft cloth and a little turpentine, followed by a flawlessly applied coat of traditional yacht varnish, to seal in the goodness.

We examined it minutely under 10X magnification. Every single part of it is original and in stunning condition. The handle is superb. The cane is dead straight and seems to possess a life force of its own, something that only the incomparable Southwell was able to conjure from Tonkin bamboo.

Close whipped in dark red silk with chromed full-open bridge rings (clear lined butt and tip rings, perfect transfers, original ferrule stoppers, original hook keeper ring. What else? A rather thrilling 1½” diameter red rubber button, which has a faint trace of perishing that I find very attractive, rather like the fugitive scent of truffles that one sometimes finds in a mature Pomerol, or the slight dimpling on the buttocks of the girl on the right in Rubens’ Lot and His Daughters.

Perhaps this is your first Avocet and now that you’ve regained consciousness and got over the initial rush of excitement that Avocet ownership brings, you’ll be wondering what you can do with it. Well, just about anything. Tench, barbel, chub, perch- all should be approached with completed confidence by you, the handsome owner of a magnificent Avocet from the early nineteen fifties. You’ll probably take it to the river in your 1953 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith Sedanca de Ville , which you inherited from your uncle Monty. Of course, only your closest friends know that it was originally built for Nubar Gulbenkian (the Rolls, not the Avocet!) and it’s probably best that it stays that way.


11¼’ 3-piece. Whole Tonkin cane butt. Middle & tip are arrow-straight darkly flame tempered hand-made Bob Southwell split cane.

PLEASE NOTE: Classic Avocets have  whole cane butts that are paler than their richly coloured flame tempered split cane middle and tip sections. This is because whole cane can’t be straightened if it’s been darkly flamed. It has to be gently cooked and then straightened, which doesn’t darken the whole cane significantly. This is the proper treatment of the bamboo and in the flesh, if not in my primitive photographs, these rods are most attractive.

24½” trumpet topped cork handle of exceptional quality with aluminium butt cap, sliding reel bands and shoulder collar by WR Products of Shepherds Bush.

Splint end suction ferrules with spigotted males. Their fit is excellent and they have a lacquered bronzed finish. The original mahogany and cork stoppers are in place.

The rings are clean chrome plated full-open bridge pattern, with matching clear agatine-lined butt and tip rings. The hook keeper ring is positioned immediately above the handle top.

Whippings throughout are dark red silk, with wonderfully fine and graduated close-whipped intermediates. The transfers are perfect, as is the finish, which we have preserved and protected with one flawless overcoat of compatible & historically correct varnish.

The rod is in its original bag.