B. James & Son Richard Walker MK IV Avon

A sensational early example of this iconic rod made in 1953.


Restored by Edward Barder & Colin Whitehouse of the Barder Rod Co in 2019.

This is a wonderfully strong example of an early B James Richard Walker MK IV Avon. Some are overly slender and others lack backbone. In character, this one is the closest I’ve seen to the rod Chris Yates used to land his record carp (albeit that rod was built on a blank made by Richard Walker). The all-important split cane blank is as straight and steely as it could ever have been –perhaps more so as the bamboo has seasoned over the years. It will go on fishing and giving pleasure indefinitely. At sixty six years old, it’s doing a lot better than its human counterparts.

A truly outstanding rod and very rare both in terms of its condition, rarity (1st year of production & about 1 in 10 MK IVs were Avons) and function.


As were all B. James rods of this period, it was built on a blank supplied by Bob Southwell of Croydon. The cane is darkly flamed, displaying perfect straight grain and neat hand-pressed knots in the classic 3 x 3 configuration.

The butt (clear Agatine) & tip ring (agate and nickel silver) are clean and sound, the transfer is superb, the six intermediate bridge rings are identical correct vintage replacements and the original small blued split ring hook keeper is still in place.

The very closely spaced intermediate whippings were applied by Mrs Murgett, wife of well known London tackle dealer and bait supplier Frank Murgett. They are Burgundy silk throughout.

The cork handle has a trumpet-shaped top. The alloy butt cap (with its red rubber button), sliding bands and shoulder collar were made by WR Products (of Speedia reel fame) of Shepherds Bush.

The blued brass reinforced splint end suction ferrule has a spigoted male, and the hand turned mahogany and cork stopper is an exact facsimile of the original.

The rod has its original bag (in common with many very early MK IV & other models, it has no B. James label).


The cork handle has been washed with warm water, soap and a soft sponge.

The rings were surgically removed and the grooved intermediate bridge rings replaced with identical but unused rings. No original varnish other than that on the whippings was removed.

The ferrules were re-fitted, re-blued and re-lacquered.

The missing ferrule stopper was replaced with an exact facsimile in hand-turned mahogany and cork.

The rod was cleaned and over-varnished with traditional yacht varnish.

No straightening or structural work whatsoever was required to the rod sections.