Barder Rod Co Chris Yates ‘The Merlin’ made in 2007.

An exceptional example of this ever popular Avon-style rod in near-mint condition.


The Merlin is now in its thirty first year of production. Actually, it may be its thirty second. It’s so long ago and I’m so old that it seems like a lifetime ago that I took the first one to Chris Yates to try out on the Railway Pool of the Royalty Fishery. I’ve hardly changed anything about it. We (Chris and I -this was BC- before Colin) got its design pretty well spot on. Both of us were very enthusiastic and frequent river anglers back then, when humans and fish could swim innocently in the limpid, feculence-free waters of England. We knew what we wanted from an Avon rod and the Merlin was it.

This example has been used but not so that you’d notice. I have no idea whether or not it has been instrumental in the playing of a fish, but from its all-but mint, as new condition, I suspect not. If I told you that it’s new, you’d believe me.

I made the split cane blank from well seasoned, flame tempered Tonkin bamboo, hand split into strips that were straightened before milling to their final dimensions. Tolerances of +/- one thousandth of an inch were maintained. The sections are exactly straight.

Ferrules are reinforced, waterproof, splint end, blued and lacquered. The stopper is hand-turned olive wood.

Handle fittings are finely knurled aluminium, very strong, very light.

The rings are Amberfin for the butt and tip with hard chrome plated stainless steel intermediates are the superlative Sapphrite Laurels Europas.

The Flor grade cork handle is 24″ long.

The whippings are bottle green Pearsall’s silk throughout, including the perfectly graduated intermediates, and the rod has a flawless hand-applied marine grade varnish finish.

A superb all-rounder for most fresh water fish with the exceptions of carp, pike and heavy barbel. The ideal reel lines are 3 – 6 lbs BS and casting weights up to 1 oz are fine.

This is a very nice rod indeed. It’s significantly less than a new one and you don’t have to wait until you’re as old as I am before you take delivery. You can have it in two days instead of two years.