Could these be the finest MK IVs ever made? Modesty prevents me from making such an assertion but if you reach the conclusion that they are, I won’t argue with you.
In 1998 I was approached by the Hardy shop manager, my old colleague and friend Simon Grater, with a view to supplying Hardy’s with a special limited edition of split cane rods. We proposed a set of eight MK IVs to be whipped with silk that had originally come from Walker himself. The rods would have other special features and letters of provenance signed by Chris Yates and ourselves.
This is only the second time that any of these rods have come on to the market. They belonged to the late John Mason who ran the fishing at Wotton Underwood, made famous by John’s great friend Fred J Taylor.
They have the finest possible specification and provenance, as you will see from the accompanying reproductions of some of the original paperwork. The pictures are not up to my usual very average standard because my best camera is resting so a £5 happy snapper is covering for it.
In 1998 we were commissioned by the House of Hardy to build eight very special Richard Walker MK IV carp rods. These rods were stocked in the famous Hardy shop at 61, Pall Mall (where I’d worked in the 1980s).
We made the rods from vintage bamboo acquired from Oliver’s of Knebworth. I made the split cane blanks in the time honoured way, flame hardening the culms, splitting them by hand and straightening the strips over an open flame. The knots were pressed and the bamboo strips were then precision milled to the exact MK IV dimensions.
This rod remains perfectly straight and its sections have the beautiful appearance that only flame hardening can achieve.
The handle has the classic trumpet shape favoured by Richard Walker. The fittings are our own make of finely knurled and engraved nickel sliver. These include the shoulder collar at the top of the handle and the hand forged strap that secures the hook keeper ring.
The ferrule is our own make, also nickel sliver, blued and lacquered. It retains a very firm as-new fit and has its hand-turned cork and hardwood stopper
Rings are clear Agatine for the butt, Sapphrite Laurels hard chrome plated stainless steel bridge pattern intermediates and a superb agate lined nickel sliver tip ring.
Whippings are in the Walker style, using Perivale shade 581 pure silk that originally came from Richard Walker. He built a MK IV as a gift for Horace Smith. It came with the spool of silk it had been whipped with, for any future repairs. This rod and the silk were given to Chris Yates. Chris asked us to re-whip the rod and we were allowed to keep the silk, which was on a 1300 meter spool. With it, we were able to whip the eight MK IVs we made for Hardy’s and a handful of other specially commissioned rods.
The rod is inscribed with its details, number and date in Indian ink and the finish is our usual hand-applied marine grade varnish.
The rod is in outstanding condition and comes in its tailored bag.
Someone walked in to the Hardy shop one day and stole rod number 7, which why the pair we are offering are numbers 6 & 8.
The rods will be supplied with copies of the original proposal letter and sales paperwork between the Barder Rod Co and the House of Hardy.