E. Barder Rod Co facsimile of Richard Walker’s MK IV carp rod c1994.
In exceptional condition, this very special rod has some original ex-Richard Walker components and other unique features.
In 1994 our friend Chris Ball came to see us with a unique rod of such historical significance that we all-but knelt before it and offered prayers. It was the piscatorial equivalent of Saint Fiacre of Breuil’s dibber or Mozart’s favourite billiard cue. It was, of course, the rod that Richard Walker had used to catch his record carp. At the time, Chris Ball and Chris Yates owned this rod jointly. CB had a two thirds share and CY the other third.
We were able to measure this fabled Walker-made rod for every detail and dimension. Chris Ball gave us a set of colour prints of various parts of the rod too, which will be issued with the rod. With the information we’d gleaned, we set about making the rod that we’d been commissioned to build –a facsimile of Walker’s original MK IV. This is that rod.
We were able to assemble a set of agate-lined nickel silver rings of the same pre-1939 vintage and pattern as fitted to the original rod. We made an exact copy of Walker’s unique and distinctive Dural butt cap. The spigotted ferrules were fitted. We had an ounce spool of Elephant Brand silk that would be just the right colour when saturated with yacht varnish. We’d made the split cane blank to the exact dimensions Richard Walker had published in his book Rod Building For Amateurs.
While we were getting on with the build, Chris Yates was given a Walker-built rod that needed refurbishment. Horace Smith ran a firm that stocked mowers made by Walker’s family firm, Lloyds of Letchworth. Ever generous, Walker gave keen carp angler Horace Smith a special MK IV he’d built for him. This was the rod now in need of an overhaul.
The handle was extremely dirty and the only way to get back to good sound cork was to turn it to a respectable ⅞” diameter and replace the consequently loose sliding bands with another pair of the correct vintage. Chris Yates gave us permission to use the original reel bands from the Horace Smith rod on the facsimile MK IV we were building.
Although I haven’t seen another pair like them, I can’t guarantee that Walker made these reel bands (he may very well have), but I can vouch for the fact that they came from an original Walker-built rod.
As you will see from the pictures that accompany this description, the rod has absolutely correct Walker MK IV features and captures the essence of the original rod without being an attempt at fakery.
As you would expect, the rod has a lively feel in the hand, both light and pliant, with the promise of that uniquely MK IV ability to flick out a free-lined crust, set a hook at distance and handle a lively carp. It’s in astonishingly good condition and ready to fish with. It retains 100% of its youthful vigour, is dead straight and has the understated good looks and style that Richard Walker achieved with his rods.
10’ 2-piece blank made from hand-made split cane. Specially selected vintage Tonkin bamboo was used. Dimensions are those specified by Richard Walker.
Splint end spigotted brass suction ferrules, blued and lacquered. Fitted with a classic hand turned acorn-shaped mahogany stopper (Walker’s original MK IV has a later stopper salvaged from an Ogden Smith rod).
25” cork handle turned to the correct shape and size, including its subtly flared top and bulge above the butt cap to retain the sliding bands.
Dural Walker pattern butt cap, correct 1½” diameter black rubber button and ex-Walker sliding reel bands from the Horace Smith Walker MK IV in Chris Yates’s possession.
Agate lined nickel silver rings as per Walker’s own rod (hard chrome plated stainless steel rings hadn’t come to the UK in 1952)..
Translucent Elephant Brand tan silk whippings with black Pearsall’s Gossamer silk tippings. The whippings and Indian ink inscriptions are positioned as they were on the Walker original. The thread Walker used was Dewhurst’s ‘Sylko’ mercerised cotton sewing thread. Excellent stuff but very woolly so it had to be doped. We don’t do dope, man, so we achieved the correct colour by using the aforementioned varnish-saturated ‘The Elephant Celebrated Rod Binding Silk’.
The rod as a superb new tailor-made khaki bag.
Supplied with our original workshop notes of the original Walker MK IV dimensions and particulars and a set of five colour photos of the rod taken by Chris Ball.