MK IV carp made by Richard Walker c1952.
The MK IV hand made by Richard Walker for Colonel J. F. MacLean, through whom the fishing at Redmire Pool was made available.
In the early 1950s, Colonel John Francis MacLean (1901-1986) was the sporting tenant at Bernithan Court, and it was through him that fishing in the lake in the estate’s grounds was made available to Richard Walker and his friends of the Carp Catchers Club. At BB’s suggestion the lake was known as Redmire Pool.
Colonel MacLean had shown some interest in taking up carp fishing so Richard Walker very generously made this MK IV for him by way of encouragement. It was presented to him with a Mitchel reel (whereabouts unknown). History does not record whether or not Colonel MacLean subsequently tried his hand at carp fishing. He had, between the wars, played first class cricket as a wicket keeper-batsman for Gloucestershire and Worcestershire (- see the Redmire section of Kevin Clifford’s book A History Of Carp Fishing Revisited, in which there is a picture of Colonel MacLean).
Entirely hand built by Richard Walker, the split cane sections bear all the signs of having been made by the method described by Walker in his book Rod Building For Amateurs and in more detail by Colonel G Lawton Moss in his book on rod building, the snappily titled How To Build And Repair Your Own Split Cane Fishing Rod.
The unique butt cap (and sliding reel bands) was made by Richard Walker and is common to other rods he made, most notably the rod he used to land his record carp, and the ones he built for BB, Bernard Venables and Horace Smith. The cork handle is 27″ long and has Walker’s trademark cork ‘doughnut’ just above the butt cap to stop the reel bands from sliding off the handle.
The ferrules are the originals supplied by J. B. Walker of Hythe, Kent. These ferrules, recommended by Walker in his writings, had their four splints further split into three. He illustrated this technique in his books and the ferrules on this rod are split just as he recommended.
The rod had been fitted with replacement butt and tip rings and re-whipped at some time prior to 1984. We have retained and re-used the rod’s original low ‘Bell’s Life’ intermediate rings. The butt and tip rings were later replacements and we have fitted correct rings of exactly the same pattern as those fitted to Walker’s own MK IV and others he made.
The whippings are precisely as Walker would have applied when he made the rod. When I carried out some work on the MK IV he made for Bernard Venables, I was able to establish the exact colour he’d used to obtain a perfect match (Sylko D.296 Old Gold). We have used this same thread to whip Colonel MacLean’s rod. Just as Walker did, we have used ‘Banana Oil’ (a type of flexible cellulose) to seal the thread, and Copal varnish to finish the rod, again, as recommended by Walker.
The rod itself is straight, lissome and full of vigour. It is as structurally sound as the day it was completed.
The rod retains its perfectly preserved Indian ink inscription, written in three lines by Richard Walker in his inimitable style- Built for J. F. Maclean by Richard Walker Hitchin
It has a bag that I suspect is original, and a specially commissioned leather and canvas tubular case made by the famous South African leather worker, Hugh Grieve.
The rod is provided with a letter of provenance from its most recent owner, Nigel Haywood, aka Parker, Hon. President of the Golden Scale Club, and copies of letters from Richard Walker to Allen Edwards of the ACA and from Richard Walker to Chris Yates. Both letters deal specifically with the rod.
Nigel Haywood acquired the rod when he won it as a raffle prize (he’d bought one ticket, for £1) at the 1984 National Association of Specialist Anglers conference. It was raffled on behalf of the ACA (and had been provided by Allen Edwards).
I have worked on and/or examined in minute detail the following Walker-built rods:
The 2-piece light spinning rod which was his first self-made rod, inscribed Stuart Walker (his middle name), which he gave to his great friend Ken Taylor (Fred J’s younger brother), the MK IV Richard Walker used to land his record carp, Bernard Venables’ MK IV, BB’s MK IV, the Horace Smith MK IV (owned by Chris Yates), Dick Kefford’s MK IV, the MK IV Avon that Chris Yates used to land his record carp and a 10′ 2-piece 5-strip pentagonal MK IV that Richard Walker built as an experiment in his search for the ideal carp rod.
Based on this wide experience of Richard Walker’s work I can state without fear of contradiction that this rod is as authentic and ‘pure Walker’ as any of those listed above.
This a superb and historically exceedingly important rod, ranking alongside the rods Walker built for BB and Bernard Venables.