Oliver’s of Knebworth MK IV carp rod.

A very beautiful and practical rod in exceptional condition.



When we offer a vintage rod, you know that it’ll be something very special. We’re unapologetically fussy. This is good for you, the discerning enthusiast.

I knew Ted Oliver well. On Saturday afternoons in the late 1980s, after I’d finished work at Hardy’s of Pall Mall, I’d catch the train to Knebworth and walk to Oliver’s shop on the London Road. I’d buy materials and rod building tools from Ted, and ogle his stock.

Later on, when I’d set up on my own and he’d retired from rod building, I would visit him once or twice a year to buy large quantities of vintage Tonkin bamboo poles, silk thread and other sundries. On one occasion, he was very complimentary about a rod of ours that I’d taken to show him. I nearly fainted.

After we’d had a cup of tea, he offered to show me his technique for building split cane, which he’d learnt as an apprentice at the workshop of the great Bob Southwell. It was a quick demonstration lasting a few hours, but he was keen for me to understand the essence of the method before it was lost for all time. He was kind enough to say that I would understand it, and he wasn’t sure that anyone else would.

Since then, I have prepared and worked my bamboo right up to the tapering stage (I use a milling machine, he used a hand plane) using Oliver’s/Southwell inspired techniques.

This is why I feel a particular affinity for and understanding of Oliver’s rods, and why I am particularly impressed with this MK IV.

It has sliding reel bands (winch fittings) and a butt cap made by W R Products of Shepherd’s Bush which suggests that it is quite early in the Oliver’s production. The earliest Oliver’s rods had very distinctive red and black transfers. This rod has later transfers and was probably made in the mid to late 1960s.

The hand built split cane blank is exceptionally clean and well made. The rod is a superb interpretation of the Walker MK IV and has a really convincing action with plenty of backbone. The dark flame tempered bamboo, dark green whippings tipped with gold and the superb finish make this one of the best looking Oliver’s carp rods I’ve seen, and his rods were always very classy! Note from the Oliver’s catalogue shown here that the 10′ MK IV carp cost seventeen pounds and ten shillings just before decimalisation (Monday the 15th of February 1971)!

If you’d like a fabulous and properly fishable split cane carp rod, or if you’d like an exceptional example of Oliver’s craftsmanship for your collection, this MK IV will fit the bill. I don’t have one (yet) so you’ll also have the dubious pleasure of observing my barely concealed envy when you buy it.


10’ hand-made split cane blank made from flame tempered Tonkin bamboo, as straight and vigorous as the day it was made.

Firm fitting Hardy pattern ferrules with Hardy style aluminium and cork stopper.

Amberfin butt ring, agate tip ring and chrome plated bridge intermediate rings. A ring & strap hook keeper is fitted above the handle.

Whippings are dark green (Perrivale Imperial shade 684) tipped with gold, with matching half inch spaced intermediates. The varnish finish is absolutely superb and the transfers are perfect.

The 26” cork handle has a trumpet-shaped top. The aluminium butt cap and winch fittings are best quality by W R Products.

The rod comes in its original bag with press stud and tape fastenings.