Oliver’s Of Knebworth ‘The Kennet Perfection’ 11’3″ 2-piece + handle.

A particularly fine & original example of this classic Oliver's rod.


Like you, I love fine hand made fishing rods. So far, so good. But here’s where we might struggle a bit. I think I’ve narrowed down the list of makers and their rods that really deserve to be sought out. By their omission, I am not scornful of other makes and models, but here, in brief, are the ones I’ve really admired during my thirty six years in the trade: B. James (Avocet, MK IV etc) Hardy (Wallis Avon) Allcock (Wallis Wizard) Foster’s (Perfection), Chapman’s, Constable, Sharpe’s, Bob Southwell and all those who sailed with him and finally, his one-time apprentice, Ted Oliver.

Years ago, I used to visit Ted regularly. At first, I bought some cane from him, and his Kennet Perfection planing block. This, he told me, was made from a salvaged Paraná pine bedstead. It had belonged to the employee of Bob Southwell, a Mr Howson, to whom Ted had been apprenticed, the Master himself being too busy. If you bought a Kennet Perfection from Bob Southwell, and in due course, from Ted Oliver, its cane was planed on this former. Much later, so were the earliest ones I made.

I was once told that Cliff Glenton (who took over the B. James & Son shop in Ealing when they moved to Huntingdon) had conceived the Kennet Perfection. I can’t prove the veracity of this, but it’s something to go on. Anyway, what a rod! Famed for its limber power, balance and portability, the Kennet Perfection is a proper classic and by common consent, Oliver’s of Knebworth made the best during the post-War golden age.

This is a rod that you can use with confidence for a wide variety of fish with a tendency to stout proportions. Not carp or pike, and it’s a bit pokey for dace, but big roach, specimen grayling, tench, barbel and chub are all withing its ambit, as are perch and bream. If you seek out the book Fred Crouch wrote about barbel, Understanding Barbel (the late Colin Dyson once said, in jest, that the barbel must indeed have been understanding to let Fred catch so many of them), there’s a picture of Fred’s Oliver’s Kennet Perfection bending to a King’s Weir barbel. This is the perfect illustration of the Kennet Perfection in action. For years, Fred used no other make or model.

This example, in outstanding original condition, is from Ted’s Middle Period. The very early ones had different transfers. Later ones were very slightly heftier. Its bag still has its original swing tag, a lovely little thing with Ted’s care & maintenance advice printed within. It’s the only one of these I’ve seen. Apart from a coat of varnish that I applied to preserve and protect the rod’s original finish, everything about this rod is correct and complete. They don’t come up very often. I think this is only the second one I’ve offered for sale. Snap it up (figuratively speaking).


Tip & middle: 56″ each, made from completely hand built split cane. Flame tempered Tonkin bamboo, hand split, nodes pressed & straightened, hand planed. 26″ detachable handle built on on a single piece of whole Tonkin bamboo. This light, strong handle has a very pleasing, subtle flex of its own.

Butt cap and sliding bands were made to Oliver’s specification.

Bronzed & lacquered ferrules were made for Oliver’s by an ex-Hardy ferrule maker and have their original Hardy-style alloy and cork stoppers.

Rings are Amberfin butt and tip, with hard chrome plated stainless steel stand-off intermediate rings. Silk whippings are dark green Perrivale shade 684 (I know this because I bought miles of it from Ted) tipped with burnt Sienna Perrivale size 200/2 Nett silk.

The overall appearance of the rod is supremely classy.

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

My recommendation: buy this rod. Use it. It’s another must have for any well composed collection.