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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Sunday, 6 December 2015

What a gift

It's been quite a whirlwind of social engagements since Friday, my 60th birthday. £47 on bacon rolls for my colleagues in digital, out for a Chinese with friends that same evening before meeting up with my family at The Comfort Inn for a social on Saturday night. During my time on this earth I have been given some fantastic presents by various people, Bev especially good a choosing just the right thing.
An image which is unable to do justice to this remarkable piece
of angling history

Last night I was reduced to a gibbering mess by a gift that my entire family had collectively purchased for me. A Richard Walker Mk IV, 10' split cane rod by B James & Son London, England (1959). Something which I have dreamt of on many occasions yet have never had the means to acquire - a truly wonderful surprise.


I don't know when I'll next be out, but you can rest assured that this iconic rod will not be hidden away but, instead, be put through its' paces as I seek to add my own stories to the history of this rod. I've been trying to discover what reel Dick Walker had used when he caught Clarrisa, my copy of Still Water Angling shows Pete Thomas and others of that era all using Mitchell 300's at Redmire.

The man himself - Dick Walker poses with "Clarrisa" at Redmire Pool
The source of inspiration for my generation of anglers - a true angling legend.
I might try to get down to Sandwich for a perch session one morning in the week? I can also see myself returning to The Stour for some centre-pin chub fishing, all of a sudden I have a head full of possibilities for new projects.

10 comments:

  1. Belated happy returns Dyl, and what a gift!

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    1. Cheers Steve - I was blown away mate! It was a great night - Dyl

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  2. Fantastic gift Dyl. But are you sure about using it? I'd be wary about the integrity of the glue holding it together after half a century. The idea of leaning into something and having it split apart doesn't bear thinking about.
    Hang it on the wall, it's a Rembrandt of the angling world.

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    1. Rich - it's a fishing rod, not a painting! It was built to be used and I intend to add my own chapter to it's history before handing it on to my son. I understand your point of view but I have to use it - collecting isn't what I do. I still regularly use 1920's wooden centre-pins which were given to me by my cousin. My Mitchell 300's have replaced my ABU Cardinal 44's & 66X's - I live in a bygone age - that rod is a link to why I started angling in the first place. I don't seek "Clarissa" a decent chub or barbel will suffice, a double from a local commercial will do for me - it won't be going to Scotland for a week at Loch Awe! - Dyl

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    2. Dylan, a Walker MkIV by B James came my way about 25 years ago. I used it at Water End, of all places, and bent it plenty. No half-mackerel chucking though! Unfortunately I had a bad period of phasing shortly afterwards and sold it on...which I regret to this day.
      Enjoy.

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  3. It's ok Dyl. I only meant it as a friendly word of caution based on the only split cane rod to come into my own possession. Already shredded when the previous owner attempted to sling out a half mackerel.
    Btw, I've a whole collection (more of a heap really) of 300's, 410's, Cardinal 66's, 44x, ABU 506 and an old Ambidex (my dads).
    Generally I use some 20 year old Shimano's from the time when angling technology bamboozled me out of sight.

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  4. Hello Dylan.
    Hope you enjoy using the rod. I am the person your family bought the rod from. The rod was made especially for the 1959 Boat Show
    The black fittings were only fitted to rods sold at the show, all other B.James / Richard Walker mkiv rod,s will have aluminium fittings. I notice you want to find out what reel Dick Walker would have used on that day back in 1952 at Redmire. I been in touch with Chris Ball the owner of the rod Dick used and asked him for his views on the reel . This is he,s reply " Hello Lee,
    The reel Dick used when he landed the record 44lb carp was a standard Mitchell egg shaped model. He bought at least two in the late 1940s. They were of a half-bail design with a rotary button to control the ratchet and carried only the engraved word Mitchell on them. The engraved letters of 300 were not added to these reels until a little later.

    It is not known what happened to either of these reels, however, in 1953 to commemorate the Tom Sails/Walker match, Angling Times stuck a special Mitchell with an engraved brass plaque that Dick used extensively. I’m lucky to have this reel in my collection. I have pictures of Dick using this very reel for Great Quse perch fishing and Tring reservoir bream fishing both dating from the 1950s.

    Cheers,
    ChrisB "

    Lee

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    1. Lee,
      Thank you so much for taking the trouble to provide this fantastic comment. The rod is a beautiful object and something which I will treasure until it is time to pass it on to my son. I cannot recall the half-bail Mitchells, but I do own a half-bail FSR which might just fit the bill? I will see what it feels like. My hope is to use the rod to catch a wild carp from the East Kent drains, a decent perch from a local commercial and a double-figure barbel from The Kentish Stour. If I can do this I will die a happy man indeed.
      Once again - I am really gob smacked by the efforts you have gone to on my behalf - many thanks
      All the very best - Dylan

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  5. Egg shaped Mitchell half bails with the round knob anti reverse switch are expensive, normally selling for over £100 for a user. have a look at the link below

    http://www.mitchellreelmuseum.com/index.php/category/127

    This is the same model as Dick Walker would have used

    I would just stick with an early Mitchell 300 , they match up well with the Mkiv

    Lee

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    1. Lee, I'm stuck at work at present. I'll check this out when I get home some time after 22.00hrs. Cheers - Dylan

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