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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:15 am 
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Minnow
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Location: Burgundy - France
Here's a picture of two rods I own:

Image

The one below, The Redmire MK IV, made by A. W. Croft, has a similar length an action compared to the B James MK IV. I received it two weeks ago in absolute NEW condition. Can anybody tell me more about this rod? I understand that Tony Croft made it, but where and when was it made? How many were made? The n°1 written on the rod means the first one of this type Tony build? Any information will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Leon


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:20 am 
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Arctic Char
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I believe that Beresford, who is a member on here, has a pair of Tony Croft MK IVs, which I think were made in the 1990s. Tony Croft was based in Christchurch, Hampshire. If/when Beresford sees this, I expect he'll be able to tell you more.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 10:29 am 
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Eel
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Leon

I so wanted to buy that rod you have, it was sold at auction earlier this year. I'm about to go out but I'll tell you more later. What I will say for now is that rod is the first one built and was made for Chris Standford. It one one of an initial batch of 4. Chris Ball will also be able to tell you more. I'll check in here later today.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:14 am 
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Minnow
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I found it on this website: http://www.vintagefishingtackle.co.uk/splitcanerods.htm

If you scroll down you will see it is still there but mentioned as "sold". I bought it for £295 (a fair price for a n°1 in mint condition I assume?). I know the same was sold at Mullocks Auctions in July - hammer price £210.

Haven't fished with it yet but it looks and feels spot on...

Impatient to here more from you about this rod Beresford!

Thanks in advance.

Leon


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Eel
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Leon

Well they certainly look the part don't they. £295 for mint is a good price I was surprised its hammer price and subsequent price to you wasn't higher. I'm not sure how much more there is to say. They were built in the early 1990s and I understand they are to a MkIV taper but how accurate a version of Walker's original taper they are I can't say. Mine isn't particularly steely but they will all differ anyway. However, compared to other MkIV's I've used I would say mine is pretty good in terms of action and exactly what I'd expect of a MkIV. Tony Croft had been a senior rod builder for Allcocks and I think there is something quite Allcocks like about them. All those I've seen (only four rods) differ in detail, slightly bigger or smaller rings, different ferrules, different handle shapes etc. I've been told that Barder tried to get Croft to sell him his stock of about 50 agate rings as they date from the 1950s. Barder wanted them and Croft wouldn't sell! Instead he used them on his own rods. Croft also offered a MkIV Avon but I have never seen one for sale. A Croft fast action fly rod was sold by Mullocks a few years ago for £150 (ish) it was green whipped. All the MkIVs I've seen were whipped in a slightly pink/purple ruby colour. The finish feels 'authentic' to me, the varnish isn't over thick or too glossly looking. I don't know how many of these rods were made but again I would be surprised if it was more than a few dozen since they so rarely come up for grabs. In about 15 years I've only seen the one you now own sold.

The one I use was a second hand buy 16 years ago. It cost me £150 in exceptional but not mint condition. At the time they were £250 new. It's not numbered, as far as I'm aware only the first four were numbered. I have used it a fair bit and it should really be refurbished but it seems a shame to do that when the rod is still good enough for fishing with. I guess here is where I would say the difference lies between one of these and say something like a Paul Cook, Barder or something of similar quality lies.

This Croft rod bends right down through the corks with a decent fish on. I've had a 45 minute tussle against a 16lb fish on this rod and believe me that fish was built like a wildie and the rod was so bent that I swear I could feel the gaps between the corks opening up! The rod's previous owner had taken fish up to 28lbs on it without any bother.

Enjoy it! For the money I think they are great.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:11 pm 
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Minnow
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Thanks for that information Beresford.

Here’s the rod laying on the floor next to an original B James MK IV. The Croft one is laying above the B James. It is slightly shorter (10’ in stead of 10’2), the agate but ring is slightly smaller and the ferrule is slightly different. The rest looks (and feels) pretty much the same.

Image

Leon


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:18 pm 
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Salmon
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A cracking pair :thumb:

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:17 pm 
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Eel
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Interesting to see number 1. Croft seems to have been very consistent with his signature whippings, those on my rod look identical. His hand script on the rod is superb and far, far better than most. My 'production' version differs in that:

_it is a straw coloured cane and rather paler than yours

_the ferrule on mine isn't a reinforced style

_the butt ring on mine is larger, about the same size as that on your James rod, maybe even a mm or two bigger

_the ferrule stopper is made from a section of split cane

_the handle on mine has a sort of squarer donut style end and the corks are cut across the grain not with it, which I actually don't like and would love to have the handle rebuilt.

When I have the rod refurbished, as I will one day, my agate tip ring needs re-soldering, one of the side arms/bars has broken free although I've made a repair carefully using two part expoy that is holding up well. I'll have the handle rebuilt with nicer corks and either a gentle flare or an onion top. I'll have a reinforced ferrule fitted. Not sure on whipping colour since I want to preserve the beautiful signature whippings. I guess they could be copied but I'd like something really subtle since the cane is pale. Maybe straw or siena brown and chestnut or something. I don't know yet. The tip section on mine could do with some care as it has had a lot of battles and could be straightened or turned over. Turning the tip actually gives a more steely feel to the top section. We'll see, I certainly won't do it until the rod really needs it due to the expense of having it done properly.

Often when I'm playing fish I do as Barder suggests and I turn the rod over, rings skywards. The fish at one pool I fish at are usually incredibly hard fighting and they can put up a real struggle so my Croft rod has done good service.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:32 pm 
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Pike
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Lovely purchase, Leon!

I can add that for a time at least Tony Croft worked with or for Aspindales and produced a range of rods called Norcroft. I think these were offered only to the American market, but I'm not certain of that fact.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:01 pm 
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Catfish
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I am fortunate enough to own an A W Croft (bought for me as a present by Mrs AC) 9 foot rod ... "The Crofter Series" Raphona Cane rod made under the badge of "Norcro Fishing Tackle, Fordingbridge, Hants.", on which I caught my 1st Koi. See the photo in the report here from last weekend :-

viewtopic.php?f=28&t=3719&start=0

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