Chris Ball and Chris Sandford with rod and reel

by Angling Times |

The reel used by Dick Walker to catch his record carp has been found, restored and reunited with the rod which made history.

The whereabouts of the Mitchell half-bail reel used to land Clarissa from Redmire Pool at 44lb in September 1952 had been unknown for years until the recent discovery. Antique tackle collector Chris Sandford – who already owns the rod used on that historic day – is the proud new owner of the reel.

He told Angling Times:

“Although I have made endless enquiries trying to track down the reel that Walker used when he caught the record, no one had any idea where it might be hiding. That was until I got a call from carp historian Chris Ball. His first sentence stopped me in my tracks: ‘Morning, mate, I think I might have found the Clarissa reel!’.”

The pair then spent six weeks confirming the provenance of the reel, which had been found by an unnamed owner in a bundle of tucked-away items.

“When Chris and I were both satisfied that the story was completely genuine,

I made an offer that was accepted,” said Chris Sandford.

The reel was then sent to rod restorer Jonathon Savory, who recently rejuvenated the MKIV carp rod which Walker used to land Clarissa.

Dick Walker with Clarissa

In a note to Chris, Jonathon said:

“As you might expect, it was internally clogged with all manner of grease and grime. After a careful disassembly and intense cleaning, I only had to replace a couple of shims to get it running perfectly.

“I know you were a little concerned about the reel’s appearance, but I honestly feel that the external wear only heightens the sense of history surrounding what was, until recently, considered to be a lost artifact.

“Reunited with Walker’s MKIV rod, it must form a pairing of invaluable importance to the world of carp fishing.”

Vintage rod restorer Jonathon Savory
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