Edward Barder developed his love for angling from his father, Richard, in the 1960s and 70s. Aged nine, Edward is seen here posing at one of his father's favourite stretches of the river Kennet in Berkshire (UK). The photo illustrated the cover of Richard's highly regarded book, “Dry-Fly Trouting For Beginners".
At this time, split cane rods were still commonplace, although fibre glass was in the ascendant. Edward and his father fished with rods made from both materials but it was split cane that they liked for its looks and tactile qualities. Edward was a child who always had to dismantle things that interested him. This habit led him to investigate the construction of split cane rods. Inevitably, attempts at making rods followed.
While working for Hardy's in Pall Mall, London, he continued to refine his rod-making craft. He also contacted a number of the old masters who passed on secrets of the trade and provided him with priceless raw materials. These included large stocks of vintage Tonkin bamboo, whipping silks, best grade handle corks and appropriate rod rings.
In time, working for Hardy's by day and making rods by night was too much. The catalyst for the founding of the Edward Barder Rod Company was when fellow cane enthusiast, Chris Yates, did Edward the honour of co-designing a new range of rods. Like him, Chris felt that there was a growing body of anglers who would welcome a fresh source of hand-made split cane rods.
By 1990, with the purchase of the original workshop equipment used by Constable of Bromley, the Edward Barder Rod Company was firmly established. Since then, Colin Whitehouse, a near equally avid angler, has added his skills to the business.
We have taken great care to make rods that sympathetically utilise and fully express the incredible qualities of Tonkin bamboo. Conceived for the contemporary fly fisher, Barder split bamboo rods are anything but old fashioned ...