Thirty years ago I bought a matched pair of Sharpes Scottie impregnated carp rods. They were immaculate. I paid slightly more than I should have to help a friend who was in financial difficulties. I told him that he could buy them back when he was flush but we lost contact. I didn’t use the rods until a few years ago. I christened the rods with several carp all of which were over 20lbs, one approaching 30lbs. Then I discovered how rare and valuable the rods were. My matching pair of Sharpes “The Carp”, in mint condition, sold for nearly ten times what I had paid. I had mixed feelings about the sale. I was relieved not to have the responsibility of looking after the rods but sad that I could no longer fish with them.
One winter afternoon, bored, browsing through vintage rods for sale, I found a time capsule. Another Sharpes rod. It was expensive. The rod had been made in September 1964 and had been in storage for over 54 years. I didn’t need another vintage cane rod. I had restored two rods and found the Holy Grail of English split cane, a Bob Southwell fly rod. My heart overruled my head and I bought “The Aberdeen”; 10′ 6″ of honey coloured cane. My previous Sharpes rods had given me a lot of pleasure and they had been a great investment. I bought it as an early birthday present to myself. My instincts told me it was the right thing to do.
The rod arrived, in a bullet proof plastic tube, covered in duct tape and bubble wrap. It took ages to unwrap. Once assembled it was a joy to waggle. I compared it with the Farlows rod that I had restored. They were the same length but the Sharpes had a steely quality absent in the lithe loch rod. This rod clearly means business, it would handle a large sea trout. I flexed it in the garden and cast to the lawn trout under the rose bush. It had quite a fast action for such a long, heavy rod.
I now have two rare vintage rods to play with. The Southwell has already been christened. I am tempted to take the Sharpes to Cumbria. It would be at home on the wide, fast flowing River Derwent.