A 1990 'Caudle & Rivaz' 8' 8" #4/5 Boron-Carbon Rod.

Lewis Chessman

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A new old rod turned up today via eBay and I thought I'd share it with you. First though, my respects to the seller for his packing skills. I felt like I'd fought a fresh 20 lb springer after wrestling the packing tape off the rod tube! I hope that's not the only fight I get with this rod!

It's a Caudle and Rivaz Ltd. Boron-Carbon composite with the curious length of 8 feet 8 inches - and, no, it's not been snapped at the tip! ;)
The rod was built in 1990, it says, and is classed as a #4/5. It weighs a paltry 3 1/4 ounces and has to be the softest rod I've ever wiggled!

Honestly, if you give it a regularly timed side-to-side sweep one can see the tip going one way whilst the middle is heading in the opposite direction! It's actually quite mesmerising to watch, almost like half of a 2D helix, if that helps imagine the effect? However, soft though it is it recovers very quickly. I've never known a rod quite like it.

When able, I think I'll start with a WF #3 before moving up the weights. I may be doing the old girl a disservice but I reckon a #5 WF will utterly overload her. We'll see come mid-March when my trout season opens.

Caudle and Rivaz were a couple of friends who formed a small custom rod building company in the UK back in the early '70s. They were innovative early adopters of American graphite blanks - I already own a 1st generation Fenwick HMG of theirs from mid to late 1970. When Owen Caudle died his son sold some of his father's personal collection, mentioning at the time that C&R imported boron-graphite blanks from Graphite USA, though I don't recall a date for this. I'm presuming for now that this is one of those they brought over, maybe mid-80s.

The rod has yet to be cleaned by me but is pretty tidy as is, with little to no dirt below the stripping guide where it so often accrues. As with my Fenwick HMG, there is no winding check. Personally I think the build up of glue at the tip of the handle unattractive, but there we go. The whippings are an eye-pleasing ruby with a pleasant sheen below the epoxy, which is neatly applied to most guides, perhaps a tad heavy to my taste, but they're not 'rugby balls'. The tip ring epoxy is a bit uneven but otherwise, not bad.

Some photos:

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I'll give it a good clean tomorrow and see if I can't smarten that seat up somewhat. Then I wait ..... I reckon a half-pound brownie will bend this thing double! :)
 
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