The Best… Fishing Rod in the World… Ever!

It must be the one of the most common threads on the various fishing forums across t’internet: ‘What is the best rod OF ALL TIME…’

The most recent example concerns a debate over on Fishing Magic about what constitutes the best chub rod ever, and while, of course, there is no definitive answer, it was nice to see a few people mention the old John Wilson Avon Quiver.

The John Wilson Avon Quiver rod
Mine is a lot more scruffy these days!

The JW Avon Quiver has to be one of the greatest rods of all time. I’ve pushed mine into so many extreme situations and used it in so many ways and it has never really let me down.

It was my first ‘specialist’ rod and I still use the rod in its Avon guise regularly (the quiver section having been involved in a nasty incident involving a bike and a brother many years ago)

I once landed a very nice thornback ray from a windy beach in west Wales on a small piece of ledgered mackerel that I‘d chucked out a fair old way. The rod?… you guessed it.

I’ve used as an impromptu pike rod many times and had some big, opportunist river pike on it and it’s never felt seriously under-gunned.

And before it became fashionable to use 2lb pound-plus test curve rods and 15lb line for barbel fishing, it was common to see virtually every angler fishing along the Royalty using a single Avon Quiver rod, with the quiver top section pointing skywards and invariably using meat over hemp. It’s probably not very PC to admit to using the Avon Quiver for barbel fishing these days but they’re still a fine tool for extracting average sized barbs from small to medium sized rivers.

A Royalty fishery barbel
A nice Royalty fishery barbel from near the railway a few years ago, tamed by the Avon Quiver!

And with the Avon top on it comes into its own. From light to medium feeder fishing for tench and bream to freelining big baits for chub to float fishing close-in for tench and carp, it’s clean, through action make an effective and fun rod to use.

I’ve only been let down twice by the rod and even then I’m not sure it was entirely the rods fault.

Firstly, I lost a perch that would have obliterated my pb. I still have to bite my knuckle when I think about that perch – it was big. I was float fishing maggots close-in, using a simple waggler rig. After hooking and landing a decent fish of around a pound and a half, the next bite saw me connect with a proper ‘un. The rod performed admirably, soaking up those big, initial head shakes and I soon had what was evidently a very decent perch under control. Perhaps the little, barbless size 16 hook was always liable to pop-out but after getting the perch to within inches of the net all it took was one final shake of the head and the hook pinged out and the big stripy vanished into the murky depths. I cant help but feel that if I’d been using a lighter, specialist float rod it would have cushioned that final, fatal head shake.

The second instance was many years ago on Kouris dam in Cyprus. We used to go over to Cyprus for family holidays in the Easter break and I would fish the vast dams on the island for the plentiful carp. I think the rod was knocked and damaged during baggage handling, as on my first cast on the first day, upon hooking a big, angry common carp at range the rod simply exploded just above the handle – I still netted the fish though!

However, despite the fact it still offers superb value for money at around £50, there are some incredible spec rods out there at very competitive prices these days. The sheer variety of specialist rods that are available in comparison to when I first got my hands on the old bottle green version of the Avon Quiver system nearly 20 years ago is amazing.

And, I guess, the duel purpose rod concept can be seen to be a bit gimmicky and the rods, and maybe even Wilson himself, are probably considered just a tiny bit naff these days.

But as spring slowly begins to arrive and the fish really start to wake up and feed again in earnest, I know I’ll be reaching for the JW Avon Quiver again very soon. Hopefully I’ll get a clonker!

John Wilson
Sir John