UK rod builder Tony Fordham dies at the age 87
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Tony Fordham, for more than 50 years a mainstay of the UK tackle trade and one of its foremost rod builders, died last week at the age of 87.
Fordham started out in the trade in 1954 and went on to become a rod designer and manufacturer at Davenport & Fordham in Fordingbridge, Hampshire.
He later worked for the Modern Arms Rod Company in London, before founding Fordham & Wakefield in 1978.
He was instrumental at Davenport & Fordham in introducing the Sportex range of blanks from Germany to the UK. More recently, Fordham & Wakefield has distributed products including Royal Wulff fly lines, Seaguar fluorocarbons and Flex Coat epoxy resins and rod building accessories.
A skilled engineer with service in the RAF, Tony Fordham was expert in fashioning split cane rods from raw Chinese bamboo poles and built the superb Tom Ivens range of stillwater fly rods. He was also a pioneer in the use of glass fibre, carbon and Kevlar.
He invented the spigot ferrule, which saved weight, improved flex and avoided breakages, but regretted failing to patent the idea.
Credited with influencing many well-known anglers over the years, he had a wide experience of coarse, game and saltwater fishing across the world, which he used to good effect in his business. He retired last year.
“He was a true innovator and problem solver,” said his son, Anthony, who takes over as Managing Director at Fordham & Wakefield in East Sussex. “He was also an incredible perfectionist, which is why he was so highly thought of by customers.”
Tony Fordham is survived by his wife, Barbara, son, Anthony, and daughters, Caroline and Elizabeth.