THE tackle manufacturer responsible for developing one of the best-selling rods of all time has passed away, aged 69.

Dick Tallents owned Masterline Tackle, the producer of iconic John Wilson rod, the Avon Quiver rod. It sold in its thousands back in the day.

Cheltenham-based Dick joined the Gloucestershire business belonging to his father, Phillip, which at the time produced fly fishing lines, when he was a 17.

He went on to inspire the company to expand into the coarse fishing market.

The company went through many changes before he retired in 2013, after 36 years as managing director, going on to become an international company, Masterline Walker.

Dick also served on the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association board for 12 years, including as president.

He was an active member of the British Fishing Tackle Trade Association – the forerunner of today’s Angling Trades Association.

Angler’s Mail columnist and England Lure Team captain Steve Collett knew Dick Tallents very well, and was many angling figures mourning his death.

Steve revealed there was so much to the real man behind the John Wilson rod and so many popular tackle products.

Steve said: “I first met Dick around 2002, when Masterline needed a new sales manager. He took me on.

“We endured buy-outs, the foot-and-mouth outbreak, American takeovers and many other business changes that would see lesser men end up in a loony bin.

“Despite all that, we thrived, learned, laughed, cried and built up far too many air miles.

“Throughout my career, Dick ensured everyone mattered.

“No matter who you were or what your status in the company, he had your back.”

Unselfish man behind John Wilson rod

Steve revealed: “His work ethic was unselfish, ethical and relentless. I can recall many a time flying back from New York.

“To prevent getting jet lag, we would walk straight back into the office as if we had been to London for the day, get a week’s work done and be in China the next week.

“The following week we’d be in a hotel in Norwich, putting up tradeshow stands.

“He was thoughtful about the products that we produced, including the John Wilson Avon Quiver, a rod that sold in the thousands, week after week.

“He ensured a level of quality, as he wanted anglers to have a good product, because he felt that they had worked hard for their money.

“Dick wanted to produce something he would enjoy using.

“He had many qualities, but he was crap at fishing. I used to think that he was too posh for fishing, and I’d tell him constantly that he should be fencing instead, or on a horse, playing polo.

“In a trade that is as competitive as ours, you will not find anyone with a bad word to say about Dick.

“He was a family man, a great man, and a man I was very lucky to have known and worked with.

“He was a man who made his mark, with brands such as John Wilson, Normark, Rapala, Cortland and Ryobi.

“He was a man who made his mark on me, too, and somehow put me on the straight and narrow with his unblemished business ethics.

“The trade has lost the last true gentleman, a wonderful man who will be sorely missed,” Steve concluded.

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