Fish ‘O’ Mania champion Warren Martin chasing hat-trick
'We are mighty proud of him' – that was the spontaneous response from Gerald and Heather Martin after watching their son Warren lift out a winning catch of 36.67kgs (67lbs) and be crowned Fish 'O' Mania champion 2012 at the Cudmore fishery, New Castle Under Lyme last Saturday.
Dozens of Norfolk anglers agreed as messages of congratulation arrived at the Martin family home at Lyng near Dereham.
Warren, generously quoted at 16-1 by Betfred, pulled off this most famous victory to snatch a �31,000 bounty from under the noses of some of the more strongly-fancied rod men among the 16 lined up around the doughnut-shaped Staffordshire venue.
Much of the money has already been earmarked as a deposit on a new home for the champion and his girlfriend Jo, who watched her man devastate the opposition.
And while that success is being celebrated there may be more in the pipeline, for this Friday the 36-year-old quantity surveyor will be performing on the River Don in Yorkshire bidding for a place in the quarter-finals of the Drennarn Knockout Cup that carries a fat four-figure cash prize for the winner.
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After that the Mega Maver Match qualifiers are also beckoning participation for a guaranteed �54,000 for the winner.
Is it too much to ask Warren to attempt such a fabulously rich hat-trick?
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Perhaps we should await the result from his trip to the river Don before stretching the elastic of such wild optimistic speculation to breaking point.
Not that our local hero, who rewrote local match records with 363lbs of carp at Barford three years back and romped away with the Norfolk County Championship last year and heads the field this term, has anything to prove.
Dad Gerald said: 'Sitting behind Warren on Saturday was a most traumatic experience for me and for my wife and for Warren's girlfriend.
'As fish were being weighed in at regular intervals we could feel the tension.
'However, our boy remained calm, even when they shoved a TV camera right over the spot where he caught his best carp.
'But he did not panic – he calmly fished on to record a stupendous result.'
He continued: 'I introduced Warren to fishing when he was about six years old and when a teenager he competed at club level. I never ever expected this. We really are mighty proud of him.'
Those warm words were echoed by joint sponsors Barford Tackle, where Pam Thomson said: 'Warren Martin is a great ambassador for Norfolk angling and his great victory sets a tremendous example to the sport's grass roots.
'We are absolutely delighted to share sponsorship with Matrix and wish him the best of luck on Friday.'
Meanwhile, domestic leagues at the weekend produced catches on the tidal river Yare that were below par due to the sudden chill of crystal clear water coming off the flood plains.
Top rod in the Saturday League was Nick Larkin (Nisa Feeders) with a mixed net of skimmer bream and roach taken on a maggot feeder rig totalling 24lbs 8oz from peg 138. Ian Cochrane (Yarmouth) was runner-with 18lbs 7oz from peg 22.
The Suffolk Sunday League on the Yare was won by Martin Caldecoat (Rejects) with 16lbs 11oz of roach then Tony Anderson (DAIWA Angling Direct Gold) with 15lbs 12oz that helped his team into top spot with 17 penalty points followed by AD Black on 18. Black are setting the pace with 11 league points with Red and Deben Select on 13.
Stephen Rouse (Martham) won at Hill Farm, Banham with 111lbs 1oz and a spate of hefty catches at club level were headed by Costessy Crown winner Tim Wright with 144lbs 2oz at Barford.
On the Taverham Mill Lake and River Complex an unusual competition for as many different species as possible ended with Norwich rods Ian Stockley and David Middleton sharing the honours with six species, including carp in the teens, bream to over 8lbs, tench to 7lbs, chub at 5lbs as well as perch and roach.
On the big fish scene Waveney Valley was the venue for huge catfish.
Leighton Ward of Roydon heaved out five monsters, headed by a specimen of 51lbs 2oz, while Reydon's Michael Brabben bagged another of 50lbs 2oz.
At Taswood, various varieties of carp were recorded with Geoff Greenaway of Hempnall netting five of them in the 20s with others in that range for Norwich rods Carl Wright, Shaun Youngman, Colin Howes, Carl Mendham, Daniel Grates and for Kevin Smith of Lingwood and Ben Germaine of Wymondham.