Norfolk’s Warren Martin crowned 2012 Fish ‘O’ Mania champion
Norfolk's Warren Martin has won himself a �31,000 jackpot after being crowned as the 2012 Fish 'O' Mania champion.
The angler from Lyng, near Dereham, lifted the �30,000 cash prize and another of �1000 for landing the heaviest fish after beating off a challenge from 15 other national top rods with a catch of 30.67kgs from the Cudmore Fishery at Whitmore, Newcastle-under-Lyme.
This was the result of one of the most fascinating piscatorial prize fights in the 19-year history of the tournament that left Norfolk's sole hope contemplating the bank side wreckage of shattered reputations strewn around him.
The 36-year-old quantity surveyor was one of 4000 original applicants for a ticket to riches and glory.
His first attempt to qualify failed at Barford but days later he won the eliminator at Messingham Sands in Lincolnshire to book his place in the big showdown for a life-changing prize. And just for the record this Norfolk county champion of 2011 is still in with a chance of completing a truly magnificent double, having three tickets still in his pocket to enter the Maver Match This Challenge for a �50,000 payday.
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On Saturday Sky Sports commentators described our Norfolk hero as cool, calm and collected while smiling his way through five gruelling hours distilled in to a heady cocktail of tactical awareness, self confidence and an acute sense of anticipation, always laced with a destructive shot of the uncertainty of match fishing.
'I put in several days practice with one of my angling friends Daniel Brydon and we discovered worm was the hot bait that attracted the four main species – carp, chub, bream and barbel,' he said. 'A plan was thus formed for match day.'
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Martin drew peg four on match morning when everyone in the area seemed to fancy numbers 1 or 16.
'At first I tried close in and was rewarded with a carp foul hooked in the tail and that took a bit of beating on a pole rig.
'I caught another in double figures that actually won me the heaviest fish prize, then the water went dead.
'Plan B then came into force and I fished 13m out to catch 17 kilos of bream, barbel and chub and that boosted my 13 kilos of carp to my winning total.'
That catch gave our Norfolk man a margin of about nine kilos over runner-up Simon Medd of Stockton- on-Tees.
And how will our champion spend the money?
'My girlfriend Jo and I will have a short holiday and the main prize will be put down as a deposit on a house.'