Quiet man Kevin is king of the club scene in Norfolk
- Credit: Archant
A publicity shy village angler has outshone all of Norfolk's top tournament stars to lay claim to the county's clubman of the year accolade.
Kevin Clarke, from Runham, near Great Yarmouth, has chalked up an unprecendented spring-to-autumn run of more than 70 outright winners at open events and club outings.
However, in Suffolk, there is no such challenge for Will Freeman, of Framlingham, who was easily the top money earner from victories at the Irish Three-Day Festival in June and his exceptional performances on Broads rivers, where he brought into play all the angles required to cope with the capricious currents of ever-changing tides.
On the River Yare, the 41-year-old Preston Innovations tackle sales agent qualified for the national River Fest final, lifted the Preston Innovations National Feeder Championship, was pairs runner-up with Andy Moss and then capped his summer season by claiming the two-day King of the Broads title on the rivers Thurne and Yare in September.
Two Norfolk names emerged as legitimate front-runners. Angling Direct's 39-year-old hot rod Wayne Anderson was certainly in the mix after the successful defence of his two titles – King of the Winter Wensum and Nisa's King of the Yare aggregate weight series.
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But, beyond doubt, Anderson was upstaged by the Mulbarton Angling Club man Clarke.
'There's nothing special about the way I fish and definitely no secrets,' insisted the modest 51-year-old. 'I have been club fishing for many years and I once weighed in a record 204lb of bream at the end of an Old Catton club match on Ranworth Broad. I have more time now to enter open events at Hill Farm, Banham, Mill Farm, Great Ellingham, and compete in the Mulbarton club matches too.
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'Nowadays it's mainly carp fishing, I usually bait the hook with pellet paste and feed in dead maggots, which I purchase frozen three or four gallons at a time on the internet.'
Any other tactics that may have achieved such amazing results?
'Mostly I fish close in, often right under the bank where carp forage. Most importantly I remain patient. I sit still because I do not want to scare off any fish moving in and this strategy works much of the time in the summer months,' he said.
'Carp tend to shoal up and not move around in the winter and that's why I'm reluctant to turn out in bitter weather when the luck of the draw comes more into play.'
Jane Burrows, who runs Banham fishery, said she much admired Clarke, who had scored 27 firsts, three seconds and a third on her venue: 'Kevin is a 100pc decent bloke. He concentrates on his fishing totally, never complains, sets an example and is a great credit to the sport.'
Elsewhere on the local match scene, the Silver and Gold series at Barford ended successfully.
Tony Gibbons, with 15lb 1oz of silvers for 2pp, and Brian Bygrave, with 50lb 13oz of gold for 1pp, won for the Norwich and District Anglers, beating Matt Wiles and Warren Martin, of Matrix, who finished with 4pp.
On the River Wensum in Norwich, riverside roach and perch duly obliged.
Leader Colin Urry (Dukes) produced his sixth successive section winner to top the table with an unblemished 6pp, followed by Sunday's winner Pete Swan (Angling Direct), whose 19lb 10oz left him on 9pp.