Toby’s the master of the pole
WEST AND FENS: Up and coming Toby Pepper delivered another masterclass in pole fishing over the weekend, netting a major sponsorship deal as he clinched the prestigious Browning Youth Masters title.
Collecting his silverware from four-time world champion Bob Nudd, the Shernborne-based 16-year-old said his latest win was 'the icing on the cake' after a season which has seen him retain the All England Junior Pole Fishing title and form part of the Suffolk County team which took the Junior National on the Grand Union Canal a few weeks back.
Pepper weighed in 64lbs 11oz of F1 carp and skimmers from Tunnel Barn, Warks, on Saturday, to finish 7lbs clear of second place in the Masters.
He learned from lost fish which cost him first place in a qualifying match on the same Midlands venue in September, attacking the water at 16m for the full five hours – a method he can regularly be seen practising closer to home at Springside Lake.
The hard work has landed him a new pole and other kit from Browning in a year's sponsorship deal which also includes a visit to the company's Zebco factory in Germany, along with ambassadorial duties on and off the water.
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His father Rob, better known as 'Pep' behind the counter at Hunstanton Tackle, shop boss Mick Cornell and mentors Rob Lincoln from Maver and Peter Goodman are predicting great things for the Smithdon sixth former.
'We first thought Toby was a little bit special when he was regularly winning the local club matches at senior level,' said Pepper Snr.
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'Toby deserved this latest success because of the hours of preparation he puts into any match. The match is five hours, but to prepare for this Toby will put in many hours making rigs, tying hooklenghts, elasticating pole sections and preparing the all important bait.
'Most of these rigs he makes will only be used once. He breaks them down after each match and makes them again. I would say for a match like the one he just won, he would have put in 20 hours' work to get ready and then travelling to the venue and back another six hours.
'As regards match nerves, at 16 he has nerves of steel and can control the pressure such occasions can bring.'
Pepper underlined the point by showing senior matchmen a clean pair of heels in the four-day Westwood Lakes Festival at Boston two weeks ago, while his younger brother Timmy came second.