Warren in running for huge cash prize

A skilful Norfolk angler, arguably the most proficient commercial lake match man in East Anglia, has booked his place in the national final of the Mega Maver Match.

Warren Martin will be bidding for the �50,000 pay-out against 23 other contenders on the Maver Larford Lakes on August 20.

The Dereham-based rod man, performing under the Anglers' World/Sensas brand name, scored a runaway win in the Barford qualifier. The Barford match record holder pulled a peg he didn't fancy on the fishery's main lake but defied the odds by winching out 35 cracking carp for an overall aggregate of 216lb 10oz.

'To be honest I had hoped for a peg on the Colton lakes, where the fish are heavier. But, after two hours, I suspected I was home and dry with 150lb already in the bag,' recalled the 33-year-old quantity surveyor.

'I opted to use my usual Waggler float rig but, after only producing three fish, I switched to the pole and fished pellet up in the water to take carp averaging about 6lb apiece for the remainder of the match.'

And his prospects of pocketing the massive cash prize? 'All I require is a top-quality swim from a good draw. If I manage that I will be in with a very fair chance of winning this mind-blowing prize,' he said.

At Barford there were smiles all round among the management that a local angler had won their qualifier.

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'We are proud to have staged this event on Maver's behalf and we are delighted for Warren and hope he does the business,' said fishery boss Sarah Thomson, who is staging a second eliminator on Sunday, June 19. She added: 'The top five from Saturday's qualifier will also compete in the British Pole Fishing Championships on the same venue on August 14. As well as Warren, our man Paul Ashford will also be there so Norfolk will be well represented.'

As one tournament began another finished – the Cross Drove series, whose two-day final for a �1,000 top prize was clinched by Simon Wheeler (Dynamite Baits). The 47-year-old Suffolk fishing tackle company representative blew the competition out of the water on day one with an 88lb 2oz winner. But, on day two, he dropped to eighth spot with 57lb 12oz, for an aggregate of 145lb 12oz.

'Quite honestly, I thought I had been pipped at the post by Richard Bond (of Bury), who was runner-up on the first day. But, like me, he struggled for fish on the Sunday and I hit the tape with about 13lb to spare,' said a happy winner.

Bond bagged 132lb 13oz to win �500 and third was Stu Bracey (Dynamite Baits), who won �400 for his catch of 129lb 14oz. Cross Drove boss Rob Morter declared it was his best ever final, and added: 'There were great catches and on the second day, 18 nets contained more than 50lb of fish. And it was this consistency that made the weekend rather special.'

Another heavyweight carp catch of 155lb 3oz was reeled in by Norfolk and Suffolk veteran winner Joe Hammond at Marsh Trail.

However, it seemed the fishery management was not impressed by method of catching, which involves extending a buoyant carbon pole seven or eight metres out on the surface of a lake while dangling a bait no more than six to 12 inches deep to tempt surface-feeding fish.

'We do not accept this as a legitimate angling method and it had therefore been banned forthwith,' declared fishery spokesman Richard Bird.

In response, the Veterans' match organiser Joe Beckham said: 'A lot of us old pensioners are too frail to hold a long pole without suffering considerable pain and discomfort, and that's why some of us opt for the floating pole technique. However, if it is banned we shall have to consider an effective alternative.'

At Swangey, Andrew Rix of Hempnall bagged a handsome half dozen quality carp, headed by a 33lb 4oz common, with another on 28lb and four others to the mid-twenties.

Malcolm Gunton, of Plumstead, netted a 31lb mirror, with other carp between the low and upper 20s going to Norwich rods Gary Claxton and Steve Cobbler, Wymondham's Luke Stubbins, Ben Knights and Joe Waller, Jamie Hitchens of Lowestoft and Levi King of Mildenhall.

Taverham Lake was busy for Ben Howarth of Costessey whose best were commons of 23lb and 25lb. Ian Stickley of Norwich bagged a 25lb mirror while Chris Latten weighed in a splendid 8lb 6oz tench.

Chris Hawkins, of Mattishall, heaved out 25 catfish from Waveney Valley Lakes. Heaviest came in at 39lb with four other thirties, 13 twenties and seven in the teens.

Top fish at Taswood was a 33lb 8oz common carp for Norwich regular Mike Plane, while others to record numerous fish in the twenties were Norwich anglers Guy Sherwood and Oliver Robinson, Wymondham's Jordan Bailey and Ben Jermaine, Paul Perry from Lowestoft, Greg Bowles (Gorleston), Chris Collins (Diss), Kevin Smith (Lingwood), Joe Phillips (Cromer) and Adam Bessey, Corton.