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down. As the business grew it became harder to take time off. Your customers become your bosses and it’s always been my number one priority to get the stuff to them on time. Once the gear been made and the orders met I could go fi shing with a clear conscience.” Working from a 20 foot 6 inch long house could be described as challenging.

“The stainless for our bank sticks came in 20ft lengths, so when delivered we had to lay it the full span of the house and I would use a hack saw to cut it into manageable sizes.” The shed was home to the ‘bait factory’.

It was anger that got Martin into making bait. He had been fi shing Savay and catching a lot of fi sh on seed baits. “We went to a slide show up in the Midlands and saw a sign saying Seed Baits coming soon. It was described as the latest thing, but I had already been using seed for ages. I was incensed and decided to start making bait. Problem was I had to do it from the 8ft shed! “I needed to buy ingredients, I needed semolina. The biggest supplier was Whitworths, so somewhat naively I made contact. “I ordered two tonne, not having a clue what that would look like! “A couple of days later I was looking out the window at mum’s house. It was a clear, bright day. All of a sudden it was like a total eclipse of the sun as this massive lorry slowly approached our house, at the bottom of a dead end road. It was so big, it was like being in the middle of the night as the lorry stopped in front of the building.”

The delivery driver enquired where the forklift was!!

“I realised then that I was in a bit of trouble.”

The sacks of semolina had to be unloaded physically by hand and a couple of hours later they stretched from the garden shed, through the garden and along the whole 26 feet of the house. “I was exhausted and every muscle in my body was shaking,” recalls Martin. “But we had semolina and Savay Seed Mixes was launched.” Offi cially the business was started in 1987, with the fi rst stockists being Arnolds Tackle and Simpsons of Turnford. The journey from then has had its ups and downs, but it continued to grow as new products were introduced. Apart from the Monkey Climbers, Martin highlights the launches of squid and octopus liquid, the Bow Loc Net, Sod Pod and the carbon range as important to the company’s progression. “The Squid & Octopus fl avour is one of the fi rst that comes to mind when people think of Solar bait. We’ve been producing it for the past 20 years and it’s still one of the benchmarks to which other additives and baits are measured, including our own. It’s one of the key ingredients in the Club Mix bait, which is one of the most successful baits ever formulated, particularly in terms of longevity. The fi rst commercial premises were

acquired in 1990 and like Pinocchio’s nose the business just grew and grew. “It got to the stage that I had all the money that I wanted and I was able to go away 17 times in the year. “I started out just making a few bits for my mates. Now there are a lot more mates!

It became so big, that it wasn’t enjoyable. As it got more serious, the fun disappeared, and I still like to have

fun,” Martin insists. Of course you can’t really have an interview with Martin without discussing the tragic day on Savay when Clive Rigby and Keith Sellick lost their lives to the iconic water. “It was just a usual day, fl at calm with red-hot sunshine. Typical work party stuff. We had used the boat a thousand times. Keith was driving and I was in it with Clive and Don Hipkin. We were about half way across and water started lapping over the front in the wake of the forward motion. With seconds the boat was under. There was no chance. Initially there was little panic, but then Clive said he couldn’t swim. I tried to help him but couldn’t and he just went under. Keith was very close to the bank and then he disappeared. “I am a fairly simple guy, and generally very good in a crisis and I stayed calm and doggie-paddled to the edge.” Around the same time Ayrton Senna, someone that was a true hero to Martin died at the San Marino Grand Prix after a tragic accident. “To be honest that probably

affected me more than Keith and Clive,” he accepts.

“I was a big follower of Formula One and travelled extensively to watch races and I was lucky enough to get up close and had passes for the paddocks. “I never really had any angling

heroes, but if I had to name anyone it would be Roger Smith and Kerry Barringer. I sat with them for such a long time at Savay and learned so much.”

The deaths within such a short space of time confi rmed Martin’s belief that life was to be lived to the full and that he would continue in his quest to enjoy as many experiences as possible.

52 | Tackle & Guns | February 2018

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