When Martin was as young as 2 years old, his grandfather, Dick Martin, was taking him out to fish, and he actually caught a few. It's a family tradition that his father is proud of.

"They had a very close relationship," Richard Martin Jr. said of his son and father. "They fished together a lot and it means a lot to Richie to be able to do the same things that his grandfather had done."

Richie grew up with a fishing rod in his hand and began the youth tournaments when he turned 11. Recently, he began competing in adult B.A.S.S. tournaments, and he's already beating his elders.

"I actually beat my dad this past tournament," Martin said. "I beat the Duarte family for once  and my dad for once. Lucky day."

Martin and Duarte bonded from the start and formed the first club fishing team in the region last year, after submitting registration forms provided by the Maryland B.A.S.S. Federation to Sparrows Point. From there, the team prepared for last October's state championship, where Duarte and Martin each caught one fish.

Despite the loss, Duarte and Martin are keeping their sights on October's state championship, where they could compete against more schools. Even if they don't win, both say they'll keep fishing.

"One thing you need for bass fishing is patience," Duarte said. "You can never give up."

Kline said this year's tournament will be "top-notch" compared with last year's, including visits from pros and many fully rigged boats. As for Duarte's and Martin's chances, Kline said it's just a matter of time.

"They are the type that I guarantee you that they will be fishing wherever they can," Kline said. "I'm about 99 percent sure they'll be going [to the world championships]."

mahamilton@baltsun.com

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