> Day 1: 5, 13-14 – Martens slugged out of the gate and struggled to find a groove early. He only connected on one of his first nine bites and was so amped up that he yanked a dink out of the water so hard that it slapped him in the forehead.

“I don’t really feel like those missed bites were execution mistakes,” he said. “They’re just biting funny.

“It started off as one of those days where nothing was going right,” he added. “My braid kept getting wrapped around my rod tip. I’d flip my bait to a mat and it wouldn’t punch through. I feel like I spent half of my morning without a bait in the water. The winds had a lot to do with it, but I just felt out of sync.”

He camped in Pool 5 and worked through two areas without a keeper before he finally picked up some momentum and boated five fish in less than 2 hours at his third stop. He kept a spinning rod in his hand most of the day and believes he’s picking off fish that other competitors are glossing over.

“When I got into that third spot most of the guys that had been there all day already had limits,” he noted. “If I had gone there first thing this morning, I definitely would’ve had a bigger bag.”

When asked if he could continue to coax bites out of the overly pressured backwater bass, he smiled and said: “That’s what I do best.”

He plans to head back to the productive area first thing in the morning with hopes of tanking a quick limit. He’ll play it off the cuff after that.

“If they keep biting (in his first area) I’ll stay. I’ve got two other areas that I think are holding better fish. The southwest wind we had yesterday muddied up both of those places, but I think they should get better tomorrow. The key is getting those first five and then I can start making some decisions.”