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In the minds of many anglers, the Red River that courses across northwestern Louisiana isn’t a finesse-angler’s venue. Instead, it’s touted as a waterway suited for anglers who flip jigs and soft-plastic baits, or wield spinnerbaits and a variety of crankbaits.

But during the recent Bassmaster Classic at Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana, Aaron Martens of Leeds, Alabama, spent most of his time afloat brandishing  a finesse outfit.

In fact, one of Martens’ fellow competitors, Fred Roumbanis of Bixby, Oklahoma, said it was both a stellar and amazing sight to watch Martens allure an array of largemouth bass on February 25 in a backwater area called McDade. Roumbanis also confessed that he was somewhat distraught and depressed by watching Martens’ wizardry with finesse tackle, and the reason for that was Roumbanis didn’t have any finesse tackle in his boat. Thus he couldn’t emulate Martens’ methods.

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BASS/Gary Tramontina

Day 2: 5, 15-11 (10, 29-09) Aaron Martens is still optimistic about his chances of capturing his first Classic title, and he thinks he knows the spot to possibly accomplish that feat.

“It’s one of the only places I know here that you can catch a 20-plus bag,” he said. “It could happen easily. They’re coming up and they’re wanting to spawn (and) it’s the cleanest water in the area. It’s a no-brainer. I’ve been thinking about it all afternoon.”

Martens spent a portion of Saturday thinking about something else – a 6-pound fish that came unbuttoned.

“The 6-pounder was a freak, I don’t know why I lost her,” he said. “I had her hooked and I got her to the top, so I don’t know why she came off. I had to use pliers on almost all of my fish today, but that big one got off, maybe because it had a bigger mouth, a harder mouth.

> 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.”

  Feb 21- Photo by BASS – Coming off two marathons for which he trained hard, Aaron Martens says he’s in the best shape he’s ever been: lean, disciplined and mentally stoked to take on a challenge.

“I’ve never felt better,” said Martens, 39.

All the better to tackle the Red River in this week’s Bassmaster Classic. The 2005 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year is looking to break into the Classic winner’s circle. He finished second to Kevin VanDam in last year’s Classic. It was Martens’ fourth runner-up Classic finish since 2002.

A runner and cyclist years ago, Martens began running again at the end of the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series season. For his most recent marathon — the Feb. 12 Mercedes Half Marathon in Birmingham, Ala., near his home in nearby Leeds — he stepped up his regimen by running about 45 miles a week for several weeks leading up to the race.

“I ran an hour to two hours a day, five to six days a week. I would have run more if I had had more time, but that’s as much as I could put into it,” Martens said. Classic prep had to come first, he added.

The half marathon course of 13.1 miles snaked through the city streets, then turned up into the city’s hills and back down. To compound the obstacle of the lung-busting terrain, the weather was nasty. Complete Story

Aaron Martens is one of the best “natural” fishermen there is. In other words, he’s got some of the best instincts on tour and thinks so much like a fish that at times he forgets he doesn’t have gills. Besides great instincts, Martens’ meticulous nature regarding terminal tackle makes it easy for him to capitalize on his intuition. He even takes fluorocarbon into restaurants with him so it doesn’t get hot in his truck, which damages the fragile line.

But, we’re here to talk hooks, so here are his five favorites. Click Here

Today’s big news on the bass fishing scene is the announcement of Major Fishing League. The Major League Fishing includes 24 of the best anglers in the world in an all new game with new rules and no limits. To be invited as one of the anglers means a lot to me and I am looking forward to it.  Major League Fishing is a made for television style event that due to the new format will showcase bass fishing and educate anglers around the world.  You can find all the details in the press release below and follow it on or on Major League Fishing’s Facebook page.

Outdoor Channel and 24 Top Pro Bass Anglers Form


Kevin VanDam, Skeet Reese, Mike Iaconelli and Gary Klein among select group to compete in a new game, with new rules and no limits

TULSA, Okla. August 4, 2011 Declaring the creation of a new game, with new rules and no limits, Outdoor Channel, America’s Leader in Outdoor TV, and 24 of the world’s premiere competitive bass fishing anglers have come together to form MAJOR LEAGUE FISHINGTM. This new sports organization will feature competitive bass fishing events designed to bring high-intensity challenges to the competitors and entertainment, as well as insight, to audiences.

Under the new format, anglers will compete with no limit on the number of “legal” fish they can weigh and will not be allowed to begin the events with stored, user-generated GPS waypoints. The anglers will have access to a real-time leader board in their boats, showing them where they rank in the standings at any given time. In another twist, anglers will not be allowed any on-site practice time before MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING events.

“Major League Fishing will offer sports fans a unique way to view bass fishing competitions with production features that go beyond just fishing to focus on the personalities, struggles, strategies, conflicts and emotions of the anglers,” said Outdoor Channel CEO and President Roger Werner. “Outdoor Channel is proud to be involved in this project from the ground floor and we see an outstanding future in this partnership. This latest venture reflects Outdoor Channel’s ongoing commitment to innovative, high-quality content that our core and loyal base of viewers has come to expect from us.”

MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING competitors include household names in the pro fishing industry, including seven Bassmaster Classic champions, eight Bassmaster Anglers of the Year and a three-time FLW champion, in addition to a host of other multiple-time winners of major tournaments. Former Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gary Klein and 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett were instrumental in putting together the innovative format.

“It is like nothing we’ve ever done or seen at this level, and I can assure you the anglers are excited about this,” Klein said.

“The format is exciting, and the television production will be top-notch,” Duckett said. “Our goal was to put together a group of the most influential anglers in the business, and we have done that. They understand we’re offering something that will enhance the way the public views our sport.”

Skeet Reese, a former Bassmaster Angler of the Year and Bassmaster Classic champion, called MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING “a new frontier.”

“What your grandfather did, your father did, and what I did last week in tournament fishing has been around for decades,” Reese said. “If you want to see a new, fun and exciting format that will take competitive fishing to a new level, then you’ve got to check out Major League Fishing.”

Jim Wilburn, founder and chairman of the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Winnercomm production company, has been named general manager of MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING. Don Rucks, a former B.A.S.S. general manager, will serve as the league commissioner.

“I’ve been involved for many years with sporting events of all kinds, and I can honestly say that I’ve never been more excited about a project than I am about Major League Fishing,” Wilburn said. “We have a great concept, and we have the enthusiastic participation of the best anglers in the world. I believe this is going to be extraordinary.”

A weeklong event – the MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING CHALLENGE CUP – will be held later this year. The event will be broken down into episodes and aired in the second quarter of 2012 on the Outdoor Channel.


Tommy Biffle Denny Brauer Mark Davis
Boyd Duckett Brent Ehrler Edwin Evers
Shaw Grigsby Greg Hackney Tim Horton
Michael Iaconelli Alton Jones Kelly Jordon
Gary Klein Jeff Kriet Aaron Martens
Mike McClelland Ish Monroe Takahiro Omori
Jason Quinn Skeet Reese Dean Rojas
Marty Stone Kevin VanDam Byron Velvick


MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING is a partnership of 24 of the world’s most talented, influential professional bass anglers and the Outdoor Channel. For more information about the new game, with new rules and no limits, please visit:

About Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc.

Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: OUTD) owns and operates Outdoor Channel, America’s leader in outdoor TV, and Winnercomm Inc., an Emmy Award winning production and interactive company. Outdoor Channel offers programming that captures the excitement of hunting, fishing, shooting, off-road motorsports, adventure and the Western lifestyle and can be viewed on multiple platforms including high definition, video-on-demand, as well as on a dynamic broadband website. Winnercomm Inc. is one of America’s leading and highest quality producers of live sporting events and sports series for cable and broadcast television. Winnercomm also owns and operates the patented Skycam and CableCam aerial camera systems which provide dramatic overhead camera angles for major sports events, including college and NFL football. For more information, please visit

BASSMASTER (Bassmaster) and BASSMASTER CLASSIC (Bassmaster Classic) are registered trademarks of B.A.S.S., L.L.C.


Outdoor Channel and America’s Leader in Outdoor TV are registered trademarks of OUTDOOR CHANNEL HOLDINGS, INC.