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Not every angler gets a chance to learn first person from the pros. The opportunity to sit in a boat with some of the best anglers in the business and learn their favorite tips and techniques is rare. knows this, and when we went to the SPRO, Big Bite, Sunline, Gamakatsu and Pinnacle Writer’s Conference at Table Rock Lake, we tried to get some in-depth tips from the best in the business.

Here Aaron Martens talks about setting up his Drop Shot Rig. Learn from one of the best finesse anglers in the world in this Advanced Angler Video.

Click here to watch the video.

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