Click the above image to view the slideshow at Bassmaster.com.
DECATUR, IL. – Ten superstar bass anglers have been eliminated, but one more must go before the 2012 Toyota Trucks All-Star Week champion is crowned. Last year’s All-Star runner-up Edwin Evers and 2005 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Aaron Martens advanced to the fourth and final round of the Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star championship on Lake Decatur. They eliminated 2004 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle and defending All-Star champ Ott DeFoe, respectively.
On Sunday, Oklahoma’s Evers and Alabama’s Martens will meet on Lake Decatur for a second day of fishing to determine a new champion and award $60,000 to the winner.
With Evers and DeFoe in different brackets on Saturday, the stage was set for a finals rematch. Those dreams fell apart for DeFoe when he lost a bass weighing between 5 and 6 pounds. He was flipping a Berkley Tube (black with red flake) on a 5/0 VMC heavy duty extra wide gap hook behind a 5/16-ounce Reins Tungsten sinker around laydown trees when the big one -easily the biggest bass of the tournament -jumped and threw his bait near the boat.
DeFoe slapped the water surface with his rod tip, and dejectedly offered his ultimate oath -“Dang it!” He was never able to recover. Martens easily outpaced him with the day’s only five-bass limit -8 pounds, 13 ounces to 2-12, respectively.
If you’re not sure where to cast for bass on any given lake, head for the nearest bridge. Most bridges provide bass with deep water, shade, bridge pilings and riprap for cover, and baitfish. Current caused by the wind or a power-generating dam boosts its desirability. But don’t take my word for it. Just ask bass pro Aaron Martens, who’s finished second twice in the Bassmaster Classic by fishing bridges exclusively.
Top of the Morning
At daybreak, largemouth bass often feed on shad near the surface around bridge pilings. Martens picks off these fish with a Megabass Giant Dog-X walking stickbait. He works the Dog-X alongside the bridge pilings and over the eddy water on the downstream side of the pilings. “I catch a lot of bass by fishing the eddy 50 to 100 feet downcurrent from the pilings,” Martens says. “Most fishermen overlook these bass.”
Let’s Get Cranking
Largemouths feed deeper when the sun starts to get up. Martens uses his fishfinder to see how deep the bass are suspended next to the pilings. Once he has the depth, he selects a diving crankbait that runs at or just above that depth. “Cast past the bridge pilings and retrieve the crankbait with the current,” Martens says. “Try to bump the pilings with the crankbait and hit them from different angles. Don’t sit in one spot all the time.”
Give Them the Shake
When the lunkers are refusing crankbaits, or are too deep to reach with them, Martens starts targeting the fish with a shaky-head jig dressed with a Zoom Fluke. Depending on the depth and current, Martens uses a jig that weighs from 1⁄8 to 3⁄4 ounce. “Cast upcurrent past the bridge pilings, count the jig down to the right depth, and reel it back slow and steady,” Martens says. “Try to hit the pilings with the jig.”
Again Aaron really wants everyone to know he appreciates your votes and support.
The winners are…
10 Megabass Baits – Steven Letson
AMart Used Prestine Condition Megabass Rod – John Valerio
Tournament Jersey – Tim Patterson
Fishing day with Aaron – Rob Melendez
We will contact the winners shortly for your address or email Tom@TrueImagePromotions.com with your address if you are reading this.
Thanks to all of Aaron’s great sponsors Phoenix Boats Mercury Marine Megabass USA Official Page Sunline Roboworm Gamakatsu Davis Bait Company Simms Fishing Products Kaenon Polarized Sunglasses
We featured a video with Aaron Martens earlier this year where he laid out how he stored a lot of his fishing tackle. Since then, we’ve had a lot of questions about how to store crankbaits, worms, and the various assundries and angler needs on hand that don’t all fit in the same size boxes.
That’s sort of the beauty of Martens’ system, in which he has now converted me to as well. He actually prefers small boxes as to large boxes for a lot of his tackle.
“I don’t need to carry 100 Megabass crankbaits in my boat,” Martens said. “I can carry a handful of my favorite proven colors for various water conditions in practice. Then as I dial in on a specific pattern or color, I can go to my truck and reload the box with just the color I want. Most of the time I won’t lose a crankbait or sometimes as many as two in competition any way.”
When I asked Martens why boxes and not bags for plastics, I got a similar story about just being more efficient with his time on the water.
“Six years ago I would have these huge bags and inside those bags would be hundreds of smaller bags of plastics in tons of different colors and shapes. What I finally realized was I’d get down in the boat digging through bags and bags for 5 or 10 minutes at a time and get totally off track from what I was doing. Now I store my plastics by type and shape and then I just grab that one box, open it, get what I want and I’m back fishing in secondsd instead of minutes. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but you do that 10-20 times a day and now you’re talking about hours lost of fishing time.”