Aaron Martens began to pull himself out of his season slump Thursday by leading the Douglas Lake Challenge with 23 pounds, 14 ounces, an even 2 pounds ahead of Texan Matt Reed, his nearest challenger in the four-day Bassmaster Elite Series event.

“I’m out there catching nice fish for once,” said Martens, a five-time Bassmaster champion who this year sits in 79th place in points after three 2012 Elite events. “It’s been an awful four tournaments in a row for me (three Elite events plus an Open tournament). My wife said last night, ‘Just go out and have fun.’”

His fun began about 7 a.m. Thursday, when he had 19 pounds of largemouth bass in the boat less than a half hour after the day’s start. He began to cull to improve on 19 pounds. By the end of the day, the largest of his five biggest bass was a 5-pounder.