Drinking the A-Mart Kool-Aid

I’m going to steal a line from Mark Zona here, simply because it’s so good and so telling. I hope that Z doesn’t get too upset that I’m airing it in public. While discussing A-Mart, he said that not only is Aaron one of his favorite fishing partners, but also that “He taught me more about being nice than any other person.” Note that he didn’t say “any other angler” – it’s “any other person.”

That’s a view that most of us don’t see but it’s true. At the end of the day, regardless of how he did on the water or what the weather may be, Aaron is signing autographs for kids. When that’s done, he’s spending time with his wife and children. Fans want to talk about fishing? He’ll talk to them like he’s known them for a lifetime. It’s a complicated thing to digest – how one person can be so incredibly single-minded to the point of genius and then also so innocently giving.

From that one article I wrote about Martens at the 2004 Classic, he received a little bit of press. I received a second career, one that I treasure. At times I resent him, because he’s like one of those “Do Not Copy” keys. I’d love to be able to do what he does on the water but I know that he provides a template that can’t be replicated.

You can copy Denny Brauer’s flipping mechanics or KVD’s spinnerbait retrieve or learn to skip a frog like Dean Rojas. Even if you’ll never be quite as good as any of them, you can pursue part of the essence of what makes them good on the water. You might not be able to pick spots like Brauer, or embrace KVD’s eye of the tiger, or eke out that last extra bounce like Dean’s Kermit, but you have a sense of what you’re aiming at and you can strive to get there.

With AMart, the mechanics are a lesser part of the whole deal. If you want to be like him, you’re shooting at a moving target in the dark. That’s what continues to fascinate me.