Finding tournament anglers on sprawling Lake Shelbyville shouldn't be easy, but Steve Bowman and I were able to locate our assigned All-Star, Aaron Martens, right off the bat. He's fishing a riprap bank near the railroad track that crosses the lake. He caught a non-keeper just before we arrived, and I saw him swing on another, which he missed. Whatever he's throwing, he's fishing it on spinning tackle, which means a light-line presentation of some sort.
Martens is one of the best on the Bassmaster Elite Series tour with spinning gear, but he hates to use it. Bowman said Martens told him at the La Crosse Elite earlier this year that he really wished he didn't have to use it. Like any top-ranked professional, though, he'll do what it takes to catch the winning fish.
I talked with Martens before take-off, and he's a little more upbeat than the rest of the 12-man field at Toyota Trucks All-Star Week. In his one day of practice on Shelbyville, he said he boated four keeper bass and shook off two or three more. If he can repeat that performance today, odds are good he'll finish the day in the lead. He just caught another short fish, which won't help him a bit.