He has attracted a wide variety of interested observers, but these latest on-the-water watchers of Aaron Martens take the prize for creativity — arriving on the scene in a pirate ship. The "captain" is even sporting a red bandana on his head.
Hopefully, Martens won't have to pay ransom to get to the weigh-in site.
Not taking any chances, Martens is on the move again.
The fans out here are getting a treat. Evers just hooked into a 2 1/2-pound fish, which promptly got hung up on a stick, which caused a panic in Evers and shouts from the crowd of 12 or so. Evers immediately fell to the deck, leaned over and grasped for the fish, which was a foot or so under the water, struggling epically to free itself. Evers, with teeth gritted, lunged again and again for the fish for nearly 10 seconds, which must’ve felt like an eternity. Finally, he got his hand in its mouth and pulled it to the surface, which caused the crowd to erupt in cheers.
He added a pound to his total, so he likely has passed Martens if BASSTrakk is accurate. What a nail-biter long on drama this is shaping up to be. However, as Evers idled by us, he said that he’s worried about his fuel — his gauge reads zero. I’m not sure what his options would be if he were to run out of fuel; he may need to be towed in. This is definitely one of the best tournaments I’ve covered.
Aaron Martens has moved again in Basin #1. He's fishing another riprap bank that has lots of wood cover on it. He said he had three short strikes in a row on a crankbait, and now he's flipping laydowns with a 3/8-ounce Rattleback jig. And he just swung and missed on the jig.
Obviously, there's enough fish around this spot to keep his attention, and he's still got a small keeper in his livewell that he'd like to upgrade.
As Aaron Martens noted this morning, there are no long boat runs to be made on Lake Decatur's 3,000-acre main pool, but that doesn't mean you can't run often.
Martens didn't linger after catching his last fish, and he has moved back to the southwest bank along Lost Bridge Road, where he was earlier today when Mark Zona was in the boat with him.
Evers is fast-trolling his way toward the lake. He would be idling, but he says fuel is an issue. He’s lobbing a small crankbait at the moment, most likely an XCalibur XCS square bill. Evers had a hand in the development of those little baits. I just told him that Martens caught a 3 1/2 for 10-14 and he went, “Huh.”
With the 3 1/2-pounder Aaron Martens just landed, he definitely has the lead. Like master B.A.S.S. blogger Steve Wright just wrote, Martens is “consistently accurate” in estimating bass weights. I’d be willing to bet, though, that Martens' lead is not as big as the 1-6 BASSTrakk is showing right now. Edwin Evers tends to estimate low, so Martens’ lead is probably less than that. And you’d better believe that both Martens and Evers know it.
The pressure is definitely on Evers now. The spot he worked so hard to get to is not producing fish of the same quality as Martens is getting on the main lake. Will he leave it soon to go to the giant (6-pound) bass Ott DeFoe lost yesterday? DeFoe told him where it was, after all. Will Martens pick up his flipping stick and look for a “kicker” or stick with what’s gotten him the lead?
Decisions, decisions — they’re what determine the outcomes of bass tournaments.
For the first time today, Aaron Martens is fishing a bank that has no observers standing on it. He's left the Nelson Park Marina area, gone south under Lost Bridge and pulled up to a tree-lined bank in Basin #1. The move immediately paid off with a keeper, but it was barely over 14 inches, so Martens didn't waste any time seeing if it could help him by an ounce or two. He tossed it back.
Although the background has changed, his pattern has not; he's casting to riprap-lined banks.
Martens said he's still got one small fish in his livewell, but the others are decent, in addition to the one lunker.
Aaron Martens just caught a game-changer, and the crowd went wild. Martens moved to the south end of Nelson Park Marina and immediately hooked a fish that kept his rod bent double as he carefully fought it around his boat.
When he got it close enough to lip, Martens could see that the fish was just barely skin-hooked on a single barb of his crankbait.
So when he got his hand in its mouth and raised it in the air, everybody here let out a joyous shout, none louder than the one that came from Martens himself.
How big? According to the consistently accurate Martens: "Three-eight, three-six."
A 3 1/2-pounder is definitely a game-changer on Lake Decatur now. As an added bonus, that gives him a five-fish limit.
The finals here at Toyota Trucks All-Star Week present an entirely different tournament than we’ve seen so far in Illinois. It’s not just because weights have been zeroed and we’re starting fresh today. It’s also because the two anglers left standing are actually catching fish today. That’s a stark contrast from earlier days when most of the field was struggling for one or two bass a day. Evers already has his limit, and Martens just put his fifth keeper in the boat. When you eliminate the guys who aren’t catching them and leave only the anglers who are getting bit, it’s a whole new ball game.