We just returned to U.S. soil after watching Aaron Martens for the past three hours. We only had a 20-mile run to where he was fishing after trailering two hours from Detroit, but the 4- to 6-foot chop on Lake Erie made that 20 miles a one hour, soggy trip from hell.
That said, if it is possible to be comfortable fishing in these conditions, Martens certainly was. He caught his fifth keeper only minutes after we arrived. He is drop-shotting two different baits on a couple of small reefs a couple miles off the Ohio shoreline. He is keeping his drifts very short, and uses his trolling motor to keep his pace slow.
At first, his bites were coming frequently, as he'd miss a strike, then hook a fish almost on every drift. The second fish we saw him land culled one from the livewell. He guessed that put him around 18 pounds. His next fish was short, and the one after that was a huge drum. Although the wind didn't pick up while we watched him, it didn't lay down, either.
Chris Noffsinger, our guide for the day, said Aaron has a 27-mile run on a very rough Erie just to get to the mouth of Miracle Mile, which will no doubt be even rougher. We estimate his run back to the Detroit weigh-in between 2 and 2 1/2 hours. The lingering question is simply this: how long will he stay in Erie to try and upgrade his catch? A couple extra pounds could seal the deal on his second AOY title, depending on how Evers does today. Waiting a couple minutes too long could end his tourney.