Instead, he gets to work. Like most of the 52 other Classic qualifiers, Martens scouted Grand Lake before the early December cutoff.
“It was really cold. The fishing was okay, and it will be better in February,” he said. “I didn’t fish a lot. I looked a lot, picked it apart with the (sonar) graph. It’s always amazing how much you can learn doing that. It’s a good-size lake. There’s a lot to look over.”
He liked what he saw.
“I found some areas I’ll be excited to go back to,” he said. “Some areas I knew were good just by looking at them. I didn’t need to fish them.”
When Martens was scouting Grand, the air temperature highs hovered in the 40s. If those temps prevail in February, “the fishing will be good,” he predicted.
The tournament will be won on largemouth, he said. Anyone who lives there, or who has a lot of experience on the big lake, will have an advantage, he said. If Martens had to bet on Classic competitors other than himself, he would pick, among others, Elite Series pro Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., which is not far from Grand Lake.
“Edwin Evers has been doing really well the past couple of years. That lake is made for him. He could be really hard to beat,” Martens said.
Martens knows about getting the better of Evers. The two went head-to-head in the last round of the bracket competition in the postseason All-Star competition. Martens beat Evers.
Although he doesn’t have a big race before the Classic, he’ll continue to run so he’s in prime physical shape come February.
“I’m in the best shape of my life now. Life is better when you’re like that,” Martens said.
Has his fishing improved?
“Oh, yeah. Everything’s better.”