STOCKTON, Calif. —The first significant non-fishing news out of Weber Point in Stockton, Calif., this morning is the injury report: 2007 Duel in the Delta winner Aaron Martens is, in his own words "fishing on one leg."
Martens, who barely made it off the dock and through the holding traffic for his morning flight, has an unidentified injury in his lower right leg, a condition that started at the Bassmaster Classic but was aggravated when the 37-year-old California native was, of all things, walking across the room at the angler meeting at the hotel last night.
"This is the worst injury I've ever had in my life," Martens said. "I can't believe how much it hurts. I can't even walk -- I have to hop on one leg.
"Right after we were getting our picture taken, I was just walking across the room and it felt like I pulled something. It took me 5 minutes to get up the stairs. I can't even lift my right leg at all."
Martens' injury, which he thinks originally occurred while he was leaning into the trolling motor, bucking heavy current in the frigid temperatures of last month's Classic at Lay Lake, affects his lower leg, from behind his knee around to his shin.
He's been able to stand on the trolling motor all week in practice, but, thinks he'll definitely be limited to the butt seat for most of the day.
"My other leg is starting to get tired because I've been compensating for it," Martens said. "I have about a 30-mile run to make – I should be okay getting there, because I'm able to push with the leg, but I can't bend my knee to pick up fish.
"I guess I'll just see if I can fall down on the deck and grab 'em. Even that is going to be painful, though."
Martens, who many have pegged as a favorite in this event, is worried that the limited mobility will hamper his fishing style as much as his ability to stand and walk.
"Part of what I do best is move quickly and efficiently, but I'm not going to be able to torque it at all," he said. "I guess I'm going to have to try to take it as a positive and maybe fish more methodical. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway."