Master Series with Aaron Martens (Lesson 5: Fishing efficiency)

Aaron Martens
Aaron Martens

About the author

Aaron Martens as told to Ed Harp

Aaron Martens as told to Ed Harp

Aaron Martens is the 2005 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year and a 4-time runner-up in the Bassmaster Classic.

Making the best use of your time on the water is critical. No matter if you're fishing the Bassmaster Classic, a local club event or just fun fishing on Saturday with family or friends, you only have so much time to catch them.

None of us can afford to mess around looking for stuff when we should be fishing. No one ever caught a fish while they were digging through their tackle. The less of that you do the better.

I recently fished the Bassmaster Classic on Lay Lake. It wasn't my best performance. I finished in 11th place, a little over 20 pounds behind Kevin VanDam. Nevertheless, some of the things I did there to maximize my time may help you catch more bass.

To begin with, I put the rods and reels that I intended to use on the deck of my boat. Everything else was stowed away. If I needed a particular bait, rigged in a particular way, I rigged two outfits exactly the same and put them side-by-side on the deck of my boat. If something happened to the one I was using, I could simply set it down and pick up the other one. I had an identical replacement ready at hand.

That may not be practical for most anglers. You may not have two identical rods and two identical reels spooled with identical line. Still, there are things you can do to maximize your efficiency and stay within your budget at the same time.

You can put a combo that's close to what you're using on the deck, just for emergencies. If you can't do that, you can at least lay a replacement lure on the deck where you can grab it quickly if you lose the one you're using. Either way will save you time rooting around in your boat lockers should you lose your lure or your tackle malfunctions.

The other thing I did was organize my tackle by weather conditions. The outfit and lure I was using when the sun was out was lying on the inside part of my deck. The outfit I would use when there was a lot of cloud cover was next to it, towards the outside of my boat. And my really foul weather tackle was lying next to the gunnel.

If conditions changed, I knew exactly where the appropriate rod, reel and lure would be found. Some of you might think this is going to extremes. But think of it like this: If I can make one or two extra casts every half hour or so, that makes for a lot more fish catching opportunities during the day. That's important, regardless of what kind of fishing you're doing.

My tackle for other conditions was on the other side of the boat deck. For instance, say I was fishing shallow, but occasionally passed over a deep hole that I wanted to fish with a jig or crankbait. I'd put those outfits on the other side of the boat where they'd be out of the way but still quickly accessible when I needed them.

My rod lockers and tackle compartments were organized exactly the same way. The things I was most likely to use were on top. The things I was least likely to use were closer to the bottom. The things I knew I wasn't going to use were removed and stored in my truck or back in the hotel room.

After the Classic, I headed to California. Obviously, the things I'll need out here are very different than the things I needed in Alabama. So, I rearranged my boat from head to toe before I left for the West Coast. Everything's different, but still organized for maximum fishing efficiency.

Yes, I spent some time doing that. But it'll make me more efficient when I'm fishing the California Delta and Clear Lake. (I'll also rearrange everything between those two tournaments.)

Being efficient is a big part of being a better angler.