Sportsmen are out in force on Lake Shelbyville today. We've seen several recreational anglers, including one who apparently was camped in a spot Aaron Martens wanted to fish. Martens turned the wheel and headed in another direction. At the boat ramp near where Martens stopped, Steve Bowman chatted with a couple of duck hunters returning from a morning's hunt. They said it was slow hunting. They shot two teal, but just as they were picking up the decoys, a flock flew within gun range, they lamented. Bowman is nuts about duck hunting, and it's all he can do to resist looking for a blind tomorrow morning instead of trailing bass pros and shooting their photos. Steve's also a talented lensman. Look for his on-the-water photos on Bassmaster.com this afternoon.
Martens has fished his way down the bank and away from the ramp, catching three non-keepers along the way. Two were shorter than the 14-inch minimum length, and the third was a gar. His crankbait popped out of the gar's mouth just as Martens reached for it. The lure flew up and dug into his shirt. Close call. In two Elite tournaments this year, competitors had to seek medical attention to have treble hooks removed from their bodies. Martens was luckier.
He told us he's been catching one keeper for every non-keeper in these Illinois fisheries. With three undersized bass this morning, he said he's due to catch two more that he can add to his livewell.