I’ll give it to Scott Martin: he’s a man of his word.
When I talked to him back in November 2019, Martin told me the two main goals he had left in an already-storied pro fishing career were to qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series and win the Bassmaster Classic. In a little more than a year’s time, he’s already halfway there.
Martin, who fished all eight Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens during a crazy 2020 season, finished fifth in the Eastern Opens points standings and earned a invitation in December to the 2021 Elite Series. He gladly accepted.
Now it’s on to his first Elite season, where he’ll work on the second part of his mission — qualifying for and winning the Classic. It’s something that’s important to him on levels that some anglers may never understand.
Scott Martin is the son of Roland Martin, who most folks know from his ultrapopular television show Fishing with Roland Martin.
In addition to TV stardom, Roland was a B.A.S.S. stalwart who finished his career with 19 victories and nine Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles. I say “finished” carefully, because at age 80 he’s still one of the best anglers on the planet and could always decide to enter another event.
About the only thing Roland never did with B.A.S.S. is win the Super Bowl of professional bass fishing. He qualified 25 times but never raised a Classic trophy despite being in position with four Top 5 finishes.
That leaves Scott feeling like he has some important, unfinished family business to tend to.
“My dad had all of that success. He helped start B.A.S.S. He was with Ray Scott traveling around the country, and he has so many of the records with the organizatiion,” Scott said. “But the one victory that eluded him was the Classic, and I know he feels a little incomplete because he missed that one.”
That’s why Martin turned all of his attention to the Opens in 2020 after what had already been a stellar career.
Martin started with FLW in 1999, winning the organization’s AOY title in the co-angler division.
In 2000, he fished FLW as a boater and won his second career event on the Pascagoula River. It set the stage for two decades of dominance that saw him claim an FLW Tour-record eight victories, along with 42 Top 10s and nearly $3 million in career earnings.
His crowning achievement came in 2011 when he won the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita.
If the Martins decided today that they’re done with fishing and never made another cast, they’d probably go down in history as the greatest father/son duo to ever cash a check on the pro fishing circuit.
But collectively, the younger Martin says things just won’t feel right until there’s Classic hardware in one of their trophy rooms.
“I cherished my time fishing FLW all those years, but I’ve always had a burning desire to fish the Bassmaster tour — and not only to fish, but to win at the highest levels of B.A.S.S., like my father did,” he said. “I want to win an Open event. I want to win an Elite Series event and to ultimately win the Bassmaster Classic.
“I’d like to raise that trophy while my dad is still alive to see it. That’s the goal that’s driving me now.”