Aaron Martens on the Scrounger

Aaron Martens prefers the Scrounger.


Name: Aaron Martens
Hometown: Leeds, Ala.
Technique: Scrounger fishing — a soft-lipped swimbait that offers one of the most lifelike baitfish imitations available.
History: The Scrounger has been around since the early 1970s. John Waters, its inventor, created it to be an inshore saltwater swimbait. Aaron Martens discovered it as a young angler in the mid-1980s and adapted it to bass fishing. In 2006, Aaron Martens Lures LLC opened for business and began manufacturing a highly refined Scrounger in seven sizes ranging from 1/8- to 1 1/4-ounce and with a variety of bill sizes to make the lure more versatile and lifelike.
Highlights: Though he’s yet to win a Classic on the Scrounger, Martens has caught innumerable bass on the bait over the years that helped him to win or place high in tournaments. It’s helped him to fill out limits and catch key fish all across the country.
When to Use: The Scrounger will catch bass all year long and anywhere in the water column, but Martens says it’s especially effective in the hottest part of the summer — July through September. Martens believes very strongly in this bait and his techniques. He’s caught bass of all sizes, including some trophies, on the Scrounger and considers it his go-to bait when bites are hard to come by or when fish have become conditioned to other lures, like crankbaits.
Where to Use: During the heat of summer, bass will often school on main lake structure that offers some current. Ledges, points and humps that offer bass a place to hide on the down current side are great at this time of year since these structures will create an ambush point that bass can use to target baitfish — especially shad — as they move past the cover. A real key, as with all fishing, is finding the right places to fish. To that end, Martens relies heavily on his electronics and often spends as much time looking for the right areas as he does fishing. Most of his summertime bass comes from depths ranging from 10 to 30 feet and from schools that he spotted on his electronics.
Tackle: For his 3/16-ounce Scrounger, Martens uses his 6-foot, 10-inch signatures series spinning rod from Megabass (the F3-610 DGS Aaron Martens Limited, part of the Destroyer Orochi D.N.A. Graphite Series) with a quality spinning reel and 4- to 8-pound test Sunline fluorocarbon line. For the 1/4-ounce Scrounger, he goes to a 6-foot, 10-inch Megabass casting rod (the F4-610XDti Elseil) with a quality casting reel and 7- to 10-pound test Sunline fluorocarbon line. Finally, when casting the 1/2-ounce Scrounger, he opts for his 7-foot, 2-inch signature series casting rod from Megabass (the F7-72X THP Aaron Martens Model) with a quality casting reel and 10- to 14-pound test Sunline fluorocarbon line.
  Technically, the Scrounger is just the jighead and soft plastic lip. You’ll need to add a soft-bodied plastic bait to give the lure a baitfish look, but the Scrounger will provide lots of action. Martens’ favorite trailers are from the Zoom Fluke Series. He likes the Tiny Fluke for the smaller jigheads and the traditional Fluke for the larger jigheads. His favorite colors are pearl, smokin’ shad, albino, green albino and bait fish. 
Basics: Contrary to popular belief or even the look of the Scrounger, you’ll get more bass and catch more quality bass if you keep the bait in contact with the bottom. Martens drags the bait along the bottom 80 to 90 percent of the time he fishes it. He likes to make a long cast, allow the bait to settle to the bottom on a tight line and then slowly crank it along the bottom. Occasionally, he’ll twitch with his rod tip to impart a little additional action. The trick to getting bites, he says, is finding exactly the right speed and cadence of the retrieve. He likes to keep his rod tip pointed down for most retrieves and often sticks the rod tip under the water to help keep the bait down and contacted the bottom. Fished properly, Martens maintains you can cover water with the Scrounger much like you would with a crankbait.
One More Thing: To get better swimming action from your Scrounger, take a pair of scissors to the body of the Tiny Fluke or Fluke and round out the edges along the back of the bait. Martens says this will make the lure swim better and move more naturally. He believes it makes a huge difference.