Inside Elite Boats

Inside Opens Boats: Scott Martin

We surprised Scott Martin with a request to photograph his boat for this gallery. Martin had just wrapped up the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River, when myself and Andy Crawford found him at the boat ramp.  <p> <em>All captions: Craig Lamb</em>
Photo: Craig Lamb - We surprised Scott Martin with a request to photograph his boat for this gallery. Martin had just wrapped up the Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open on the Arkansas River, when myself and Andy Crawford found him at the boat ramp. All captions: Craig Lamb
“With my boat tour you are going to see what it looks like right after a tournament. In practice I keep all my compartments full, with just about every tacklebox and rod I own. Then, I take out everything that I don’t need for that given tournament.” Reducing weight for improved boat performance and better tackle organization are the benefits.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “With my boat tour you are going to see what it looks like right after a tournament. In practice I keep all my compartments full, with just about every tacklebox and rod I own. Then, I take out everything that I don’t need for that given tournament.” Reducing weight for improved boat performance and better tackle organization are the benefits.
Martin runs a Ranger 521L. Hull length is 21 feet, 8 inches with a 98-inch beam. The boat is rated for up to 300 horses, and there is abundant storage throughout. “What I love about the 521L is its stability as a fishing platform. The front deck has superior fishability. It floats in extremely shallow water and handles rough water really well, better than any other boat in its class.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Martin runs a Ranger 521L. Hull length is 21 feet, 8 inches with a 98-inch beam. The boat is rated for up to 300 horses, and there is abundant storage throughout. “What I love about the 521L is its stability as a fishing platform. The front deck has superior fishability. It floats in extremely shallow water and handles rough water really well, better than any other boat in its class.”
The Garmin Force Trolling Motor and its high efficiency brushless motor is a favorite feature. “Quieter steering and 30% more power than the competition gives me more speed when fishing between isolated habitat. It throttles back smoothly when I need to fish slow.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - The Garmin Force Trolling Motor and its high efficiency brushless motor is a favorite feature. “Quieter steering and 30% more power than the competition gives me more speed when fishing between isolated habitat. It throttles back smoothly when I need to fish slow.”
The Force features CHIRP traditional and Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and SideVü scanning sonars. It wirelessly integrates with Garmin chartplotters and has a built-in heading sensor with GPS and more.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The Force features CHIRP traditional and Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and SideVü scanning sonars. It wirelessly integrates with Garmin chartplotters and has a built-in heading sensor with GPS and more.
“I mount the Garmin Panoptix LiveScope transducer high enough on the trolling motor shaft to keep it from getting damaged when fishing around stumps in shallow water. I just slightly push the trolling motor down when I need to use it.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I mount the Garmin Panoptix LiveScope transducer high enough on the trolling motor shaft to keep it from getting damaged when fishing around stumps in shallow water. I just slightly push the trolling motor down when I need to use it.”
The Force wireless foot pedal provides instant control and responsiveness, yet feels and steers just like a cable-powered pedal. “It’s really more responsive and smoother to operate.” Cleaner mounting and rigging are added benefits.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The Force wireless foot pedal provides instant control and responsiveness, yet feels and steers just like a cable-powered pedal. “It’s really more responsive and smoother to operate.” Cleaner mounting and rigging are added benefits.
At the bow are the Garmin GPSMAP 8610 and Garmin GPSMAP 8612. “I use Panoptix on the 10-inch unit, and the sonar and mapping on the 12-inch unit.” The units are preloaded with both BlueChart g3 U.S. coastal and LakeVü HD maps featuring Navionics data and Auto Guidance technology.
Photo: Craig Lamb - At the bow are the Garmin GPSMAP 8610 and Garmin GPSMAP 8612. “I use Panoptix on the 10-inch unit, and the sonar and mapping on the 12-inch unit.” The units are preloaded with both BlueChart g3 U.S. coastal and LakeVü HD maps featuring Navionics data and Auto Guidance technology.
The Garmin units are secured by BoatLogix Dual Mount Panel Mounts. “The units take a beating in rough water, and these mounts prevent damaging them. I’ve been running these for about three years now, and they are indestructible.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - The Garmin units are secured by BoatLogix Dual Mount Panel Mounts. “The units take a beating in rough water, and these mounts prevent damaging them. I’ve been running these for about three years now, and they are indestructible.”
The full view of the Ranger 521L forward front deck reveals the clean rigging that creates more fishability and room to make precise presentations from any angle. The BoatLogix mounts allow the Garmin units to be adjusted for optimum viewing, while not mounted so high as to obstruct the view ahead from the driver’s console.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The full view of the Ranger 521L forward front deck reveals the clean rigging that creates more fishability and room to make precise presentations from any angle. The BoatLogix mounts allow the Garmin units to be adjusted for optimum viewing, while not mounted so high as to obstruct the view ahead from the driver’s console.
Behold the juice, the hidden treasures and the tools of the trade. There is no wasted space in the Ranger 521L, and this photo proves the point. A massive center rod storage braced by equally as huge port and starboard rod compartments, and what Martin calls his “Day Box” covered by the Bass Pro Shops logo.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Behold the juice, the hidden treasures and the tools of the trade. There is no wasted space in the Ranger 521L, and this photo proves the point. A massive center rod storage braced by equally as huge port and starboard rod compartments, and what Martin calls his “Day Box” covered by the Bass Pro Shops logo.
“What you are seeing inside this box is what I used specifically on the Arkansas River. This box was completely full during practice. Later in the tour I will show you where I keep my options, baits of the same type but in different colors if I need them. Again, the idea is to lighten the load when making long runs, which I did this week, including locking through to the Kerr Pool.” Martin can lighten the load enough to gain a couple miles per hour or more, that he can convert into valuable fishing time.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “What you are seeing inside this box is what I used specifically on the Arkansas River. This box was completely full during practice. Later in the tour I will show you where I keep my options, baits of the same type but in different colors if I need them. Again, the idea is to lighten the load when making long runs, which I did this week, including locking through to the Kerr Pool.” Martin can lighten the load enough to gain a couple miles per hour or more, that he can convert into valuable fishing time.
“On the port side compartment is what I call my game time box. It is my go-to box for everything I need during a tournament day.” That included extra spools of 12-pound P-Line Fluorocarbon, for quick respooling jobs inside the boat.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “On the port side compartment is what I call my game time box. It is my go-to box for everything I need during a tournament day.” That included extra spools of 12-pound P-Line Fluorocarbon, for quick respooling jobs inside the boat.
“I try to stay on the versatile side of competitive fishing, leaving my options open when I find the need to change.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I try to stay on the versatile side of competitive fishing, leaving my options open when I find the need to change.”
Hooks for Googan Baits soft plastics got lots of use on the Arkansas River, where Martin went power fishing in heavy vegetation.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Hooks for Googan Baits soft plastics got lots of use on the Arkansas River, where Martin went power fishing in heavy vegetation.
Here is the tactical side of the game time box. “This is what I used on the Arkansas River.” There is extra P-Line and a supply of Googan Baits Bandito Bugs. Martin likes the practical functionality of this setup. “I know right where everything is when I need to quickly re-rig and quickly get back in the game. I can just grab it and go.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Here is the tactical side of the game time box. “This is what I used on the Arkansas River.” There is extra P-Line and a supply of Googan Baits Bandito Bugs. Martin likes the practical functionality of this setup. “I know right where everything is when I need to quickly re-rig and quickly get back in the game. I can just grab it and go.”
“On the Arkansas River I kept five of these Lure Lock boxes with one each for my hooks, action and non-action baits, crankbaits, chatterbaits and soft plastics. It was all I needed, so there was no need to keep any other game time baits in this compartment.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “On the Arkansas River I kept five of these Lure Lock boxes with one each for my hooks, action and non-action baits, crankbaits, chatterbaits and soft plastics. It was all I needed, so there was no need to keep any other game time baits in this compartment.”
“This is the best 150 bucks I’ve spent on Amazon.” The NOCO BOOST GB40 is a compact lithium jump starter providing up to 20 jump starts in a single charge. “The reason why I carry this is to jump someone else. I can give this to a guy who needs a jump start on the water, go about my business, and get it back from him at the weigh-in. My boat has a battery switch so I can jump myself. I got this for other guys in need.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “This is the best 150 bucks I’ve spent on Amazon.” The NOCO BOOST GB40 is a compact lithium jump starter providing up to 20 jump starts in a single charge. “The reason why I carry this is to jump someone else. I can give this to a guy who needs a jump start on the water, go about my business, and get it back from him at the weigh-in. My boat has a battery switch so I can jump myself. I got this for other guys in need.”
Martin stored about 20 setups for the Arkansas River, most of them baitcasters. “Again, for me it’s about being versatile and having access to the tools that I need to exercise my options, if needed.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Martin stored about 20 setups for the Arkansas River, most of them baitcasters. “Again, for me it’s about being versatile and having access to the tools that I need to exercise my options, if needed.”
Martin stored everything from 7-foot medium heavy spinnerbaits, all the way up to 7-foot, 6-inch heavyweight mat fishing rigs. All were from Favorite Fishing, for which he designed a new lineup called the Pro Series.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Martin stored everything from 7-foot medium heavy spinnerbaits, all the way up to 7-foot, 6-inch heavyweight mat fishing rigs. All were from Favorite Fishing, for which he designed a new lineup called the Pro Series.
Here’s a trick. Martin inserts equal rigs in the same tube hole. “If I have three worm fishing setups, I’ll keep them in the same hole. Same thing for other categories like flipping, spinnerbaits. That way, I can pull them all out at the same time without having to sort through the entire pile.” Categorization also provides better organization, with less time spent looking and more time fishing.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Here’s a trick. Martin inserts equal rigs in the same tube hole. “If I have three worm fishing setups, I’ll keep them in the same hole. Same thing for other categories like flipping, spinnerbaits. That way, I can pull them all out at the same time without having to sort through the entire pile.” Categorization also provides better organization, with less time spent looking and more time fishing.
For summer, Martin favors the AFTCO Proteus Lightweight Waterproof Jacket. The Proteus outerwear system is constructed with a three-layer 100% nylon fabric with 20,000 mm waterproofing and 15,000 mm breathability. YKK Aquaguard coil zippers, fully taped seams and cohesive cord lock system.
Photo: Craig Lamb - For summer, Martin favors the AFTCO Proteus Lightweight Waterproof Jacket. The Proteus outerwear system is constructed with a three-layer 100% nylon fabric with 20,000 mm waterproofing and 15,000 mm breathability. YKK Aquaguard coil zippers, fully taped seams and cohesive cord lock system.
“I really like the matching bibs. The strap system is super comfortable and designed for all day wear. The straps won’t fall off your shoulder, and the support is evenly distributed for all-day comfort.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I really like the matching bibs. The strap system is super comfortable and designed for all day wear. The straps won’t fall off your shoulder, and the support is evenly distributed for all-day comfort.”
This what Martin calls his “Day Box.” It differs from the game day section in the center storage by the quantity of baits. In this box is a wider variety of lures that keep him competitive over a tournament week. From here, baits are transferred to the game day section for what he needs on a given day.
Photo: Craig Lamb - This what Martin calls his “Day Box.” It differs from the game day section in the center storage by the quantity of baits. In this box is a wider variety of lures that keep him competitive over a tournament week. From here, baits are transferred to the game day section for what he needs on a given day.
“I discovered the benefits of downsizing from full-size to medium-size boxes.” Before, all lures from a given category, such as crankbaits, got stored in large boxes inside the boat. “Problem was, the hard baits would get beat up, and most I wasn’t using anyway.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I discovered the benefits of downsizing from full-size to medium-size boxes.” Before, all lures from a given category, such as crankbaits, got stored in large boxes inside the boat. “Problem was, the hard baits would get beat up, and most I wasn’t using anyway.”
Problem solved by creating more space for more smaller boxes containing lures only needed for the week. “I now have more variations of things with more smaller boxes for crankbaits, jerkbaits, whatever.” The loaded up full size boxes are stored in the truck.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Problem solved by creating more space for more smaller boxes containing lures only needed for the week. “I now have more variations of things with more smaller boxes for crankbaits, jerkbaits, whatever.” The loaded up full size boxes are stored in the truck.
Smaller is more with these boxes taking up less space inside the compartment, which also creates more available storage.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Smaller is more with these boxes taking up less space inside the compartment, which also creates more available storage.
Martin is seated behind master control of his Ranger 521L. He spends more time than ever here, studying his electronics, which means keeping comfortable for daylong scouting sessions.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Martin is seated behind master control of his Ranger 521L. He spends more time than ever here, studying his electronics, which means keeping comfortable for daylong scouting sessions.
Beneath the Engel Coolers logo is the integrated cooler. Ahead of it is an Engel 19 quart, leakproof and airtight combination dry box and cooler.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Beneath the Engel Coolers logo is the integrated cooler. Ahead of it is an Engel 19 quart, leakproof and airtight combination dry box and cooler.
Extra waters and ice are stored inside the integrated cooler. “In the Engel I keep drinks and ice, so stopping and getting up for a water on a long run is unnecessary. The cooler is beside me, and it’s faster, safer and more efficient way of getting a drink.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Extra waters and ice are stored inside the integrated cooler. “In the Engel I keep drinks and ice, so stopping and getting up for a water on a long run is unnecessary. The cooler is beside me, and it’s faster, safer and more efficient way of getting a drink.”
Two Garmin GPSMAP 8612 units, both networked with Garmin SideVü and Garmin DownVü, are on the console.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Two Garmin GPSMAP 8612 units, both networked with Garmin SideVü and Garmin DownVü, are on the console.
The units are firmly bolted to the console with a BoatLogix Dual Console Mount. “This mount prevents the units from vibrating, which makes it more difficult to see details on the screen.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - The units are firmly bolted to the console with a BoatLogix Dual Console Mount. “This mount prevents the units from vibrating, which makes it more difficult to see details on the screen.”
Martin has dual auto blinker-style trim switches on each side of the steering wheel. The hydraulic jackplate is raised and lowered on the left, while at right is the outboard trim adjustment. Providing more precision control and better performance are the benefits. “In shallow water, I raise the jackplate all the way up, lower the trim all the way in, and punch the throttle.” As the boat gets on plane, he lowers the jackplate and trims up the outboard.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Martin has dual auto blinker-style trim switches on each side of the steering wheel. The hydraulic jackplate is raised and lowered on the left, while at right is the outboard trim adjustment. Providing more precision control and better performance are the benefits. “In shallow water, I raise the jackplate all the way up, lower the trim all the way in, and punch the throttle.” As the boat gets on plane, he lowers the jackplate and trims up the outboard.
“People have asked me all week why I carry tennis balls in my center seat storage compartment.” Well, let’s have the answer why.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “People have asked me all week why I carry tennis balls in my center seat storage compartment.” Well, let’s have the answer why.
Protection for the Ranger custom boat cover is the reason why. Martin removes his Garmin units while traveling, leaving the ends of the mounts exposed. “I put the tennis balls over the brackets to protect the cover.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Protection for the Ranger custom boat cover is the reason why. Martin removes his Garmin units while traveling, leaving the ends of the mounts exposed. “I put the tennis balls over the brackets to protect the cover.”
Martin attaches his cull tags to the latch handle assembly on the inside livewell lid. “I always know where to find them, and I can just pop one off, put it on the fish, and I’m good to go.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Martin attaches his cull tags to the latch handle assembly on the inside livewell lid. “I always know where to find them, and I can just pop one off, put it on the fish, and I’m good to go.”
“I talk about staying versatile with lure options throughout this boat tour, but I still need options.” Those are kept in the storage behind the driver’s seat. “After the final practice day, I go through my boat and truck, searching for anything I tried out during practice but that didn’t work.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - “I talk about staying versatile with lure options throughout this boat tour, but I still need options.” Those are kept in the storage behind the driver’s seat. “After the final practice day, I go through my boat and truck, searching for anything I tried out during practice but that didn’t work.”
All those forlorn lures get dumped in here. “I call this my ‘Oh Crap Box,’ as in when nothing else is catching fish, then I come here looking for solutions.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - All those forlorn lures get dumped in here. “I call this my ‘Oh Crap Box,’ as in when nothing else is catching fish, then I come here looking for solutions.”
“What I like most about the Ranger designed battery storage is the ability to view everything.” Inside are two cranking batteries and two 36-volt Lithium Pros trolling motors, all linked together. The lithium batteries combined weigh less than 60 pounds, and the extra cranking battery is for powering electronics and accessories.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “What I like most about the Ranger designed battery storage is the ability to view everything.” Inside are two cranking batteries and two 36-volt Lithium Pros trolling motors, all linked together. The lithium batteries combined weigh less than 60 pounds, and the extra cranking battery is for powering electronics and accessories.
The spacious compartment provides space for a spare prop, and a bottle of Star Brite Vinyl Guard, with UV protection for vinyl, rubber, plastic and leather.
Photo: Craig Lamb - The spacious compartment provides space for a spare prop, and a bottle of Star Brite Vinyl Guard, with UV protection for vinyl, rubber, plastic and leather.
Also inside is a Power-Pole CHARGE Marine Power Management System. “It puts a charge back on my trolling motor batteries while running.” On the Arkansas River, he made the nonstop 50 mile run to Kerr, restoring what was used during the day.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Also inside is a Power-Pole CHARGE Marine Power Management System. “It puts a charge back on my trolling motor batteries while running.” On the Arkansas River, he made the nonstop 50 mile run to Kerr, restoring what was used during the day.
Martin chooses dual 8-feet Power-Pole Blade Edition shallow water anchor systems, featuring the trusted and reliable Everflex spike, with a lifetime warranty.
Photo: Craig Lamb - Martin chooses dual 8-feet Power-Pole Blade Edition shallow water anchor systems, featuring the trusted and reliable Everflex spike, with a lifetime warranty.
Mounted to the transom is the Bob’s Machine Shop Action Series Hydraulic Jack Plate. Featuring an internal pump that eliminates the need for a separate pump inside the boat, the part also features a powerful motor that is ideal for heavier outboards. “I have used Bob’s Machine Shop jackplates my entire career without a single issue.”
Photo: Craig Lamb - Mounted to the transom is the Bob’s Machine Shop Action Series Hydraulic Jack Plate. Featuring an internal pump that eliminates the need for a separate pump inside the boat, the part also features a powerful motor that is ideal for heavier outboards. “I have used Bob’s Machine Shop jackplates my entire career without a single issue.”
“And there you have it. A detailed tour of my tournament boat after I just loaded it from the Arkansas River.” And with that, Martin hits the road for his next tour destination.
Photo: Craig Lamb - “And there you have it. A detailed tour of my tournament boat after I just loaded it from the Arkansas River.” And with that, Martin hits the road for his next tour destination.