BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A young Justin Lucas watched as the pro he looked up to most, Aaron Martens, made the big move East to Alabama from California. Lucas later did the same.
Then, the two pros took the Western Swing by storm, with Lucas winning on the Sacramento River and Martens taking the trophy the following week at Lake Havasu.
"I told him when he won at Sacramento that it was OK," said Martens. "He could win that one and I would finish second. Then I would win at Havasu and he could take second. I did my part. I called him later and asked him what happened?"
Lucas finished eighth on Havasu.
Lucas and Martens had a great rapport anyway, but the back-to-back wins have them in very high spirits.
Both of them visited the B.A.S.S. headquarters for a live video chat and a Twitter chat. Below is a full transcript of the Twitter chat. You can watch an archived version of the video chat here.
Come to talk to me and Aaron on Twitter on how we won the West Coast! We're excited for the questions!
I'm really happy to be here, it doesn't happen often enough and I like answering the questions, especially challenging ones!
Hey fellas, how does it feel to be snappin necks and cashin checks?
It's always more fun when you're snappin necks & cashin checks, especially big checks. The wife & kids are happy!
That was my first big check! The money is cool, but the trophy is awesome! I finally got it home. I tried to put it in my duffle bag, but it wouldn't fit.
What type of mind set are you in when you are closing in on a win?
You're very focused. You can tell the guys who will be threats can't be distracted. Just thinking about putting bass in the boat. I talk to my wife or kids in the morning & after that it's all fishing.
The Delta was the first tournament I ever lead going into the last day, and I was surprised at how calm I was. I got to my spot and put my head down. Just focused on putting bass in the boat.
How do you transition from being a confident shallow water angler to deeper water?
You've got to get out there. It'll be uncomfortable at first when you're not used to it. But, it takes practice.
Check what the deepest part of the lake is and focus on the water that's less than 25 or 30. Once you catch a bass & graph them, you'll start knowing what they look like. My favorite deep lures are a football jig, drop shot and crankbait.
What is your favorite thing about Alabama that is completely different than the west coast?
The taxes are a lot better out here, first of all. The first time I came to Alabama, north Alabama, specifically I realized there are a bunch of lakes so close together.
Will you fish a spot you found on your fishfinder without seeing bait or bass?
The electronics are so good, I won't fish unless I see them. A lot of times I don't fish unless I see something.
Of all the anglers, who has the best crankbait game in the #BassElite series??
I think @AMartFishing is! He won shallow cranking in the All-Star event and he's won deep cranking, too!
Timmy Horton and Keith Combs. I think you should stay open-minded and versatile.
Was there one fish that had you not executed would have sunk your chance to win?
I had an 8-pounder come up at the California Delta—she was so close! It happens to everyone all the time.
Yes, a Potomac River tournament years ago, but I kept losing fish. I lost by 3 ounces. I wasn't meant to win it.
They say bass tend to move to shallow water when it gets warm, but I can’t seem to find them? What am I doing wrong?
They don't always move shallow. Fish live deep this time of year at certain lakes.
As a "west coast" transplant, I've never heard your thoughts on #swimbaits . Hard? Soft? Brand? Best times to throw?
I was into swimbait fishing during my teens, and I got burned out because it was hot & cold. It's kind of come back and some are really good. It's a "dangerous" bait for a multi-day tournament because it may work one day and not the next. I like hard and soft, jointed swimbaits. I usually find ways that are more productive though.
Alright fellas, do you like cats or dogs?
I hate our cat! It's mean - we tried to take a family picture with our animals and our cat freaked out!
Cats are more gnarly than dogs, pound for pound.
I know you can't make it pro overnight, but what is the point where you realized you had made it?
I was ready a couple years before I went. I was 19 when I realized I could go pro, but I waited until I was 21.
If you're doing well at @bass_nation Opens, you can do it! Once I made enough money on each level, I would move up. Once I was fishing well at the @bass_nation Opens and beating some of the Elite pros, I thought, "I can do this."
So, @justinlucasbass, how did you feel when you ran out gas? What where your lessons learned?
I knew if I got gas, I'd be the last one out & there wouldn't be anyone to help if something else went wrong. I planned it so that if I got in trouble I would have help. Ish was right behind me. He would have done that for anybody.
Offshore advice for Clear Lake?
You can do whatever you want! Bring big, heavy swimbaits, the 7-inch Basstrixx, 6 or 8 inch flutter spoon or 3/4- or 1-ounce jig. You can drop shot there, too.
I agree with the bigger flutter spoons. I would spend time with my @LowranceFishing structure scan!
What do you look for on the graph when fishing deep like Clear Lake?
You want to look for little white dots. On Clear Lake, they're big dots! You want to find them near cover.
Fish! Sidescan & down imaging are my favorite for seeing fish. It's nice to find them when they're up on top, hunting.
Hey @AMartFishing what is your competitive advantage while fishing wearing toe shoes?
I'm barefoot almost all the time. You've got a better feel & it's more comfortable. My body does better all around.
What's the best all around knot to tie
For connecting a lure, a Uni double instead of doing a single, I loop it twice. Double seems to be stronger.
What advice would you give to a young rookie fisherman when going to a new lake to practice before a tournament?
Finding a boat ramp that fishes a lot of tournaments and start practicing there!
Save your fuel & putter around the lake & get to know it. You might find something that catches your eye.
You started as a coangler how did you know you were ready for front. And was money or experience a bigger factor.
It was both! But, experience was key! I didn't want to move to the front until I was financially ready. I used to live at home so I could save money. I was trying to build my bank account before I became a pro angler.
When you find a school of bass, does it mean big mama is there? or are mature bass in another area?
You have to be careful because sometimes big mama is on her own. They tend to run in sizes. Guntersville is a good example. You can get on a school of 2 to 3 pounders, and a 4 pounder is rare.
Thanks for the questions everyone! See you guys at @BASS_nation BASSfest.
Thanks for the questions, and sorry if we didn't get to them all. See you at the next tournament!