The Furious Hog Snatcher is back with a vengeance. Aaron Martens added to his legend by posting a record comeback that's unlikely to be eclipsed.
The Natural, who hasn't been close to winning in nearly two years, waited until Championship Sunday to unleash the biggest bag of event, rallying from 19th place with 23 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Bassmaster Elite at Champlain presented by Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels.
After winning his ninth B.A.S.S. event — tying Shaw Grigsby in fourth on the active winners list — it was somewhat surreal he didn’t seem to notice. Day 2 leader Jacob Wheeler was brought up beside the hot seat sitter but didn’t have enough to top him.
Fans began cheering to emcee Dave Mercer’s proclamation: “A-Mart has got it done! The Furious Hog Snatcher returns right here on Lake Champlain.”
“Is that it?” asked Martens. “I thought there was another one. I was spacing out.”
While he may have zoned out, he zoned in on the water.
The biggest comeback in Elite history had been Jason Christie climbing from 11th at Bull Shoals in 2013. Martens only had to make up 3-1 on Wheeler, but he had to climb over 18 anglers. With Championship Sunday normally consisting of the Top 12, coming back from as far as 19th might not only never be broken, but the opportunity might never arise again.
It happened because wind canceled Thursday’s round, shortening the event to three days. The full field fished Friday and Saturday, and the top 51 went out Sunday to decide the winner.
“I thought about that today. I wonder how far somebody has won from?” said Martens, who, in fact, knew he was 19th. “That’s amazing.”
Well, yes, Aaron, yes you are.
A-MART'S END-AROUND PUTS CRIMP IN SHOW
The Bassmaster TV crew, whose greatest fear is not having a camera with the winner, went into scramble mode to chase Martens’ end-around victory. Usually, a camera is sent to a rising angler — like Jordan Lee at the Classic — to get footage for the show and content for Bassmaster.com.
Martens didn’t allow that opportunity.
“I underestimated them on purpose,” he said, pointing to Day 1 when BASSTrakk had him at 19-8 and he only weighed in 18-8.
Marshals on the anglers’ boats have phones and they enter the weight of each fish caught into BASSTrakk, which keeps a tally of the anglers’ total weight. Martens, who was high on his estimates Friday, said that’s why he fudged the numbers a bit Sunday.