No way a black bear could win a fight with a tiger, Aaron Martens said during Day 3 of the Huk Performance Fishing Bassmaster Elite at Chesapeake Bay.
Martens was entertaining onlookers on the dock, the Bassmaster LIVE crew and everyone watching, even more so after being asked who would win that creature feature. He was feeling good after landing an important fourth fish that could help him equal Edwin Evers with two Elite victories this season.
“Tigers are pretty efficient with their claws,” Martens answered, methodically pondering the question. He denied a black bear could fare well against a tiger, saying a more even match might be “a tiger and a grizzly bear.”
Yes, that would be fairer. What’s he’s doing doesn’t seem to be. From the lead he gained on Day 3 in the Chesapeake event, Martens is the tiger, and he very well may be the grizzly bear as well.
Martens has his claws out to win a second Elite event this season and fifth overall, and his teeth are certainly bared for a third Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.
“I’m all jacked up,” Martens said after the catch, then singing a line from an old Alka Seltzer jingle. “Oh, what a relief it is.”
Happy Martens, who earlier in the day lost some fish, soon asked if the action was on LIVE. Why yes, yes it was.
“Got all the happiness … The frustration’s gone,” he said. “It’s been happening like that. A really fortunate deal. Things have gone wrong … but a lot of things have gone right.”
LIVE host Mark Zona said that in the past, Martens might have spun out if he lost those fish in such a key spot.
“Five years earlier, there’s no way he would have come back from that,” Zona said. “He is unfazed. Big things that happen through a day do not bother him anymore. That is why he is at the top of his game. He doesn’t let that get in his head.”
Tommy Sanders then noted Martens’ plan and how it must have been difficult to stick with it after a dry spell of several hours Saturday. Martens’ management – running deep into his pocket Friday before it turned into a no-wake area on the weekend – was also commended.
“It takes a good deal of mental toughness,” Sanders said, “and we’re seeing that. ‘I’m not going to fish that. I’m going to save that for tomorrow.’ ”
Martens left pointing out spots he hasn’t fished in his area, with plans to attack them Sunday, just like a tiger.
Two in the well
Carl Jocumsen made Zona laugh when he told him Friday night he was targeting “bluegill killers.” That’s a term the Australian angler picked up from Zona.
“If I see bluegill under a boat dock and I pitch in there and they scatter, I’ll never catch them,” Jocumsen told Zona. “If they don’t, there’s a wolf in there.”
Zona said bluegill stay high to avoid the predator below, and Jocumsem’s bait imitated the tasty morsels.
In April, Jocumsen was a guest for Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show, and they had fun with some bluegill killers, but Zona left more impressed with Jocumsen’s personality.
“What amazed me is how instantly that dude connected to my children,” he said. “They follow Carl each tournament now. He is one of the most positive individuals I have ever been near my entire life.”
That despite some struggles to reach the Elites, then some trying times as an Elite. Jocumsen introduced himself, and much of Australia, to B.A.S.S. circles at Guntersville, when he finished sixth in the “greatest week of my life.”
Things weren’t so great in his past six events, including two Opens.
“I had five of the bottom finishes and faced more walls than I can possibly imagine,” he said. “You wonder if you are good enough, and wonder if you can compete … Try to do it without family and friends.
“These last couples of days have changed me and everything for the better. I know I can do it. I’ve had a phenomenal year and I realize that all the adversities you face just make you a stronger person. If you give up, you’ll never know what’s around the corner.”
Well said, Carl. We know a lot of seppos pulling for you, as well as some Aussies now.
Jocumsen had a subpar Day 3, bringing in only 6-3, but he still made the Top 12 cut. His finish was more in line with what local guide and pro Pete Gluszek was thinking about the area Jocumsen fished near Martens. Gluszek was surprised with the bags they caught there.
“Pete couldn’t believe it,” James Overstreet told LIVE. “They haven’t caught them in the middle river for years.”
Overstreet was asked why that was.
“They had a big fish kill,” JO said. “They actually restocked this river with not only fingerling but adult bass. I guess it’s worked for them.”
Four on the floor
All I could think was “Don’t eat it, don’t eat it,” when Dave Mercer yanked a stringer of “black death” from the Bay for LIVE. Pete Gluszek clued the crew in on the algae bloom that ruins fishing here in late summer.
Mercer showed us why the locals call it black death. It just looks like nasty stuff.
After Chukkers the Cicada, which Mercer chomped on during BASSfest, it was thought he might taste some.
No, Mercer had a better plan. He doffed his cap and slapped the dread-like slime on his clean-shaven scalp, positioning it around every so often for affect.
Bad combovers aside – think Bill Murray in "Kingpin" – Mercer’s report wasn’t up to par with Chukkers (What would be?) but it was still good in-fun-mation.
That’s a limit
The surprise of the week is how Greg Hackney is catching his eighth-place fish. He had 14-6, 15-15 then slipped to 7-4 fishing submerged logs with a jerkbait. And he prefers the high tide.
“On low tide, those logs will kind of go down to the bottom,” Zona said. “Hackney is one of the only guys in this tournament to want high tide to raise them up. High tide will suspend them up and the big ones live under there, and he can catch them with that jerkbait. When he said that last night, I was stunned.”
Hackney had some more fun on LIVE when he discussed plans after The Chesapeake. They included going up north to visit someone close to B.A.S.S., spending time on a pontoon boat and indulging in a libation.
“My hidden passion is pontooning,” he said.
That would be Zona, but Hack threw folks off his track by saying it was Sanders.
“Tommy sanders is great to hang out with,” Hack said. “He likes to let his hair down.”
Zona said they enjoy their time unwinding together on the water, even if they get wound up like the guys in “Step Brothers.” (That’s more than a handful of references to SNL graduates on LIVE this week)
“Karen and the kids love Greg Hackney,” Zona said, “but after four days, the CEO is ready for him to be on his way.”
- Photo of the Day comes from Steve Bowman, showing Martens enjoying his day by letting kids come over and check out his catch. He was heard explaining about the largemouth bass. Zona said the move almost made him cry. Check out all the awesome Chesapeake Bay photos.
- Zona heard a real oddity from the angler who won the past two events. “Edwin Evers never had a bite yesterday. I’ve never heard that from him in my life.”
- Gerald Swindle made the Top 12 and delivered this line about how he was feeling – “like bill Clinton in a room full of interns.”
- Add Zona on the how difficult The Chesapeake was fishing: “I do not know if we have covered a tournament that every bite is so critical for every guy in the top 12.”
- Sanders reminded everyone how this season, if Martens wins his second Elite event to match Evers’ two titles, would be a super rare occasion. It’s not often one angler has two wins in one season. “Two guys dividing up four of the events -- talk about history.”
- Zona asked Jocumsen if he goes to Outback Steakhouse when he gets homesick. Carl said that the restaurant chain isn’t really representative of what Australians eat. He’s never even seen a blooming onion. Zona suggested getting them as a sponsor, changing Jocumsen’s tune to, “I love Outback.”