LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — It didn’t feel like déjà vu Friday on Lake Havasu, but it should have. The 112-angler field weighed-in 524 bass both days of the Bassmaster Elite presented by Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels. The total weight was 1,457 pounds on Day 1 and only 35 pounds less on Day 2.
So why did the two days have such a different feel to them? The wind blew both days, though not quite as hard Friday. There were three more five-bass limits (96) caught on Friday than there were the previous day.
A big part of the difference had to do with who caught ‘em each day. For instance, Kevin VanDam was in 10th place with 17 pounds, 6 ounces on Day 1. He fell all the way to 58th place yesterday with three bass weighing 9-2 and missed the two-day cut to the top 52 that will fish Saturday.
Skeet Reese did just the opposite, with the same result. Reese caught three bass weighing 6-0 Thursday and a limit weighing 18-13 Friday to finish 72nd.
Consistency was definitely rewarded. Takahiro Omori weighed 15-8 Friday, only 4 ounces more than he had Thursday, but jumped from 33rd to 16th in the standings. Josh Bertrand weighed 4 ounces less (15-15) than he did the previous day (16-16) but that was consistent enough to jump him from 18th to 8th.
And then there was Aaron Martens. On what he called “one of the top three worst days fishing since I was a kid,” Martens caught 16-6 and moved up from 33rd place to 11th.
“I missed a bunch of fish,” Martens explained. “I had a chance for an 18-, 19-pound day. I rolled six of them. I dumped a couple of 4-pounders. They were biting different today. I had a skirt on my bait, and they kept ripping the skirts off. Yesterday I had the same skirt on the bait all day.”
Martens says Lake Havasu is one of his favorite tournament lakes, and he’s won a lot of them here.
“It’s a finesse lake, and it’s a power lake too,” he said. “It’s one of the ultimate junk-fishing lakes. You can fish 20 to 30 feet deep for awhile, you can fish the bank for awhile and you can fish habitat in between for awhile. You can do everything here.”
Martens is best-known for his finesse fishing expertise. But he said he hasn’t gone to those tactics the first two days.
“I started out that way (Friday) morning. I missed my first fish, then I went right to the bank.”
Because he missed so many fish Friday, Martens definitely didn’t have any feelings of déjà vu. And he probably won’t Saturday.
“I’ll probably have to finesse fish the next two days,” he said. “I think it will take 17 pounds a day to win it.”