BOSSIER CITY, La. — Aaron Martens was worried Sunday morning before the final takeoff of the 39th Bassmaster Classic.
A long Saturday night fulfilling Super Six obligations didn't leave enough time for tackle, and he wasn't feeling good about a busy Sunday morning as he paced up and down his boat.
"What am I feeling?" Martens said. "The only thing I'm feeling now is I've got to do my tackle. I don't want to do it on the water, that's a disaster. I mean you're wasting like 10 or 15 minutes."
Skeet Reese, who started the day 8 ounces out of the lead, was also having a few tackle issues, but he was relaxed and focused.
"It's a derby," he said. "It's just a regular tournament. I've just got to figure out how to get the bites today and get them in boat."
Two different personalities, two different styles of fishing — but they have one painful thing in common. Between them, they own four of the last seven second-place finishes at the Classic. Martens finished second three out of four years from 2002-05, and Reese finished six ounces behind Boyd Duckett in 2007.
Martens' finishes have gotten more attention, but he didn't initially admit to any worries about further solidifying his reputation on Sunday.
"If I don't win it, you know, no big deal," he said. "I did all I could do. I've had a pretty good tournament so far. I'll have another year, I'm sure."
Skeet said he was more concerned about what he wasn't feeling Sunday morning.
"I'll tell you what I'm not feeling right now is my fingertips," he said as he watched his breath in the 31-degree air. "This is
definitely not the day to catch a big bag. It will fish more like Day One."
Both guys like their areas and think they're on a pattern that can win the Classic, but Martens started the day 3 pounds back and needs a big bag.
"On a day like today with the weather, 20 would be good," Martens said. "But I'm shooting for like 22 or 23 pounds. That's what I need, I figure."
Reese caught 22-9 on Day Two, but he doesn't see that happening again.
"I'd like to see something even remotely close to that today," Reese said. "If I come in with 20 pounds, I'll be one jacked up dude."
Four hours into the day, Reese unofficially had 10-12 pounds and the lead, and Martens had 8-12, putting him in fourth. That's 10 pounds and two places from what Martens eventually admitted he was trying to avoid.
"I don't want 18 pounds," Martens said. "I figure that will put me in second."