The Ultimate Sweet Spot

ZAPATA, Texas — If we were talking about people, the Falcon Lake sweet spot Aaron Martens and Byron Velvick have shared the last two days would be considered a high density residential area. Maybe even the highest-density residential area known to man. Or bass.

 As the Bassmaster Elite Series pros prepared to take off at 8 a.m. Saturday for the third day of the Lone Star Shootout, presented by Longhorn, Velvick started adding up the numbers that have put them at the top of the leaderboard, with 79 pounds, 13 ounces, for Martens and 76-9 for Velvick.

 "We've caught 280 pounds off that spot," said Velvick, who was adding in the totals from their co-anglers both days. "That's just what we've weighed in. That's not counting what we've culled. You're catching a 6-pounder and throwing him back. Catching a six-pounder and throwing him back. So it's probably more like 400 to 500 pounds off that one spot in two days."

 Velvick, a former contestant on ABC's "The Bachelor" show, stopped and considered the words that had just left his mouth.

 "As I'm saying those numbers, I can't believe what I'm saying," he continued. "I'm telling you that, and I'm thinking, 'My God, that's crazy.'"

 Martens, who weighed in the second-biggest five-bass limit in BASS history Thursday with 42-0, said he had caught two 8-pounders and a 7-pounder in another location. But the majority of the record pace he's set in holding the lead here for the first two days of the tournament have come from this ultimate sweet spot in Falcon Lake's Arroyo Del Tigre (Tiger Creek, for you gringos).

 Unbelievably, it could get even sweeter today. Temperatures were in the low 60s under clear skies when the top 50 anglers after two days of competition left the Zapata County Public Boat Ramp this morning. For the first time this week, the wind isn't expected to hit double digits all day long.

 "Both of us would like to have a light breeze," said Velvick, who now lives in Del Rio, Texas, site of next week's Elite Series "Battle on the Border" at Lake Amistad. "A nice 5- to 10-mile-per-hour wind, that would be great."

 Both Velvick and Martens found other productive spots on Falcon Lake during the three days of practice this week. Martens explored some of his, but Velvick admitted it would take an atomic bomb to move him now.

 "It would have to be a complete nuclear breakdown for me to leave," Velvick said with a laugh. "At DEFCON 1, I'd go fish somewhere else. I don't want to get to DEFCON 1. I want to keep it at a nice, calm Security Level Green."

 It's a foregone conclusion Steve Kennedy's four-day, total-weight BASS record of 122-14, set April 1, 2007 at California's Clear Lake, is history.

 "I think it's going to take 130, 140 to win this," Martens said.

 Martens had another record in his sights Saturday morning — the single-day mark of 45-2, set by Dean Rojas on Jan. 17, 2001, at Florida's Lake Toho.

 He got close Thursday with that 42-0, caught in the morning, after which Martens spent the rest of the day trying to keep the 70-plus-pounds of bass alive he and his co-angler had stuffed in his boat's two livewells.

 Those 42 pounds were the second-best, five-fish limit in BASS history. Velvick moved into third place on that list with his 41-11 Friday.

 Martens' 37-13 Friday included a "puny" 5 1/2-pounder he wasn't able to cull, so you can see what is possible here, with Marten's average bass weighing just under 8 pounds in the first two days.

 "Those have been caught under bad (weather) conditions," said Martens, in reference to the winds that have kicked up over 20 miles per hour each day. "If we got good weather, we'd really spank 'em. It would be ridiculous. Then you'd see like 47-, 48-pound bags."

 When Velvick's fiancée since his 2005 "The Bachelor" appearance, Mary Delgado, gave him a hug Friday morning, she said, "Catch 50 pounds."

 When asked that day if 50 were realistic at Falcon Lake, Velvick quickly replied, "It's doable. It's definitely doable."

 But is another 400 to 500 pounds of bass possible from one spot in Tiger Creek over the next two days?

 "Hopefully another wave of them moved up last night, and they'll like our little pueblo," Velvick said, referring to what he thought he found Friday in the 20-foot depths of the sweet spot. Before the winds came up, Velvick thought he felt something like an old house foundation as he was dragging a lure across the rocky point.

 Based on what he and Martens caught in the last two days, it might as well be a high-rise largemouth bass condominium. The ultimate high-rise, high-density bass condo complex.

 Saturday's weigh-in at the Zapata County Public Boat Ramp begins at 5:50 p.m. ET. The BASS Expo opens at 1 p.m. The weigh-in will determine the top 12 anglers who will fish Falcon Lake Sunday for a chance to win the $100,000 first prize in the Lone Star Shootout.