10 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT AARON MARTENS
Here are 10 things you may not know about newly crowned CITGO Bassmaster
Angler of the Year Aaron Martens.
1. It was at the age of 16 that Martens first began impressing fishermen
throughout the West as he dominated Castaic, Calif., area team
tournaments with his mother, Carol. The Martens took Angler of the Year
honors 11 times and were a fearsome duo in southern California
2. "My husband and I had an argument when Aaron was in high school and
wanted to give up varsity volleyball to fish tournaments on Saturdays,"
Carol said. "My husband said there was no future or money in fishing. I
said there was no future or money in volleyball. Aaron and I won."
3. Two years ago, Martens moved from California to Leeds, Ala., to
reduce his driving/travel time and learn more about Southern bass
4. "(Competing on the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail) has been a
dream since I was 7 or 8 years old," Martens said. As soon as I saw The
Bassmasters on TV, I knew I wanted to be out here. It's a dream come
5. The then-California whiz kid finished eighth (instead of third) in
the 2000 CITGO Bassmaster Classic in Chicago because of a late penalty
that incurred when his watch stopped working and he lost eight minutes
without realizing it.
6. Martens finished second in his last two Classic appearances.
7. His fishing heroes were western pros Dick Trask and Jay Yelas. "I
wanted to meet Jay when I was a kid because I had seen pictures of him
fishing the West," he said. "Of course, Rick Clunn and Gary Klein are
heroes of mine, too. I really wanted to meet those guys when I was about
17 or 18 and started getting excited about bass fishing as a career."
8. The 32-year-old pro scored his Angler of the Year heroics and
finished second in the season-finale at Table Rock Lake on a 15-year-old
original Storm Wiggle Wart crankbait that he bought while competing on
the WON Bass circuit more than a decade ago.
9. Martens cut his fishing teeth on trout, not bass. "Growing up in
southern California, there's not much to fish," he said. "There are
little ponds and stuff with houses all around and golf course ponds. I
fished for trout when I was growing up, but I would ride my bike to
those ponds, and that's where I really got the bug for bass fishing. I
loved fishing to the point where I just wanted to do it all the time
when I was a kid."
10. Martens' nickname among his Western tournament counterparts is "Spin
Doctor" for his ability to talk in such enthusiastic detail about even
the most mundane aspects of bass fishing.
TV TIME. The CITGO Bassmaster pros love their television time, but few
have gone to such lengths as Jeff Reynolds during the Table Rock Tour.
In the final round, the Oklahoma angler hooked and was about to land his
largest bass of the day only to find that the ESPN cameraman had run out
of battery power during the fight. No problem, Reynolds simply left the
bass in the water and boated it when the camera was functioning again.
"You know, it's sometimes hard to get TV time," he said. "There are a
lot of good fishermen out here - a lot of people who deserve it. After
waiting with a four-pounder for the cameraman, I think I deserve to be
That sequence was included on The CITGO Bassmasters coverage of the
CONSERVATION AWARD. BASS/ESPN Outdoors Conservation Director Noreen
Clough recently received the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Fisheries
Program Conservation Award for her outstanding contributions to the
conservation of aquatic habitats. The award was given at the Service's
Second Annual "Hook and Cook" Festival.
The award was present by Steve Williams, then director of the Fish and
Wildlife Service, at the Capitol Hill event which recognizes champions
from the public and private sectors who dedicate their time and
resources to combating threats to the nation's aquatic habitats.
"Of course, it's always a pleasure to get an award," Clough said, "but
this one is special because it recognizes the contributions all of us
here at BASS are making, both at BASS/ESPN Outdoors and at the BASS
Federation level. I'm especially proud of all the work the Federation
Conservation Directors take on in their states to ensure that our
aquatic resources are conserved for the future of fishing."
Clough, one of nine award recipients, joined BASS in 2003, and has
enjoyed a 30-year career working on natural resource policy issues with
Congress, conservation organizations and federal government agencies.
Prior to coming to BASS, she was a consultant in natural resources
management and a former career Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. When
she retired in July 1997 as Southeast Regional Director of the US Fish
and Wildlife Service, she was responsible for directing USFWS's fish,
wildlife and habitat conservation, protection and enhancement activities
in 10 states, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1997, she was
distinguished as the American Sportfishing Association's Woman of the
GREATEST ANGLER DEBATE. Former Classic champion Ken Cook was one of the
35 semifinalists in the Greatest Angler Debate presented by John Deere.
Inside BASS asked him whom he would vote for as the best of the best:
"It would be hard to pick one person and really think you're right,"
Cook said, "but I think I'd pick Roland (Martin). He's had a longer
record of success than anybody else.
"Even though he's had some slow times lately - like we all have when we
get older, I guess - he still has a remarkable enthusiasm for the sport.
His ability to catch bass over a wide range of conditions is probably
better than anybody. All of the guys in the top 10 deserve a vote, but
he would be my pick."
The Greatest Angler Debate series is part of BASS Saturday on ESPN2. The
programming features biographical shows on the top 10 anglers as well as
debate among experts. Fans will find stats and stories in the pages of
Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times, Bassmaster.com and on the weekly ESPN
Outdoors radio show. In June and July, the debate will heat up again as
the fans choose between the top two anglers during a second round of
voting on Bassmaster.com.
The debate will conclude in Pittsburgh - at the 2005 Classic - when two
champions are crowned. One will be given the Classic trophy and the
other will be hailed as the greatest angler of all time.
WEIRDEST CATCH. Texas pro Alton Jones actually managed to pattern the
weirdest item he ever hooked.
"One day I was cranking on Lake Waco - fishing two different deep spots
about two or three miles apart - and I caught a pair of pantyhose off of
each spot," he said. "It's pretty bizarre to catch one pair, much less
to catch two in the same day."
DID YOU KNOW? Lost in the all of the award hoopla of the season-finale
on Table Rock Lake was the fact that Kevin VanDam and Jay Yelas extended
their Classic streaks to 15 consecutive appearances. Theirs are also the
longest active streaks.
PRO BIRTHDAYS. Georgia pro Danny Kirk will be 49 on April 23rd.
IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO. Western pro Greg Gutierrez would
concentrate exclusively on his job as a firefighter.
THEY SAID IT. "I really wasn't ready to get started this season. I
didn't have enough off time. I had a lot of business stuff going on in
the fall, and I went out of the country for CITGO. One thing led to
another, and I just didn't get any time to get away. I normally have an
off season - two or three weeks to kind of forget about everything and
relax." 2004 CITGO Rookie of the Year Greg Hackney, winner of the Tour
season-finale, on the reason for his slow start at the beginning of the
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than
20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO
Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50
series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament
circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility,
professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or