Winning Baits

Aaron Martens’ winning Champlain baits and pattern

Aaron Martens won by fishing where no one else was fishing. Sorta. He was n’t really fishing around anyone, but more than that it seems like he was keying on a specific depth that most Elitists missed. Deets:

How and where he got on ’em

> “I fished deep and shallow in practice, but the majority of the time I was in 20-30′. I caught a lot of good fish in practice but I had a feeling [shallow] wasn’t going to be the deal. Up shallow I found some really good ones, but it was where a lot of guys were fishing and it got pressured….

> “So I kept fishing in that 20-30′ for a long time…. I ended up fishing in 13-14′ the first and second [competition] days a little, and the quality was a just a little better.

> “It was all hard bottom and rock. It had a lot of grass. …in 20′ was on the edge of the grass…a little grass mixed in. I moved up [shallower] into the thicker grass….

> “I fished one flat [in the “inland sea” area]. I didn’t really have to move — enough fish were in that area. You’d catch a couple here, one there — you had to move around a lot.

> “Every type of grass in the lake was in that area. In some areas it was 18” tall [from the bottom], some areas it was more sparse, then it was clumpy in some areas. I was hitting all those clumps. If you found them, you could catch more than 1 out of a clump.

> “I pitched around to different stuff. Some places you’d catch 1, some spots I caught 4 fish.

> “They wouldn’t swim very far to get your bait.”

How and why he dropshotted

> Rig: 4.5″ Roboworm Fat (Aaron’s magic red flake), #1 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Heavy Cover Hook [new Aaron signature hook, bait was TX-rigged], 1/4-oz tungsten cylinder weight, 8-lb Sunline FC Sniper Fluoro leader – FG knot – 12-lb Sunline Siglon PEx8 Braided Line [new, not out yet], 6′ 11″ Enigma HPT rod, 2500 Shimano Stella reel.

> New hook: “I can’t say enough about that hook. Honestly, there’s no hook better for TX-rigging a bait.”

> New Sunline braid: “The process…makes the braid really smooth. It’s a little stiff when you first throw it, but it softens up pretty quick. I’ve had the same braid on this whole season, caught a ton of fish on it and it’s still dark. It hasn’t faded… But the smoothness is what I really like.

> 20” leader: “There was lots of grass so I used a longer leader to keep the bait more visible in the grass….

> Why the bait color: “It’s like a transparent green with blue in it and brown on the bottom…[transparency] gave it a little bit of a glow in that water color. I saw a lot of baitfish that were dark like that…that worm had the same hue.

> “Those Helix graphs are pretty dang awesome. I had 4 graphs…a map on one…sidescan for the rock and hard bottom…and sonar [to mark fish] on the same graph.”

> Said it was too shallow and too grassy to video-game fish.


> The 6-lb largemouth on the last day: “I saw that fish — it chased one of my fish [a 4-lber] to the boat. That 6-lber shot up with it. So I backed away from the edge, put that 4-lber in the boat…pitched back in and caught a 4.5-lber. I thought, No way is that [the 6-lber]. …went back up there, pitched in, and the next bite was that 6-lber.

> “I knew I had over 20 before that, and I knew I needed a 6-lber to have a chance to win. [After catching it] I knew had a chance at that point. But I was trying to get another big one, believe me.

> “I caught lot of 4-lbers. I probably threw back a 20-lb bag.”

> He weighed 8 largemouths (all dropshotting) and 7 smallmouths.

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