2015 Angler of the Year, Aaron Martens Looks to Dominate the Second Half of the Season.
Coming into the 2016 season, Simms Pro, Aaron Martens was coming off the most dominating hot streak in professional bass fishing history. The first half of the season has come and gone. Currently sitting in 18th in AOY points, Martens season isn’t exactly going as planned but with four regular season tournaments to go, Martens’ frustration has turned into sheer determination. Just before hitting the road for BassFest, we caught up with Martens at his home in Leeds, Alabama to talk about the season. Below, Martens talks about some of his frustrations as well as his plan of attack for the second half of the 2016 season.
Simms: How are you feeling about the season so far?
Martens: Honestly, I’m just kind of waiting for it to be over, so I can start over. It’s been pretty tough. Last year, I had one of those season where everything that bit, I stuck, and landed. It just seems like this year, I’ve lost about a dozen fish or so that have really hurt me. I know that doesn’t sound like many but, looking back to last year, I’m having a hard time remembering losing even one fish that actually hurt me.
Simms: Any idea what’s happening?
Martens: I really don’t. I’ve had years like this before. It’s just weird how some years it’s almost like you’re just unlucky, like things just don’t go your direction. This year, I feel like I’m fishing well. I mean, I’m feeling good, I’m making good decisions, I’m losing way too many important fish.
Simms: How do you feel about the upcoming second half of the season? Think you can turn it around?
Martens: You know, I’m feeling pretty confident about the rest of the season. Like I say, I feel good and most importantly, I feel like for the most part, I’m making good decisions. So yeah — I feel like I could still win one. Who knows, maybe I could win two out of the remaining four, or maybe even three. I don’t know, maybe I could win all four [laughs]. I’m just going to go out and fish as hard as I possibly can, just like I always do.
Simms: So what are your emotions right now in regards to the season?
Martens: It’s just super frustrating and irritating because I honestly feel like I’m fishing better than ever — if I could just keep them on, I’d be sitting in a much different spot. There hasn’t been a tournament this season that I haven’t lost good fish.
Simms: You already mentioned that you feel pretty confident about the second half of the season. Does that have more to do with the water you’ll be fishing, the season or what?
Martens: Once summer and fall arrive, fishing just becomes more of a pattern kind of deal. The fish are more in their natural state of living, they’re not pre-spawn, post-spawn or trying to migrate — they’re just being bass. In my mind, that’s when I shine. It seems like a lot of anglers struggle when it gets like that.
Simms: You are literally getting ready to take off for Texoma, how do you feel about it? And how do you feel about the remaining bodies of water you’ll be fishing this season?
Martens: Texoma, I don’t know, I usually do decent in Texas but we’ll see. It’s that time of year where they should be patterning. Cayuga I’m really excited about because the fishing there is just phenomenal. The Potomac River is pretty exciting as well because it’s close to the Chesapeake and it’s tidal. I tend to be strong on those types of fisheries. I’m sure that one is going to be really hot and the fishing will be tough but again, for some reason, that’s when I tend to really shine.
Simms: So there aren’t any events that you aren’t looking forward to?
Martens: No, that one has already come and gone.
Simms: Which one was that?
Martens: Winyah Bay. That was really just because of the potential long runs and the dangers of flooding.
Simms: Do you think you still have a shot at Angler of the Year?
Martens: I don’t know. I guess at this point, anything is possible. It’s pretty far fetched but not impossible. My thing is, I like to be consistent. I’m sitting at 18 as of now which isn’t bad, I suppose. However, I really like and want to be in the top five.
Simms: Is there anything you wish you did differently during the first half of the season?
Martens: Obviously, hindsight’s always 20/20 in fishing. Like Toledo Bend or Winyah Bay, I’d love to redo them but of course, I can’t. What’s done is done. I’ve just lost too many solid fish this year. If I can stop doing that, I think I’ll have a great rest of the season. What’s happening to me this year is almost unexplainable. The number of fish I’ve lo — it just doesn’t make sense to me. Wheeler was unbelievable. You just don’t lose seven big fish in a day. I was so mad that day, I could have flipped a car, well maybe a small car. All I could do was laugh. I’m hoping I got all the bad luck out of my system during that one.
Simms: I thought you didn’t believe in luck?
Martens: [Laughs] I don’t but it sure seems and feels like I’ve been having it this year. It’s good though. All this anger and frustration just turns into determination. I need ups and downs, otherwise, things would get boring. Ups fire me up for sure, but the downs really fire me up to turn things around.