Scott Martin, reigning Forrest Wood Cup Champion and ETEC Team member, is excited about his prefishing for the 2012 FLW Cup event on Lake Lanier. I called Scott to touch base with him about his expectations and the pressures associated with this tournament.
Scott was a competitor last time the Cup fished Lake Lanier in 2010. However, the lake was not kind to him, only catching one weighable fish during that event. I asked Scott if that played into his confidence for the upcoming event. Scott replied confidently, “I have come a long way in my deep water fishing since that event. It was a real eye opener for me, until then I was able to be competitive fishing shallow. After that tournament, I decided that I needed to advance my deep water fishing, and dedicated time to doing so. By the time, the next FLW Cup on Lake Ouachita came around I had all the confidence I needed. In fact, nearly all the bass I weighed during that tournament were caught at least 25 feet deep.” Many of you already know that Scott won the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Scott also mentioned that his prefishing in 2010 was awful at best, however, this year he has put together some solid game plans and feels very confident in his ability to make a run at this year’s FLW Cup.
With Scott’s deep water game in play, I asked if the pressure of being a reigning champ was difficult to deal with. He said they were unique and different than anything he’s experienced. Scott went on to say, “The pressure isn’t there to win a Cup, like it was for me last year. I want to win this one for my family, friends and fans.” Scott continued saying that he didn’t really feel pressured, it was more like excitement, having the opportunity to win two cups, much less two cups in a row. The professional opportunities that would open for him would be fantastic for his career. “It’s the biggest tournament in Bass Fishing, winning two of them is record setting and would be great for my supporters.”
Scott Martin won the FLW Cup on Lake Ouachita last year, and still performed well enough the rest of the season to finish the Angler of the Year standings in 18th place. The history of any professional bass fishing circuit proves this to be a very difficult accomplishment for a reigning champion. Sponsor obligations and all the time consuming events that are required after winning a major event usually take too much time away from an angler and staying competitive is difficult at best. “I’ve been busier than I’ve ever been and only get to prefish each tournament during the three practice days prior to tournament day, so that has made it difficult. I take the three days of prefishing I get and fish hard, daylight to dark.” In fact, just to give you an idea of what it takes to meet the sponsor requirements, while I was talking with Scott he was still prefishing at 7 PM. At one point, he was chasing schooling bass that were surfacing while talking with me about the biggest tournament of the year. Scott said, “I have to give a lot of credit to my equipment, my Ranger boat has performed flawlessly powered by my Evinrude ETEC that is bullet proof. I have not had to visit the service trailer once all year. In my current situation, where I only get three days to prefish, I can’t be waiting on repairs. My equipment has been fantastic and keeps me on the water.”
So Scott, what’s it going to take to win? According to Scott, it’s a typical summer bite on Lake Lanier. Anglers can catch them shallow in the morning and deeper in the afternoon. The three baits that he plans to employ are a Fish Head Spin, Drop Shot and top water. “I’ve had some largemouth bass biting early that have some very nice spots mixed in with them.” Scott also said, “After the top water bite is over, he expects to fish deeper water and that’s where the fish head spin and the drop shot will come into play.” As we all know Scott was born and raised on shallow water largemouth bass fishing, if anyone can figure the largemouth out on Lanier, I figure it would be Scott. When I asked if catching a few largemouth will play into winning on Lake Lanier, Scott replied, “I’m catching some largemouth early, but the opportunities are so few and far between that I don’t know if it’s going to be a player in this one. The spots are big and chunky and catching those is what’s going to win.”
Scott said that the options are endless right now for catching bass on Lanier, and anglers will be able to fish just about anything they want too. “There are schooling fish, which are chasing shad and blue back herring. Then you have deep water brush piles that anglers can drop-shot in. There is even a bluegill spawn going on right now that anglers can build a pattern around. It’s exciting because there is so much going on right now!”
I asked Scott how he planned to attack this event; do you swing for the fences or slow and steadily manage your bass. Scott’s first thought was “It’s a four day event, swinging for the fences can get you in trouble; however, it’s an all or nothing tournament, no one remembers second place.” He said, “I’m planning a steady management of my game plan.” He wants to stay on quality bass and adjust to conditions so that he can put 5 quality bass in the boat each day. “We’ll (the anglers) have to manage our bass, four days are a lot of time. I plan to keep chipping away at the leader board.”
In closing our conversation, I asked Scott if he had any side bets going with his dad. He replied, “I am disappointed that I don’t get to fish against him in this one. He had a shot at making it and things just didn’t work out. Had my dad got to fish this tournament you can bet the smack talk and side bets would be flying, but right now he is supporting me and I want to do well for him.”
Get the Net It’s a Hawg