Martin Wins FLW Tour Bass Fishing Tournament on Lake Champlain
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (July 12, 2009) - Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla., caught a final-round total of 10 bass weighing 36 pounds, 4 ounces to win $125,000 in the FLW Tour bass fishing tournament on Lake Champlain. Martin topped his closest rival, Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C., by 2 pounds, 11 ounces to earn the win and 200 points toward qualifying for the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 on the Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Pa..
Martin received news Wednesday that his grandmother had passed away, and he said he had a hard time deciding whether to fish the tournament or attend the funeral.
"I have such a peace about this win," said Martin, who passed the $1 million mark in career earnings with the victory. "If I could keep this confidence and peace the rest of my life, I think I could win every tournament.
"All of my family is in Oklahoma right now waiting for me to get there," Martin added. "They delayed the services for me so I could attend. What better way to honor her and acknowledge the pain and suffering that my family is enduring right now than to give them a win in memory of my grandmother?"
Martin said he relied on a variety of baits throughout the tournament -a shad-colored Lucky Craft Big Daddy Strike 3 and a Strike King Series 5 crankbait on 12-pound-test Trilene 100% Flourocarbon as well as a green pumpkin Berkley Chigger Craw paired with a 3/8-ounce weight on 15-pound-test Trilene 100% Flourocarbon. Martin said he occasionally threw a brown and green-pumpkin jig with a Chigger Craw trailer. Martin said his key depths were between four and eight feet of water. Martin said he targeted scattered rock piles and milfoil.
"In practice the Chigger Craw in the grass worked really, really good," Martin said. "The first two days of the tournament I pretty much split my catches on the Chigger Craw and the crankbait. Today I pretty much caught all of my fish on a crankbait. I started noticing bigger bites on the crankbait. I didn't get as many bites, but when I did, they were those 3- to 3 1/2-pounders."
Martin said he targeted post-spawn fish that had moved into open water. Martin said he fished mid-lake near Cary Bay.
"I cruised around the flats looking for milfoil," Martin said. "I think those fish were out there feeding on perch and baitfish in the area and getting ready for the summer pattern. Covering water was really important."
Martin opened the tournament Thursday in fifth place with five bass weighing 19-2. He slipped to ninth place Friday with a five-bass catch weighing 16 pounds, 11 ounces to advance into the final round of 10 pros with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 35 pounds, 13 ounces. On Saturday, weights were cleared, and Martin caught five bass weighing 18-8 to advance to the final day of competition in first place. Martin added another five bass weighing 17-12 to his final-round total Sunday.
Gagliardi caught a final-round total of nine bass weighing 33-9 to claim second place and $50,000.
"I thought I could catch fish, but my sights were set on (the Forrest Wood Cup)," said Gagliardi, who also passed the $1 million mark in career earnings at the Lake Champlain event. "My goal when I came up here, especially after the egg I laid at Kentucky Lake, was to not lay another one and make the cut. That was my goal from the beginning.
"I had a decent practice," Gagliardi added. "I wouldn't say it was a great practice by any stretch. That happens a lot with me. A lot of times I catch more fish than I think I'm catching in practice."
Gagliardi said he caught 15 keepers Sunday and his largest three bass fell for a Lucky Craft Sammy.
"Bringing in only four fish yesterday ... that's a no-brainer," Gagliardi said. "I lost a 5-pounder yesterday that I saw and another I didn't see. I didn't hardly ever catch a fish out of my spot that wasn't over three pounds. I just needed one more."
Rounding out the top 10 pros were Mark Hardin of Jasper, Ga (10 bass, 33-3, $40,000); Jay Yelas of Corvallis, Ore. (10 bass, 31-13, $30,000); Kyle Mabrey of McCalla, Ala. (10 bass, 29-6, $20,000); Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa. (10 bass, 29-4, $19,000); Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas (10 bass, 28-7, $18,000); Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala. (10 bass, 27-14, $17,000); Mike Hawkes of Sabinal, Texas (10 bass, 27-9, $16,000) and Luke Clausen of Gainesville, Ga. (nine bass, 20-2, $15,000).
Overall there were 50 bass weighing 163 pounds, 9 ounces caught in the Pro Division Sunday. The catch included 10 five-bass limits.
Clark Wendlandt of Leander, Texas, claimed a record third Angler of the Year title Sunday. The Angler of the Year title annually goes to the FLW Tour Pro Division angler who has the highest year-end point total in the standings at the conclusion of the regular season. Wendlandt earned $25,000 and a Ranger 198VX powered by a 200-horsepower Yamaha outboard for the title in a race that went down to the last day of the regular season. Wendlandt also received an additional $25,000 from Ranger Boats as the Ranger Cup pro who accumulated the most points during the season.
Matt Greenblatt of Tequesta, Fla., won the Co-angler Division and $25,000 Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 5 ounces followed by co-angler Justin Lucas of Folsom, Calif., in second place with five bass weighing 12-14 worth $9,733.
This is my first win and it feels really, really good," said Greenblatt, who is fishing in his third year on the FLW Tour. "I've accomplished it from the back of the boat. Now comes the front of the boat."
Greenblatt said he caught his bass Saturday on a Texas-rigged weightless 5-inch Yamamoto Senko laminate color that is half green pumpkin and half watermelon. Greenblatt had been throwing a drop-shot rig tipped with a Baby Bass-colored Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm the previous two days of competition. Greenblatt said he used Trilene 100% Fluorocarbon line in 6-pound-test for smallmouth and 10- to 12-pound-test for largemouth.
"We were in some heavy weeds and rigging it weightless let it fall nice and slow," Greenblatt said. "We were in a pocket, so the wind wasn't affecting us that much. The fish wanted a slow fall. So I had to fish it on a slack line to allow it to fall because if I had a tight line, the wind would grab it and the Senko would ski across the top of the grass and ruin the drop. They were just grabbing it on the edge of the weeds and not shy about it."
Greenblatt opened the tournament in 10th place Thursday with five bass weighing 15-11 while fishing with Rich Lowitzki of St. Charles, Ill. On Friday he jumped into seventh place on the strength of a five-bass catch weighing 13-7 while fishing with Thanh Le of Lake Havasu City, Ariz. He wrapped up his win while fishing with Mabrey.
Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are Jason Ober of Johnstown, Pa. (five bass, 10-1, $7,300); co-angler Spencer Shuffield of Bismarck, Ark. (five bass, 8-7, $4,867); Jim Sweeney of West Dover, Vt. (four bass, 7-14, $3,893); Brandon Hunter of Benton, Ky. (four bass, 7-12, $3,407); Lynn Baciuska, Jr. of Afton, N.Y. (three bass, 7-9, $2,920); Shane Lehew of Charlotte, N.C. (five bass, 5-12, $2,433); James Schneider of Watervliet, N.Y. (three bass, 4-12, $1,947); and Keith Honeycutt of Temple, Texas (three bass, 3-2, $1,460).
Dearal Rodgers of Camden, S.C., was awarded the Castrol Co-Angler of the Year title Saturday. The Co-Angler of the Year title annually goes to the FLW Tour Co-Angler Division angler who has the highest year-end point total in the standings at the conclusion of the regular season. Rodgers received a $1,000 Walmart gift card and a year's supply of Castrol motor oil.
"I've learned a lot and met a lot of great people since I started doing this in 2006," said Rodgers. "It's like I went to school and got a college degree in bass fishing.
"I traveled and roomed with (fellow pro) Clay Dyer this year, and being around him allowed me to have a good attitude," Rodgers added. "You know, this is a dream of a lot of people ... to be outside having fun like this. I'm blessed."