February 17, 2014 by Casey Martin
The first FLW Tour event of the season at Lake Okeechobee is in the books. It wasn't the tournament I had hoped for but I squeaked out of there with a small $4,000 check. The first day of the tournament was just one of those days where if it could go wrong, it did. At takeoff I had an issue with my hot foot and had to come back in to get it fixed and lost the only two decent bites I had in the event. Although I had some issues, at this level you need to be able to overcome those things and still catch them. Tharp had the same problem with the hot foot and still managed to whack `em and finish in the top five.
I had caught some decent fish offshore in the submerged grass in practice but I was too stubborn to fish for those fish and ended up trying to flip my way into a top 10. It was one of those events where I just made the wrong decision at the wrong time. After the event I stayed around Florida for a couple of days to fish and work the FLW Expo at Walmart. Since my last blog I have been fortunate to land a sponsor deal with Keystone Light which helps a lot. I was surprised to have the opportunity to represent a large non-endemic sponsor this early in my career and definitely appreciate all the people behind the scenes who had confidence in me that I would be a good representative for the company.
I'm going to head to Hartwell next for a couple of days of prepractice before it goes off limits. It's a giant lake and a few extra days on the water is valuable. From there I have a pretty full schedule with guide trips on Lake Guntersville and attending the Classic in Birmingham. I'll be working booths for Rat-L-Trap, Duckett Fishing and making appearances for Keystone Light.
I am excited to get back home after Hartwell. It will be the first day I've been home this year and there is nothing like sleeping in your own bed! Somewhere I have to find time to spend with my girlfriend Lindsey for Valentine's Day and celebrate her birthday. Luckily she is great about celebrating things a week early or a week late. Fishing for a living is probably one of the most rewarding professions out there but there are definitely a lot of sacrifices along the way and having someone by your side that understands that makes chasing your dream that much easier.
As most of you know the Circuit Breaker series will be following two new anglers this year and looking back on my time doing the videos last year it was pretty cool and can't wait to see the first episode of season two. It will be interesting to see how different anglers approach different situations throughout the year. I am glad that FLW recognized the need to bring the series back for another year. I've met some great friends because of it. There's nothing like it in terms of showing the behind the scenes of what anglers face at each event.
I really like my new Ranger Z520c with the new Evinrude E-TEC. After spending a number of hours behind the wheel I can't believe how well it rides and how fast it is. My next event is Lake Hartwell the first week of March followed by the Rayovac FLW Series on Santee Cooper, both in South Carolina. The next couple months are going to be extremely hectic but I look forward to getting on the water and competing.
Until next time, Casey.