April 3, 2014 by Casey Martin
Editor's Note: The writer's opinions and observations expressed here are his own, and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views, policies or positions of FLW.
As I write this, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Lufkin, Texas, getting ready to head over to the FLW Expo to work the Keystone Light booth while the Sam Rayburn tournament goes on without me. After a rough finish at Hartwell, where I managed a $4,000 check, I was hoping to turn things around on Sam Rayburn.
Practice was OK. There were no big bites, but I thought I could grind out 12 or 14 pounds a day and possibly contend for a good check. Rayburn is a giant lake and definitely tough to break down in three days of practice. In practice I pretty much caught everything on moving baits, just covering some prespawn and spawn stuff. The day of the tournament the wind blew and a front came shoving in, so I figured the moving baits would only get better. As usual, I was too stubborn to make any changes and just kept after it, rotating areas with moving baits even though I never came across anything. When it was all said and done, I ended up with 13 1/2 pounds for two days and wound up way down the leaderboard.
I really want to put Sam Rayburn behind me and focus on the upcoming events at Beaver, Pickwick and Kentucky lakes. Right now I'm way in the hole on points, and it's going to take a miracle to get into the top 35 in the Angler of the Year standings to make the Forrest Wood Cup. I've pretty much dug a hole that will be extremely difficult to climb out of.
This year has been tough so far, and at this level there's a fine line between finishing 35th and 135th in a tournament: One lost fish, a couple of bad decisions on where to start or waiting too long for fish to bite can mean the difference between a good finish and a bomb.
I've always been a gambler at heart and have never fished to get a limit and then go looking for big ones. I've always tried to fish for the biggest fish and hope to have five by the end of the day. For the poker players out there, it really comes down to knowing when to hold them and when to fold them. This year I have been trying to go all-in when I probably would have been better in some tournaments just folding the cards and starting from scratch.
I've been keeping extremely busy, and after this I head back to Guntersville for a couple of days of guiding before turning around and leaving Friday for Beaver Lake, where I work the Walmart pro day the Saturday prior to the practice.
Meanwhile, I don't know if you guys have watched the first episode of "Circuit Breaker" this year with JT Kenney and Chad Grigsby, but definitely check it out. It follows a very different format this year, but you get to see two veterans and how they travel compared to a rookie, which was me last year.
Actually the opening scene this year is pretty funny where JT mentions he isn't a fan of mine, saying: "I'm not a Casey Martin fan. He never did anything to me; I just don't like him."
OK. One thing I did notice about the new "Circuit Breaker" is there haven't been any on-the-water shots of fishing. I think a lot of guys want to see how these guys fish on a day-to-day basis too. At any rate, the documentary format that FLW has come up with is definitely something this sport needs. I love the way it gives fans a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and that it's not always big checks and holding up big fish on stage. There are a bunch of ups and downs in between, and as a fan of the sport, I look forward to watching many more of these episodes.
Moving on, although Rayburn is a great area, I'm looking forward to getting home for a couple days to see my girlfriend, Lindsey, who is my biggest supporter. Her dog Petie will be extremely happy to see me as well because I always sneak a Dingo treat or two from the Expo to take home to him. By the way, if you ever get a chance to attend one of the FLW Expos somewhere, go for it. They're fantastic. You get to meet a lot of the pros and also sample many of the products that FLW sponsors bring to each event. Just save some of the Dingo dog treats for Petie.
Until next time,