UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Lake Mead

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Martin finally gets Guntersville glory

Co-angler champion Casey Martin holds up his two biggest bass from day three on Lake Guntersville.

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. - Although he grew up on the Canadian border, Casey Martin has fully acclimated to the south. After college he first moved to St. Louis for work, but that didn't quite cut it. So in 2007 he went further south in searcher of warmer temperatures and bigger bass - this time stopping in northern Alabama. Along the way, he fell in love with Lake Guntersville.

Although Guntersville has fully captured his attention, Martin described it as a love-hate relationship. Several times over the course of his young career, Martin has led tournaments on Guntersville going into the final day only to falter when it mattered most. But last month on New York's Lake Champlain, Martin erased most of that memory by winning his first Walmart FLW Tour event.

For winning the FLW Tour event on Lake Guntersville, co-angler Casey Martin earned $20,000.But even after taking home the title and $20,000, he wasn't 100 percent satisfied. In the back of his mind, he knew he had one more crack at Guntersville coming up. And he intended to make the most of it.

Early this week, the 30-year-old caught most of his fish either flipping or swimming an Omega jig. But on the tournament's final day, Martin was paired with pro leader Paul Elias, who was using an Alabama rig out deep.

If Elias was fishing a precise spot, Martin would be in trouble. But if the whole area was productive, it was a prime opportunity. The latter turned out to be the case as Martin caught an impressive limit weighing 20 pounds, 9 ounces.

"I have to thank Benny Roberts, a fellow co-angler," Martin said. "He had two Alabama rigs and he gave me one and that's what I caught all my fish on today."

Martin would tip the A-rig with 5-inch Basstrix swimbaits threaded on 3/8-ounce Omega jigheads. As the day wore on, the bass moved deeper and he switched to 3/4-ounce jigs.

"The thing people don't realize is that these are suspending fish. So the key was the weight on the jig. It wasn't like you could just let it drop and start reeling. But if you got the countdown just right, they would absolutely annihilate it."

With two fish in the boat at 9:30 a.m., Martin hung up his one and only A-rig. But Elias was kind enough to troll over to the spot to free him.

Other than that, the day was about as stress free as possible.

"At about 11 a.m. Paul went to his second spot. He caught a 6-pounder right away and on my first cast Co-angler Casey Martin shows off a winning fish.I had three fish on at one time. I caught two 3-pounders and I had one that ripped off the swimbait and the swivel.

"I caught my last keeper at 12:30 or 1 p.m. and I figured I had about 20 pounds. So I just put my rod down because I didn't want to hurt Paul's chances at winning."

For his second win in as many tournaments, Martin earned another $20,000. With a total weight of 47 pounds, 6 ounces, his margin of victory was a staggering 15 pounds.

"I've never won on this lake and I've had a lot of bad moments on this parking lot; there was a lot of money left on the table. But this feels great. If Champlain wasn't vengeance, this is true vengeance."

Martin's season isn't quite over as he heads to Kentucky Lake next week for the EverStart Series Championship where he'll fish as a pro. And he's already placed an overnight order for more Alabama rigs.

Martin also qualified for the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup as the co-angler points champion from the four Opens.

Marsh sacks 19-8 for second

Second-place co-angler Marc Marsh holds up part of his 19-pound, 8-ounce stringer.Marc Marsh spoke with his day-four pro partner Luke Clausen Friday night and Clausen told Marsh to obtain an Alabama rig if at all possible. It took some phone calls and a meeting on the side of the highway, but the Prosperity, S.C., native was able to secure one.

Marsh was glad he did as hours later he was experiencing one of the best fishing days of his life. His five-bass limit Saturday weighed 19 pounds, 8 ounces - including a 6 1/2-pounder. That stringer rallied Marsh from 18th to second. Consider that after the first day of competition, he was sitting in 56th place.

"It's unbelievable," he said. "That's why you never gave up."

Marsh fished the A-rig, which he tipped with Yum Money swimbaits, on the outside edges of grass. He and Clausen started the day shallow and progressively fished deeper - his big kicker coming out of 12 feet of water.

For a total weight of 32 pounds, 6 ounces, Marsh earned $7,291.

Due rises to third
Third-place co-angler Ben Due holds up his kicker from day three on Lake Guntersville.
Wisconsin fisherman Ben Due caught a nice limit Saturday that weighed 18 pounds, 13 ounces and rose from 17th to third. Due finished the tournament with a total weight of 31 pounds, 13 ounces.

His first FLW Tour top-10 finish earned him $4,857.

Horton, Yelverton round out top five

Fourth place and $4,134 went to day-one leader Mark Horton of Nicholasville, Ky., with a combined weight of 31 pounds, 11 ounces. Horton's day-three catch of five bass weighed 11 pounds, 11 ounces.

Will Yelverton of Hazel Green, Ala., finished fifth with a three-day total of 31 pounds, 7 ounces. His five-bass limit Saturday weighed 17 pounds, 2 ounces - moving him up from 13th place. He earned $2,911.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler finishers at Lake Guntersville:

6th: Cory Leonard of Castalia, N.C., 30-10, $2,424
7th: Benny Roberts of Jacksboro, Tenn., 30-8, $1,937
8th: Tripp Pittman of Holy Springs, Miss., 29-13, $1,743
9th: Chad Billiot of Raceland, La., 29-3, $1,895
10th: Charlie Evans of Gilbertsville, Ky., 28-8, $1,548

Tags: brett-carlson  co-angler-headline  2011-10-20-lake-guntersville 

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