UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Clear Lake

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River

Cup Top 10: Martin went up the River
Scott Martin

Prior to practice, Scott Martin had no idea that the far upper end of Lake Hamilton, where the cold waters from the bottom of Lake Ouachita flow in through Blakely Mountain Dam, was such a drastically different mini-fishery within the reservoir. Then he started scouting it in practice and realized there was potential to win the tournament in the tailrace in areas where the water temperature was below 60 degrees.

In fact, the tailrace held enough quality bass that Martin and Dakota Ebare were able to share water and still finish in the top five. Martin weighed in daily limits of 11-9, 11-1 and 8-8 for a three-day, fifth-place total weight of 31-2.

“My vision of winning this tournament was being patient, and just being calm, and one-two punching it all day long,” says Martin. “I felt like I was going to have five opportunities every day to put me in a chance to win. That’s basically what happened.

“Patience was the key because these fish didn’t bite all day long. There were several factors up that river. One is the current didn’t start rolling until about 10 o’clock. Two, when the current didn’t roll, the current went the other way and it was hot. Then, when the current would turn on, the water temperature dropped to 58 degrees. These fish were going through these crazy temperature swings and two different currents. There were little windows of opportunity to really take advantage of.”

Scott Martin

The one-two punch that Martin referred to was combining finesse worms with glide baits to pick apart high-percentage target areas.

“I had a spinning rod in my hand all week, skipping a Googan Baits Slim Shake on a weightless hook,” says Martin. “I would mix it up a little bit. When the current would get strong I’d put a little weighted wacky on as well. It was kind of the same thing as Dakota was fishing – little current breaks and seams.”

Martin also threw a Googan Baits Lunker Log. His primary finesse setup was a 10-pound-test P-Line Tactical Fluorocarbon leader connected to 15-pound-test yellow P-Line XTCB 8 Braid, which he fished on a 7-foot, 2-inch Favorite Jack Hammer spinning rod.

The key was skipping the bait far up under docks or into laydowns where the bass were holed up to get out of the current during the heaviest flow periods.

“Those fish would be way up under those docks where you wouldn’t think one would be, and your line would go tight,” says Martin. “Several of those fish I caught on 10-pound P-Line, I mean, I was worried that I wasn’t going to be able to get them out, but I could get them out through all those trees and the docks.”

Martin’s glide bait pattern was primarily focused on floating docks and on targeting wolf packs of bass. He says it was important to rotate baits each day because once the fish saw one glide bait, they weren’t as likely to react to it again. Martin used a Duel Hardcore Twitch’n Ninja Glider and River2Sea S-Waver 168, along with a custom bait he borrowed from Andrew Upshaw.

“They were staging under floating docks – certain ones, but not all of them – and I’d let the bait get down to about 2 feet, just out of sight a little bit,” Martin says. “Speed and cadence were important; finding the right cadence to get those fish to react. Otherwise, they’d just follow your bait the whole time. Also, playing the current. In certain places it’d be really, really strong. In other places there’d be little eddies or current breaks where the current wasn’t as strong. But for the most part what I was fishing was current breaks, inside grass lines, docks, wood.”

The only time Martin strayed from the tailrace was the morning on day two, when he spent about an hour throwing a buzzbait around docks. Otherwise, dialing in on a unique area of the lake worked.

Scott Martin

What’s interesting about the tailrace is that the fish weren’t hard to find. The water is clear enough that they could be easily seen. Some anglers wrote off that water from the start because they assumed there wouldn’t be quality bass hanging out in that cold, flowing water. Martin and Ebare were the exceptions. They realized the potential living in that coontail-infested, bluegill-rich water.

Getting the fish to bite meant not applying typical summertime tactics, but instead treating it almost like springtime.

“The water, for the most part, in a certain section up there pretty much stays 58 degrees all year long,” Martin says. “They would react to glide baits. They would react to finesse tackle and swimbaits and clear-water kinds of baits; not prespawn, but what you’d use a different time of year.

“If you come down the lake where it’s 90-degree water, they’re not going to touch a glide bait. You go up there throwing a prop bait and buzzbait, you don’t catch them. I think that’s why a lot of guys didn’t figure it out.”


Thrift's winning pattern 

Walters' second-place pattern 

Ebare's third-place pattern 

Lawyer's fourth-place pattern 

Felix's sixth-place pattern 

Webster's seventh-place pattern 

Salzman's eighth-place pattern 

Douglas's ninth-place pattern 

Osborne's tenth-place pattern 

Complete results

Tags: lake-hamilton  -flw-cup  -scott-martin  -glide-bait  -tailrace  curtis-niedermier  post-tournament  2019-08-09-flw-cup-lake-hamilton 

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

Top Patterns and Baits from the Detroit River

With the whole field boxed into the Detroit River for the first two days of the final Toyota Series Northern Division event, it’s natural that the main player was the river itself. But, on the final day, when folks could branch out, Scott Dobson actually ran to St. Clair and many of the other pros ventured into Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Dardanelle

Top Patterns and Baits from Dardanelle

The beginning of the fall transition coupled with dirty water from end to end created difficult fishing conditions at the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel, but anglers focused their attention to the backs of creeks and used a variety of baits to solve the riddle. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Kentucky Lake

Top Patterns and Baits from Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake has the potential to churn out some big bags – look no further than the 2019 Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, when 21 teams weighed in more than 20 pounds on day one alone – but the 2020 iteration wasn’t as friendly to the college anglers who took to her waters this week. Here’s the skinny on how the top 10 teams caught their fish this week and what they caught them with. READ MORE »

Mabelvale Boater Houchin Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Lake Hamilton

Mabelvale Boater Houchin Wins Two-Day Phoenix Bass Fishing League event on Lake Hamilton

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. Boater Quincy Houchin of Mabelvale, Arkansas, brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 23 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division Super-Tournament at Lake Hamilton. For his victory, Houchin earned $13,460, which includes the lucrative FLW PHOENIX... READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Top 10 Baits from the Potomac

Some of the top 10 pros chose a power approach to cover vast stretches of grass, while others slowed down with some of the finesse tactics that always seem to play on the Potomac. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Patterns from Fort Gibson

The beginning of September helped mark the start of the fall transition in the south and that is exactly what the field faced in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Fort Gibson. From topwaters to soft plastics, the top 10 utilized a large chunk of Fort Gibson to catch their fish, with the Grand River paying the biggest role in the division’s second stop of the season. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Neely Henry

Top 10 Patterns from Neely Henry

Mark McCaig won the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Neely Henry casting a SPRO Bronzeye Poppin' Frog under overhanging trees, pitching a  Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog docks and cranking current breaks with a square-bill crankbait. Behind him, the rest of the top 10 mostly fished shallow grass, docks, rocks and laydowns by pitching creature baits and casting buzzbaits, ChatterBaits, and shaky heads. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

Top 10 Baits from Fort Gibson

Low water and changing weather patterns meant tough fishing at for the second stop of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division at Fort Gibson. While day one brought in prime topwater conditions, days two and three generally saw anglers slogging it out for bass stuck somewhere amidst the fall transition. Fittingly, a few well-known baits are tailor-made for that kind of fishing—including a regional favorite named for the lake’s most legendary fisherman. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Neely Henry

Top 10 Baits from Neely Henry

With very little current being run through Neely Henry during the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event, offshore fishing was almost nil. Instead, most of the field had to survive fishing shallow shoreline cover like willow grass, docks, rip rap, laydowns and shade. Here is a look at the lures that helped score a top 10. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Top 10 Baits from Sturgeon Bay

Summertime smallmouth fishing makes having a drop-shot or two on the deck pretty essential, and the top pros in the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay basically all relied on the versatile finesse rig to get the job done. However, between them, there was a decent amount of variation in baits, and a few pros actually branched out from the drop-shot into other techniques. READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from the Cal Delta

Top Patterns and Baits from the Cal Delta

While a lot of things were different in the Toyota Series Western Division event on the California Delta – time of year, amount of time to fish and the odd haze from nearby wildfires – one thing remained the same: flipping, punching and frogging got the job done. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Erie presented anglers the opportunity to fish Erie or make a 100-mile run to Lake St. Clair. Pros found success doing both, with Justin Lucas taking home the crown by 1 ounce sticking it out on Erie. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

The overwhelming majority of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament field at Lake Erie was throwing a drop-shot, with a good portion of them using the same lure on it. Yet, there were a couple of oddballs who switched up their offerings to give them an edge. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from the Mississippi River

Top 10 Patterns from the Mississippi River

Instead of limits coming in bunches, the top pros were often scrambling to get five keeper bites a day at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries event. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

As promised, Wheeler Lake turned out to be the stingiest of the two stops on the Toyota Series Southeastern Division so far this season. The dog days of summer put the kibosh on the main-lake bite, leaving Wheeler’s many shallow creeks and tributaries to supply the pounds and ounces at weigh-in. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

The Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake was a shallow-water power-fishing showdown in tough summertime conditions. Almost all the fish the top 10 pros caught came from 5 feet of water or less, and a fair amount of those were caught in 3 feet or less. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

The top pros in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River ended up using fairly similar tactics to attack the river, but with slight variations throughout. Tom Monsoor won with a variety of unique jigs, but many of the other top finishers used more standard fare. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Lee Rogers mixed smallmouths from the nearby islands with a good largemouth day near Sandusky to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Outside of Rogers, the top 10 was filled with folks making substantial runs eastward or to Michigan. It also proved helpful to actually get something going around Sandusky, both during days one and two and on the wind-hampered final day. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie featured pretty tough fishing overall. On the first two days, many of the top pros ran to the Detroit River or St. Clair for their fish, and others plied the waters nearer Sandusky. On the final day, the entire field was confined to the waters in and around Sandusky Bay due to wind, and everyone switched to targeting largemouths. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

Top 10 Patterns from Chickamauga

When you put one of the largest and most talented fields of bass anglers on one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country, big things are bound to happen. The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga became a battle between shallow and deep, with pros on either side catching big stringers of giant bass. Here's how they did it. READ MORE »