UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

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 

Nixon Eyeing Early June Return

Nixon Eyeing Early June Return

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10 Pro Circuit Highlights So Far

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Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Sight-Fishing with Swimbaits

Ron Nelson, the Pro Circuit Angler of the Year leader and a renowned sight-fisherman, used a Keitech Swing Impact FAT for blind-fishing and sight-fishing at Martin and earned a runner-up finish. California’s Kevin Hugo took seventh at Lake Havasu and caught some of his biggest bass sight-fishing with a Little Creeper All American Trash Fish or Sunfish. Though the reasons why they settled on swimbaits varied, both pros can offer valuable lessons for any angler tackling a spawning scenario. READ MORE »

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

Vlog: Becker's 3 Patterns from Martin

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Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Martin

Spotted bass dominated the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on Lake Martin, but they didn’t win it. Sure, the sheer abundance of spotted bass in Martin left most pros’ thumbs bloody and raw from catching so many fish. Yet, it was the key largemouth that really separated the field, and what helped Jason Abram earn his first victory. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

Top 10 Baits from Lake Martin

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Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Top 10 Baits and Patterns from Havasu

Results from the Toyota Series Western Division event at Lake Havasu probably didn’t surprise any Western anglers who are familiar with the fishery. For folks in other parts of the country that might only have followed FLW’s early February events on the Colorado River reservoir, the tournament results might have opened some eyes to just how good the fishing can be on Havasu. Particularly on day one, the lake delivered, kicking out 12 limits of more than 20 pounds, including Tai Au’s limit of 26 pounds, 1 ounce. The success on day one resulted from a perfect storm of conditions for catching spawning bass on beds.  READ MORE »

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

Top Patterns and Baits from Okeechobee

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Co-angler Farage Gets Win No. 5

Co-angler Farage Gets Win No. 5

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Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Au Finishes Strong at Lake Havasu

Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., weighed in a five-bass limit worth 16 pounds, 15 ounces today to finish off a wire-to-wire win at the Toyota Series Western Division season opener on Lake Havasu. Au’s three-day total was 61-3.  READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 3

It was another slow morning on Lake Havasu at the Toyota Series Western Division opener. Though, that was to be expected. Most of the top 10 pros have had their best luck in the middle of the day and early afternoon. Mornings have been tough. READ MORE »

Au Stays Ahead on Tougher Day Two

Au Stays Ahead on Tougher Day Two

Tournament leader Tai Au managed to stay in first place by recognizing key environmental factors and knowing when to change up his baits. Yesterday, four of the five bass that Au weighed in were bass he caught sight-fishing. Today, he didn’t look at any of the bass he brought to the scale. Au still managed to weigh in 18 pounds, 3 ounces, taking his two-day total to 44-4. He’s searching for his first FLW victory this week.  READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 2

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 2

After an afternoon and evening of intense rainfall yesterday, the Lake Havasu City area finally got a break from the precipitation today. But instead of rain, the anglers fishing the Toyota Series Western Division opener on Lake Havasu have had to deal with a stiff southerly wind that’s made it tough to sight-fish, some dirtier water in areas (particularly in the upper end) and a drop in water temperature of a couple of degrees. Not surprisingly of a post-frontal day, the fishing has been much more difficult so far on Friday.  READ MORE »

Au Clobbers 26-1 for Havasu Lead

Au Clobbers 26-1 for Havasu Lead

Tai Au of Glendale, Ariz., took the lead on day one of the Toyota Series Western Division event at Lake Havasu with a five-bass limit that weighed 26 pounds, 1 ounce. Au heads up a roster of Western hammers that managed to tally 12 limits of more than 20 pounds today.  READ MORE »

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 1

Lake Havasu Midday Update – Day 1

The fishing is hot at Lake Havasu. By 9:30, many of the anglers we’d seen on the water for day one of the Toyota Series Western Division season opener already had limits or had kicker largemouths in the box. Most of those fish were caught off beds, with the majority being caught sight-fishing and the rest coming just by fishing through likely spawning areas. Others were caught out in front of spawning areas and around marinas. The fishing should only get better, too. Currently, there are scattered rain showers, but the sun is shining across many parts of the reservoir, making it a little easier to spot fish on beds.  READ MORE »

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

Two Species Spawning at Havasu 

The weatherman did it again. About two weeks prior to today’s kickoff for the Toyota Series Western Division season at Lake Havasu, the forecast called for highs in the mid-80s and sunshine for three straight days during the tournament. Instead, practice was rainy, and the current forecast calls for precipitation for at least the first two days and highs that likely won’t top 70 degrees.  READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

Top 10 Baits from Hartwell

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Top 10 Patterns from Hartwell

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Early March on Lake Hartwell can be feast or famine. The bite often depends on weather patterns, as both largemouth and spotted bass are staging before the spawn. MLF Bass Pro Tour pro Marty Robinson pulled off a wire-to-wire win, but the victory wasn’t easy. The final field of 10 contained a lot of local knowledge and experienced anglers who were ready to knock Robinson off should he falter. Here’s a look at how the rest of the top 10 caught their fish and earned their paychecks. READ MORE »

Wheeler Should Produce Mega Mixed Bags in March

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College Open Prize Pool Bigger than Ever

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The annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open returns to Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley in mid-March for the sixth consecutive season. This time around, however, the stakes are even higher, as teams compete for a brand-new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat, 20 spots in the 2021 National Championship and 20 spots in the all-new Major League Fishing College Faceoff presented by Wiley X in Raleigh, N.C., later this spring. READ MORE »