UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Okeechobee


Using Google Earth to Scout New Lakes

Scott Martin

Google Earth is one of FLW Tour pro Scott Martin’s go-to tools for scouting new tournament fisheries. The former FLW Cup champion and FLW Tour Angler of the Year relies on the satellite imagery before and during practice and competition days for everything from getting a “big picture” feel of a lake to locating specific grass beds, docks and laydowns to fish.

Martin doesn’t follow a strict step-by-step process for tournament preparation, but his advice for incorporating Google Earth into his pre-tournament program can help any angler who’s preparing for a new fishery or an old one at a new time of year. Here are three ways he uses it.


1. Get the big picture, start faster

One of the biggest advantages of Google Earth, and the way Martin uses it to begin his research, is to learn about the overall basic features of a lake. It’s like putting a set of eyes on the fishery, without actually having to be there.

“For me the advantage of going through satellite imagery, especially on a lake I haven’t been to ever or not in a while, is when I fly around on my computer and I look at the shoreline and I look at trees and docks and bridges, I’m seeing it with my own eyes. When I get there two weeks later or a week later or whenever, I feel like I just recently was there,” Martin says. “That first day of practice, if you don’t do those things beforehand, when you launch your boat you’re kind of lost. When you drive around you’re taking it all in for the first time, versus focusing on where the fish are. I already know where there are docks or rocks, where the bank is steep or shallow.”


2. Match tournament history with satellite research

Martin’s tournament prep always begins with some exploration into tournament history to get an idea of what kind of weight will be needed to win, techniques and baits that worked in the past, and the types of patterns that are in play for the time of year he’ll be fishing. He also looks for information about lake conditions during those previous events.

Once he’s gotten his general overview of the fishery using Google Earth, Martin starts scouting for areas that fit what he learned from past tournament results.

“I look at past water levels on Google Earth going back through previous years,” he says. “I’m seeing where they might have had a drought or flood. I can then see what areas stay dirty or clean. And I can see how the water moves – the current. That gives me a really good feel for how things migrate through that lake.” 

He’s just careful not to get too focused on one area, and to keep an open mind once he actually gets started on the water.

“I don’t want to make my mind up on a whole lot of anything,” Martin says. “I’m looking for generalities – water levels, clarity – to just get a feel for a lake.

“Then when it’s time for me to get on the water, I really ride around a lot. I spot-fish; a little bit here, and a little bit there. I don’t want to stay in an area too long even if I like it.”


3. Locate specific target areas

Once Martin has uncovered a productive area or a pattern – whether in practice or the tournament – he’ll use Google Earth to expand on it or eliminate unproductive water. It increases his efficiency.

He might use it to scout other nearby or similar creeks to see what’s there, or to locate more of the types of structure and cover he’s learned hold fish from his on-the-water practice. Or he might study the way current flows through a system to see which of his spots are most likely to be blown out during a heavy rain.

“I dive further in and look for irregularities that might not have even been on a map of any sort,” he says. “At La Crosse [in 2017] I’d say half of the fish I caught came off two wing dams that I had no idea were even there until at the [rules] meeting, when I was looking at my phone to see how to navigate to where I wanted to go. I zoomed in and saw two wing dams that were underwater because the water was lower in the photo. I literally fished right beside them [in practice] and didn’t even see them.

“Throughout the Cumberland tournament [in 2017] when I won, I went home every night and fell asleep with my computer open,” Martin recalls. “I was looking for the right kind of bank. It let me eliminate water quickly.”

Martin has also used Google Earth to bail him out. At a tournament on Lake Dardanelle, after two tough days of fishing, Martin knew he needed to fish new water. Using the satellite images, he located a backwater two pools away on the Arkansas River, in an area about as far from takeoff as he could get, and a bank littered with laydowns. Martin ran all the way there, fished the laydowns and earned $10,000. That kind of gamble might not have paid off had he run down there not knowing a good starting point, or had he not been using Google Earth as an extra set of eyes on the fishery.

Tags: pro-tips-weekly  curtis-niedermier  article 


Pro Tip: How Wes Logan Ties a Jig

Wes Logan is particular about his jigs. So particular that he pours his own heads and ties his own skirts. Logan’s tying method keeps the skirt from slipping down or spinning around – a pet peeve of his. Some folks do the same with wire, but Logan prefers using light braided line. READ MORE »


Beight Rings in Marshal Program in Big Way

Timmy Beight won the FLW Tour Sam Rayburn Marshal prize after marshaling for Jordan Osborne and Terry Bolton. READ MORE »


Day 4 on Sam Rayburn Postponed

FLW officials have postponed the final day of the FLW Tour opener presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. The top 10 anglers slated to finish the event Sunday will instead fish Monday to close out the tournament. READ MORE »


Evinrude Extends FLW Sponsorship

FLW announced today a sponsorship renewal with Evinrude for the 2019 season, marking the 18th year the brands have aligned. The agreement ensures that Evinrude and its premier lineup of outboard engines will be showcased across all FLW tournament circuits and through exclusive digital content as well as remaining the official outboard sponsor of FLW. READ MORE »


FLW Welcomes New Live Show Hosts

FLW has made three additions to the FLW Live coverage team for the 2019 FLW Tour season. Veteran FLW Tour pros Peter Thliveros and Todd Hollowell, as well as internet talk show personality Matt Pangrac are joining the team. READ MORE »


Top 10 Baits from Lake Amistad

Wintertime bass fishing tactics dominated at Lake Amistad in January, as the top finishers relied on jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, swimbaits and umbrella rigs to get the job done. READ MORE »


OSU Bass Team Alumni Battling Cancer

Former YETI FLW College Fishing competitor Max Kitzmiller was recently diagnosed with stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Kitzmiller attended Oregon State University where he was a member of the bass fishing team. READ MORE »


Perfect Weather Now on Tap in Texas

Amistad is one of south Texas’ most famous reservoirs – the other being Falcon. Though it’s not the juggernaut that it was in the not too distant past, Amistad is still an incredible tournament fishery, with room to spread out and plenty of grass and rocky structure to target for big giant wintertime bass. READ MORE »


Day 1 Canceled at Amistad

Unsafe weather conditions forced Costa FLW Series tournament officials to cancel day one of the Lake Amistad tournament in Del Rio, Texas READ MORE »


2019 Rookie Rundown

No matter how you get to the FLW Tour, you’re only a rookie once. This year, 34 pros are taking their talents on Tour for the first time. READ MORE »


Sam Rayburn on YouTube



Looking Back at 2018

Before everyone fully transitions into the 2019 season, we wanted to take a quick walk back through some of the highlights of 2018. It was a long, exciting and eventful year that included record-breaking performances, tragedy, career-making wins and a lot of change that will impact our industry for the foreseeable future. READ MORE »


Big Bass Expected at Opener on Amistad

Lake Amistad might not kick out quite as many massive stringers of largemouth bass as it used to, but the legendary south Texas border reservoir is still a factory for big fish. According to local guide and always tournament favorite Ray “Hanselmania” Hanselman, there are some real giants to be caught at Amistad, but they’ll be at a premium when the Costa FLW Series Southwestern Division rolls into Del Rio to kick off the 2019 season on Jan. 3 READ MORE »


Marshal Field Full for Opener at Rayburn

The FLW Tour Marshal field is full for the first bass-fishing tournament of 2019 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas. READ MORE »


2019 FLW Tour Predictions

There are a lot of unknowns at the beginning of every FLW Tour season, but this year is special. With 34 rookies and an absolutely killer slate of big-fish lakes, a lot could happen. We gathered together some FLW staff and Tour pros to crank out a few predictions for the season. Some of them are pretty straightforward. Others are a little more out there… READ MORE »


Time is Running Out to Star in YouTube Series

Each episode will document life as an angler that is just starting out in the sport of tournament bass fishing. It will allow fans to experience firsthand what life as a student angler is really like and feel both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as it happens to the young anglers competing in the YETI FLW College Fishing and Bass Pro Shops FLW High School Fishing Open circuits. A new angler or team will be featured in each episode. READ MORE »


How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

Some of the best fishing of the year in the South occurs on the reservoirs with spotted bass in Georgia and the Carolinas. As a guide on Lake Lanier, FLW Tour pro Rob Jordan is adept at staying on the spots all winter. He knows when to fish deep or go shallow, and how to apply a jigging spoon, jig, underspin and crankbait to take full advantage of the opportunities. READ MORE »


Rookie Profile: Ron Nelson  

While plenty of the Tour’s new pros have impressive resumes, few boast records as well-rounded and superlative as Ron Nelson’s. After years of success at the Costa FLW Series level, it’s finally time to see what the Michigan angler can do against the best in the nation.   READ MORE »


Young Healed, Ready for Another Shot

You could say Young has the right attitude to survive the ups and downs of the pro fishing circuit, and if the 2019 season turns out to be his best so far, like it’s shaping up to be, a positive state of mind might be the biggest reason why. READ MORE »


How to Fish Umbrella Rigs for Bass

Castable umbrella rigs, also called Alabama rigs or A-rigs, were first deployed in tournament bass fishing by Paul Elias in the 2011 FLW Tour Open on Lake Guntersville. Since then, they’ve garnered a lot of controversy and caught a lot of bass. READ MORE »