Sometimes an AOY season can sneak up on us. Scott Martin did the opposite of that – he declared prior to the season that he had his eye on the title and went out and got the job done. He didn’t lead the whole season, but he was never far enough out to discount, and he was always a threat to finish strong at the Potomac.
The season started in sunny Florida on Lake Toho. Though it isn’t even 100 miles north of Okeechobee, the Kissimmee Chain hasn’t treated Martin kindly in the past, yet he emerged from Toho with a satisfying 44th-place finish and a $10,000 check.
Next up was Lewis Smith Lake. Instead of pursuing some other long-shot pattern that might have held a chance to win, Martin played to his strengths and bed-fished nearly the entire time.
His bedding-bass program resulted in a four-day catch of 60-12, enough to truly be in the hunt to win if Smith hadn’t fished so well across the board in 2015.
On the final day at Smith Lake Martin started the day with a drop-shot, but soon swapped over to his dependable bedding pattern. Even though he was running new water, he was still catching fish.
Martin caught big spotted bass and big largemouth off beds on Smith. In the end, Martin was just one more big bite shy of competing for second place, as Dave Lefebre charged to the win on the final day.
Next stop was Beaver Lake – another diverse reservoir with rapidly changing weather and a strong spawning pattern. Over the years, Martin has taken some hits from Beaver, but the last few stops there have been very good to him.
Just like at Smith, Martin played to his strengths and exploited bedding bass for the duration of the tournament. It paid off and he left Beaver with a 16th-place finish and a definite stake in the AOY hunt.
Scott Martin eats chips and talks shop with Jacob Wheeler during weigh-in on day two of the Tour event at Eufaula. When it was all said and done on day two, Wheeler found himself in 27th and Martin had made the cut to fish on day three.
On day three at Eufaula Martin caught a limit for 11-7 and finished 11th with 43-15 total. It was his third top 20 on the season and also the first tournament of the year where he didn’t catch a bedding bass.
Hammer time! Martin sets into something on Lake Chickamauga. Just like he did at Eufaula, the Florida pro mixed shallow and deep patterns for another high finish.
Bryan Thrift, Scott Martin and Cody Meyer make a pretty formidable trio – the fish under them hardly stand a chance! Though Martin had a lot of his shallow stuff to himself on Chick, he effectively shared water with others offshore.
Time to cull. In the end, Martin culled his way up to 15th at Chickamauga and went into the final event at the Potomac in third place for the AOY behind Bryan Thrift and John Cox.
While Thrift and Cox faltered at the Potomac River, Martin hammered it home for the AOY title. He ducked and dodged through profuse shallow cover all week and came away with a total weight of 52-9 and a sixth-place finish at the site of his last Tour victory.
It’s over! Martin holds the Angler of the Year trophy high surrounded by his wife, Suzanne, and his legendary parents. Calling your shot is incredibly rare, but it sure worked out for Martin. Next up – trying to be the first to win the Forrest Wood Cup twice.