Martin Earns First AOY Title - Major League Fishing

Martin Earns First AOY Title

Five top-20 finishes seal the deal
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June 30, 2015 • Jody White • Archives

Prior to the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season, Scott Martin had banked a total of three top-10 Angler of the Year finishes in his 15-year career as a pro. It was impressive, but not indicative of his greatness. The truth of the matter is that Scott Martin was a winner, always taking risks in search of equal reward. That risky fishing has led Martin to more than $2 million in earnings, a Forrest Wood Cup win and four Tour-level wins. But the gambles burned him often enough that he never earned AOY.

This year, Martin set out to fish more consistently in hopes of winning the $100,000 AOY award, and his plan succeeded admirably. With five top-20 finishes and 1,110 points (through the third day of competition on the Potomac), he seized the title as Bryan Thrift and John Cox, who came into the tournament in first and second, respectively, stumbled at the finish line.

Martin’s run for AOY began in March at Lake Toho. He went into the event favored for his Florida knowledge and grass-fishing prowess but didn’t come through. Martin ended up flipping and throwing a swimbait for spawning bass on Lake Kissimmee and finished 44th.

The next two events played right into Martin’s hands, as both were dominated by spawning bass – fish that Martin is highly skilled at catching. As a result, the Florida pro banked a fifth-place finish on Lewis Smith Lake and followed that up with a 16th-place showing at Beaver Lake.

“Back in the fall Bill Taylor and I and some others were up in Canada on a houseboat, and he asked me what I thought of the schedule,” recalls Martin. “I told him I wanted to win at Smith Lake, and he kinda laughed at that. I didn’t win, but that was my best finish of the year, and it was a tough one for me.”

Pro Scott Martin wrestles one to the boat on day one of  the FLW Tour on Lewis Smith Lake.

As summer wore on, Martin tapped offshore brush for 11th at Eufaula. At Chickamauga, he showed off some of his impressive versatility and finished 15th by starting the mornings shallow with a topwater and a worm before moving offshore with traditional ledge baits in the afternoon.

It all set up for a showdown at the Potomac, the site of Martin’s last Tour win in 2012. Trailing only Thrift and Cox, Martin needed his competition to fall back, but he needed to finish high on his own for that to even matter.

Catching 40 pounds, 14 ounces over three days did the trick, as Martin sailed through the top-10 cut and locked up the AOY title on the third day of the event.

“There are so many key moments in the season that I can look back on, but the most recent happened yesterday,” says Martin. “I had about 11 pounds, and I needed another few pounds to make the [top-20] cut. On the spur of the moment I ran into one creek and threw a swim jig to where I had shook one off in practice. I caught about a 3 1/2-pounder, and that one fish took me from outside the cut to winning the AOY.

“I set out this year with a determination to win the AOY, and I did it,” gushes Martin. “I don’t think it’s sunk in yet to be honest. I was so stressed, but I’m not stressed anymore. I could bust out crying at any moment. I’ve worked hard for 15 years, and we, my family and I, finally did it.”