Major League Fishing pro Aaron Martens

DENTON, Tex. Each round of any Jack Link’s Major League Fishing event can be about survival. What we’ve seen thus far in the 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup in Denton, Texas, is that excelling was about the big bite, and surviving has been a nail biter.

Elimination Day Three turned out to be all about nail biting.

While Ray Roberts Lake had proven to be less than generous with giving up bass the first two days, day three was a little worse. The great thing about any bass fishing event is that there will always be a winner, even if that person is the only one to catch a bass.

In MLF, the result at the end of an Elimination Day is that four anglers move on and the rest go home. Elimination Day Three ended up being a very tight race for three of the four qualifiers.

Because the most compelling story part of Day Three was the battle for second through fourth place, let’s just get the business of naming the winner of the final day of Elimination out of the way. Aaron Martens did what he does best, picked up a finesse worm and went to catching fish faster and more frequently than anyone else on the day’s roster.

A master of light line fishing, Martens used his trademark spinning rod to put 13 keepers on the leaderboard to finish the day with 15 pounds, 12 ounces. Not that his day was over early, Martens was grinding out bites throughout the day, moving between areas both deep and shallow.

The real drama happened between the anglers that finished in second through fourth place. Until about 30 minutes remained in the day, there were four anglers battling for three positions. The total weight difference between second place finisher Brent Ehrler and fourth place finisher Dean Rojas was only 14 ounces. Sandwiched between them was Randy Howell, who managed to finish three ounces ahead of Rojas.

Ehrler managed to junk fish his way to 11 pounds, 15 ounces while Howell was able to focus in on a pair of productive patterns to weigh 11 pounds, 4 ounces, and Rojas dinked and dunked with a finesse worm long enough to slide ahead of Denny Brauer into fourth place with 11 pounds, 1 ounce.

Brauer was the lone angler who found success in the back of Wolf Creek, and while he was neck and neck with Rojas with 30 minutes left in the day, he could not produce another keeper. Brauer ended the day with 9 pounds, 8 ounces. Bobby Lane finished sixth with a total of 6 pounds, Takahiro Omori finished seventh with 4 pounds, 8 ounces and Ish Monroe finished last.

Ray Roberts has been less than hospitable, but you never know what twist Major League Fishing officials have in store for the competitors in the Sudden Death Semifinal Rounds. Tune in to the Outdoor Channel on Saturday, April 26, to watch the Sudden Death Semifinal Day One and see who moves on to the Championship Round of Jack Links Major League Fishing 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup.

2014 Challenge Cup: Elimination Day Three Final Standings

AnglerWeight (lbs)Total FishAvg. Weight (lbs)Biggest Fish (lbs)Last Fish (lbs)
Aaron Martens15 lb 12 oz131 lb 03 oz2 lb 03 oz0 lb 12 oz
Brent Ehrler11 lb 15 oz120 lb 16 oz1 lb 11 oz1 lb 05 oz
Randy Howell11 lb 04 oz101 lb 02 oz1 lb 10 oz1 lb 08 oz
Dean Rojas11 lb 01 oz81 lb 06 oz2 lb 09 oz1 lb 02 oz
Top four anglers advance, bottom four are eliminated
Denny Brauer9 lb 08 oz61 lb 09 oz2 lb 08 oz1 lb 12 oz
Bobby Lane6 lb 00 oz51 lb 03 oz1 lb 11 oz1 lb 02 oz
Takahiro Omori4 lb 06 oz41 lb 02 oz1 lb 06 oz0 lb 13 oz
Ish Monroe0 lb 00 oz00 lb 00 oz0 lb 00 oz0 lb 00 oz