Mercury pro Martens locks up second Angler of the Year title
Aug 26, 2013
Throughout his 15-year career on the B.A.S.S. tournament trail, Mercury pro Aaron Martens has earned the nickname “The Natural” for his innate ability to catch fish. After the final Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2013 season – on Michigan’s Lake St. Clair – he might have changed his nickname to “The Comeback Kid.”
Martens of Leeds, Ala., locked up the 2013 Angler of the Year title in dramatic fashion over the weekend after overtaking fellow Mercury pro Edwin Evers on the second-to-last day of the season – Day 2 of the event on Lake St. Clair. Evers finished second in the 2013 AOY standings, and Kevin VanDam, also sponsored by Mercury Marine, finished third.
Martens started the 2013 B.A.S.S. AOY race 85th at the Elite Series kickoff in February on Texas’ Sabine River system. He rebounded from that performance – his lowest tournament finish since 2009 – by racking up four top-10 finishes in the final nine tournaments of the season and slashing a 30-point lead by Evers over the first three days of the St. Clair tournament.
Martens claimed the AOY lead on the first day of the final tournament when he weighed in 21.14 pounds for third place, and never relinquished the AOY lead as he dropped 19.9 and 20.11 pounds of Lake Erie smallmouth on the scale on days two and three.
“It’s unbelievable – that’s a good word for it,” said Martens, who also won the AOY title in 2004. “I worked hard after starting the year like I did. I guess maybe bombing in the first tournament like I did (in Texas) allowed me to just fish, and to concentrate on fishing.”
Martens’ last three events of the 2013 season – on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin, the St. Lawrence River in New York, and Lake St. Clair in southern Michigan – put his Mercury OptiMax to the test. Those three tournaments called for long, demanding runs up the Mississippi, St. Lawrence and Detroit River systems, and dozens of hours with his 250 OptiMax Pro XS pushing his 21-foot Phoenix across the rugged waters of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.
Martens finished second on the Mississippi and fifth on the St. Lawrence before securing his second AOY by virtue of his performance on the tumultuous Detroit River and Lake Erie in the St. Clair Elite.
“This motor has run phenomenal,” Martens said. “I’m running 75 mph downriver and 72 upriver. It’s performed really well. The fuel efficiency of this motor is unbelievable. I was getting five, sometimes six miles per gallon at slower speeds, and I can cruise at 55, 60 and get 4.6 miles to the gallon. I know that Mercury is known for being the best on fuel, but the motor I’m running this year helped get me Angler of the Year.”