What I’m Fishing Now – Fall with Aaron Martens

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by Dan O’Sullivan

Aaron Martens Toledo Bend Largemouth – photo courtesy of Bass365

One of the best parts about fishing is figuring out the puzzle; putting the pieces together.

Each season, and in each area of the country, those puzzle pieces can be unique.  Whether you find yourself in the West or East coast, North or South, on a river, natural lake or reservoir, figuring out how the pieces fit together is the best part of this game.  Feeling or seeing the strike is confirmation of the quality of your mental Rolodex of fishing knowledge.

Professional anglers have seen it in every area of the country, and in a variety of situations.  So, we thought we’d ask them what they are fishing at this precise moment on their bodies of water.  Our first subject is Aaron Martens, the West Coast wiz who now calls Leeds, Ala. home.

Martens is known for his finesse skills, but he has won across the country, and an angler does not earn three Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles without being versatile.  We asked Martens what he would be doing right now if he were heading out onto the Coosa River near his Alabama home in the fall.

Martens said autumn is one of his favorite times to fish.  “I love fall fishing,” he said.  “I can usually catch them in a variety of ways, and when I find a school, I can catch a bunch in a hurry.

Picasso Sujian Head – This is a scrounger style head, and Martens is the angler most credited with their popularity.
Sizes and Colors – three sizes – 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4-ounce his favorite trailers are Zoom Tiny Flukes on the smaller sizes, and 4-inch Original Zoom Flukes and 3.5-inch Lunker City Fin-S Fish in baitfish imitating colors
Rods Reels and Line – Martens uses his Enigma Aaron’s Edge Rods, he uses a 7’ medium version on the lighter offering, and 7’ to 7’3” medium heavy models for the heavier models.  He pairs them with 8.5:1 Shimano Metanium reels filled with 12- 14 pound-test Sunline Shooter if the air temperature is above 50 degrees, and FC Sniper if it is below.

Where to Fish – Martens prefers to throw this lure around pinch points; areas where the lake necks down, such as bridges, creek channel bends and deeper flats and points near the main body.
Retrieve Styles – Martens said this is a great lure for retrieving along the bottom with a slow grind that allows it to bump bottom occasionally for a subtle bite.  He likes to snap, or stroke the lure and allow it to fall on a semi-slack line for aggressive fish, and it is excellent to burn through schooling fish near the surface.

Aaron Martens Duo Realis G87 15A – photo courtesy of True Image Promotions

Duo Realis G87 15A Crankbaitmartens said he likes a medium running crankbait to retrieve quickly to locate fish
Sizes and Colors – 3-1/3 – inch 1.25-ounce body – he prefers shad colors, translucent in clear water and opaque in stained water
Rods Reels and Line – 7’10” Enigma Aaron’s Edge Crankbait Rods matched with 8.5:1 Shimano Curado K 200 reels filled with 16-pound-test Sunline FC Sniper Fluorocarbon line.

Where to Fish – Martens likes this technique for locating and catching bass along main lake points, flats and brushbiles
Retrieve Styles – A steady, medium retrieve that allows it to bump bottom in 14 to 16 feet of water or a medium, stop and go retrieve for suspended fish is best.

Flutter Spoons – these are the larger sized, cupped spoons that wobble and flutter on the fall – hence the name
Sizes and Colors – He matches the size of the baitfish, preferring 4-inch and 6-inch models in chrome painted with baitfish finishes
Rods Reels and Line – 7’8” Enigma Aaron’s Edge Flippin’ Rod.  He pairs them with 8.5:1 Shimano Metanium reels filled with 16-pound-test Sunline FC Sniper Fluorocarbon Line

Where to Fish – He will fish these in similar areas to the crankbait, but when the fish are too deep for a crankbait, or they are lifted off the bottom.  He said it is important to see the fish on his Humminbird graphs.  “If I can pinpoint them before casting to them, it makes it easier to make the right retrieve,” he said.
Retrieve Styles –Snapping the lure and allowing it to fall on a semi-slack line is the best retrieve for these lures, although he also slowly retrieves it at depth at times.

Aaron Martens Big Smallmouth – photo courtesy of True Image Promotions

Homemade Football Jig – This is one he uses as a follow up to the crankbait and flutter spoon
Sizes and Colors – 1/2 and 3/4- ounce heads tied with green pumpkin and brown silicone with accent colors depending on the water color and crayfish colors.  He prefers a swimming style crawdad trailers
Rods Reels and Line – 7’ medium-heavy Enigma Aaron’s Edge Rods, He pairs them with 8.5:1 Shimano Metanium reels filled with 17-pound-test Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon or FC Sniper Fluorocarbon, depending on the air temperature

Where to Fish – Same banks, flats, points or brushpiles as crankbait and flutter spoons
Retrieve Styles – “Drag, shake, hop, but whatever you do, keep it in contact with the bottom”.

Picasso Rhino Shaking Head and Roboworm– This is his finesse application in the areas he throws the jig, crankbait and flutter spoons.
Sizes and Colors – 3/16 to 1/4-ounce sized heads with 6-inch slim Robo ST worms in Bold Bluegill, MMIII, Aaron’s Magic or Prizm Shad colors
Rods Reels and Line – 6’11” Enigma Aaron’s Edge Spinning Rods, size 2500 Shimano Stella spinning reels filled with 10-pound-test Sunline SX-1 braided line with ten feet of 8-pound-test Sunline Shooter Fluorocarbon or FC Sniper tied with an FG knot as a leader

Where to Fish – Same banks, flats, points or brushpiles as crankbait and flutter spoons
Retrieve Styles – “Be subtle, slowly drag it around the bottom, feel for structure and brushpiles, and work it through each inch of the cover as possible.

Aaron Martens Duo Realis Pencil – photo courtesy of True Image Promotions

Duo Realis Pencil 110 TopwaterHe has this lure ready for schooling fish.
Sizes and Colors
– 4-3/4-inch, 3/4- ounce lure, baitfish colors, translucent colors like Mirror Indigo and Violet Ghost for clear water, and Prism Shad and Prism Smelt for stained water
Rods Reels and Line – 7’ medium-heavy Enigma Aaron’s Edge Rods, He pairs them with 8.5:1 Shimano Metanium reels filled with 30-pound-test Sunline SX-1 braid and a four foot leader of 20-pound-test Shooter Fluorocarbon tied with an FG Knot.

Where to Fish – he looks for schooling fish along banks and points to use this technique
Retrieve Styles – walk the dog, erratic, slashing retrieve.

Final Tip
Martens said if he could impart one final tip, it would be to, “be around bait,” he said.  “Fish are so keyed in on bait this time of the year, that if I don’t see baitfish in the area with bass – either visually or on my Humminbird graphs – I won’t even make a cast.”