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St. Johns River Elite Series

Aaron Martens -- Competition Wrap-up
Saturday, March 17, 2012

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

It was very frustrating to say the least. I was fishing similar areas to Alton (Jones) and Todd (Faircloth). I donít know (Lake) George at all really and for someone who doesnít know it that goes there, thereís a lot more to learn than you think. Looking back at how I practiced, I spent most of my time looking for areas and not concentrating on areas that I found. Each area is like a lake unto itself. The area Alton and Todd are fishing is a huge area, but you really need to spend a day and a half in that one area just to learn it.

There are other areas like that around the lake, so I think I spread my practice out too far. I didnít know where to go, to tell you the truth, and I just didnít focus on the areas I had. I had other areas that I thought were good, but I just didnít spend the time in there that I needed to. I think thatís where I screwed the pooch on this one.

A majority of the fish are done spawning. There are very few big fish around, but there are certain areas that have better quality. Where Alton was is where I saw some bigger fish, but I found another area I thought was good and I went there on day 1 and there was nothing there. It had me worried.

I had another area where there were still some fish spawning, but I didnít see enough big ones to know it was any good. It was too late in practice to know. It really does take a lot of time to move around those areas. There may be a mile of grass or close to it some areas down there. Itís that wide and a good mile long. Itís a tremendous area and you canít see the beds from a distance. You almost have to get over top of them. If I wouldíve known that, I would have spent my whole practice focusing on those two areas and I probably would have done a lot better. I wish I could go back and learn what I saw a little better.

Iím mad. Thatís the only way to put it. You just have to learn from it. Itís hard, too, because I usually do really well in sight tournaments. To get 84th place makes me mad. I put myself out of the Angler of the Year race unless I win a couple.


Aaron Martens -- Practice Wrap-up
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

The fishing is getting worse. These fish are post-spawn right now. They're done. It's March. The water's 80 degrees. I don't have anywhere offshore to go. There's nothing offshore except for sand. They won't bite in the grass. I think (Terry) Scroggins has a perfect chance to win this thing since he lives here. Anything offshore is going to have fish on it. It's just finding it is almost impossible.

There's so much water and a whole bunch of nothing. I'm not happy. I'll just have to see what I can get. I just don't think I have a chance to win, which I don't like. I've had bad practices turn into really good tournaments before though, so it could happen, but right now I'm just hoping to catch a limit each day. It's really hard to get bit.

You can catch small fish, but they're not going to do you much good. You need the big ones. The fish are definitely done (spawning). They're on their last cycle. There are very few fish paired up and most of them are single fish guarding fry, if anything. You see clouds of fry everywhere. I don't know what they do after they do that here because I've never been here this time of year. I know what they do, I just don't know where they're at. You'd think they'd be in that beautiful grass, but who knows?

I have a feeling a lot of the fish, especially in Lake George, move off shore a little bit. There are a bunch of 4- to 6-inch mullet out there. I think the big fish just go out there and scatter and just feed. But it's like, "Where do you start out there?" It takes a quarter-mile to drop a foot. It's just flat and black.

I'm going to try to get whatever few spawners that are left and that's all I can do. So I'm completely frustrated and irritated and mad, too, a little bit.

Brent Chapman -- Practice Wrap-up
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina
Photo: B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina

I'm taking a little bit of a risk. I'm going to make a really long run. The thing with the long run is I'm not going to have as much fishing time, but I hope to be able to get away from a lot of the boats. There's quite a few fish in the little area where I'm at and I've got two approaches Ė one if it's calm and one if it's windy. I feel like my chances are fairly decent to have a consistent tournament.

This is the year I'm able to swing for the fences at different places. When I got on George (on Monday) and saw that it wasn't as good as last year I decided to look at some different stuff. Hopefully, it'll pan out in the tournament.

I don't have a lot of experience on the river like some of these people do. I know that once these fish spawn, they tend to get pretty good on the river. I don't know if that will be a big factor or not. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out.

I'm going to say 70 pounds will win this. There are still going to be some good bags caught. It is Florida. I'm going to shoot to make the Top 12 and then worry about winning it on Sunday.


Aaron Martens -- Practice Day 2
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tom Leogrande
Photo: Tom Leogrande

The fishing's pretty tough, I think. I guess we're 2 weeks too late. It seems like there are a lot of fry and the fish are real tough to catch. Probably in a week or two it'll be much better. If I had plans to fish post-spawn, I'd probably be doing pretty good. I've been looking for spawners, so itís been a bit of a struggle.

There are still some big ones, but they are very hard to catch. Somebody that is fishing offshore or found something in the river is probably way better off, but we'll see what I can do. The conditions are okay Ė a little windy.


Brent Chapman Ė Practice Day 1
Monday, March 12, 2012

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Today wasnít the most productive day. Iíve eliminated a lot of water, but the problem is the wind really hurt today.

Last year, when I was here, I caught them sight-fishing. Today, I went back and tried to look at them in those areas and the water was about a foot higher than last year and with the wind, it makes it almost impossible to look. I just did a lot of running around and did a lot of looking at different stuff. I did find one little area that I do feel pretty good about that at least I feel I can catch a few fish out of.

I have a feeling it will probably be pretty similar (to last year), but I havenít been to all the key areas where all of the fish were on beds. I would assume being as warm as it is that itís probably going to be maybe not as good just because I think the fish are farther along. There may not be as many fish spawning as there were last year.

My confidence level is high, but I didnít find what I was hoping for today. I canít get overly discouraged just because of the wind. Once you get into an area and see that theyíre on beds, you can slow down and fish them, but when youíre just blind fishing for fish that you donít know are there, itís really tough to get a bite.

I just spent the day running around, looking for off-the-wall stuff. With having already made the (2013 Bassmaster) Classic, I said I was going to swing for the fences so Iím kind of looking for those home run-type of areas.

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