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Bull Shoals Elite Series

Aaron Martens – Competition Wrapup
Saturday, April 21, 2012

> Day 1: 5, 13-10
> Day 2: 5, 13-01
> Total = 10, 26-11 (58th place)

I'd planned to start on a place were Brandon Palaniuk fished, but on the third day of practice I found a place where the smallmouths were unbelievable. There were hundreds of fish and they were aggressive, and I don't think anybody else found it. Then they weren't there on the morning of the first day. I caught a limit, but they were just stragglers.

I did a seminar after day 2 and some locals told me that the smallmouths there are really unpredictable – they're there on day and gone the next.

I caught 75 keepers in 2 days on a crankbait and a jig, and I was throwing a shakey-head, too. It's unreal how many 2 1/2-pounders are in there, but it was really hard to get a 3-pounder even. For the 5-pounders, I think you had to be on a certain spot at a certain time or just get lucky.

It's a big lake – I'd never been here before and I covered maybe 10 percent of it in 2 1/2 days of practice, and I was fishing fast. I only saw a smidgen of it.

It's a beautiful lake and I enjoyed fishing it – it suits my style perfectly. Next time I'll know more about how it works.

Aaron Martens – Practice Wrapup
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The bite's changed quite a bit from the first day of practice. It seems like they're in a transition – it might be the pressure or it might be the weather. It just seems like they're in that mode and that a lot of fish are moving up.

I was on something that was really kind of cool, but I'm not sure now how good it's going to be in the tournament. But I've found some good areas and now I just need to catch them.

Brent Chapman – Practice Wrapup
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The hardest thing here seems to be getting the quality bites, and I'm going to go do the things I feel I can get the most bites doing. If I can get a lot of bites, a few of them should be of that better quality.

This one feels kind of weird – I've got a bazillion places and I feel like I can get bit in a lot of them. I'll try to keep an open mind and hopefully I'll have a better plan of attack on Friday.

I've got two different things working, so I'll have to see how the day plays out. The neat thing about this lake is that you can run a pattern – once you establish it, you've got quite a few places where you can do it.

Brent Chapman – Practice Day 1
Monday, April 16, 2012

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

It's definitely not the Bull Shoals I remember, that's for sure. It's a lot dirtier. You could always get out there and find some good, clear water – even after big rains. I didn't know it could get this muddy even with a lot of rain.

I got a fair amount of bites – about what I would've expected. I wish the water was higher and it was more of a flipping-type deal, but I don't foresee that happening.

Fish will be caught doing a little bit of everything – I got bit four or five different ways today. It's the time of year when you've got your deck full of rods and you might be doing a lot of junk-fishing. I'd like to figure out a way that I felt confident to catch some big ones.

There will definitely be some caught on beds, but it's not going to be like I'd thought. Very little of the lake is even fishable for sight-fishing.

Thank goodness for practice days. I'm going to start making adjustments right now for the rest of practice.

Aaron Martens – Practice Day 1
Monday, April 16, 2012

Photo: Megabass

I got some bites, but not a whole lot of big ones. My second fish was a 6-pounder, but that was the only one like that. I need to figure out how to catch those in the tournament.

I think sight-fishing is out unless somebody finds some clear water somewhere, but it all looks the same to me. It might be stabilizing, but I can't tell yet. It's probably come down about 15 feet in the last 3 weeks or so, but I don't know exactly how long it's been since it was that high.

It should be a mixture, with fish caught off the banks and some away from the bank. I think they'll be scattered.

It's nice to fish a lake that's got contours – it seems like we only do it once every couple years. I wish we'd go to more places like this. It reminds me of a California lake.

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