In what could prove to be the biggest angler/sponsor news of this offseason, Japanese tackle company Megabass confirmed today that its long-standing sponsorship of two-time Elite Series Angler of the Year Aaron Martens has ended.
It's not often a company issues a release complimenting a departing pro staffer, but Martens and Megabass were synonymous with each other for much of their 17-year run and he was instrumental in bringing more exposure to the premium tackle maker's rods and baits in the U.S. market.
There's no word yet on a potential replacement as Martens' title sponsor.
The text of the Megabass release follows:
Megabass of America, the U.S. arm of Japan’s foremost innovator of premium fishing tackle, confirmed today that after 17 years, Megabass’ title sponsorship of Aaron Martens is ending.
“While we are of course disappointed that our professional relationship will not continue in 2015, we certainly understand Aaron’s decision to pursue a new business opportunity,” said Yuskei Murayama, Vice President of Megabass of America. “Aaron is one of the most gifted anglers of his time, and it is no surprise to us that a fledgling brand would invest heavily in his services.”
Partnered with Megabass since his early days on the West Coast circuits, Martens has quickly risen to the top of the national stage. With two Bassmaster AOY titles, three U.S. Open Championships, and multiple victories to his name, Aaron has solidified himself as one of the most consistent, talented, and feared anglers on Tour.
“In many ways, we would not be where we are today without Aaron,” said Murayama, “so we wish to take this opportunity to give thanks for the whole-hearted dedication, passion, and expertise Aaron has shared with us these past 17 years. Megabass is certainly better for it, and will continue to strive to make the kind of equipment that elevates our anglers to ever-greater success. We wish Aaron the best in this next chapter of his career.”
Shortly after the Megabass release was published, Martens issued the following statement about his departure:
"I would like to take the opportunity to thank Megabass for 17 years of support and friendship. While it is the end of our business relationship, it is in no way the end of the many friendships I have developed with the people at Megabass. I will always consider Yuskei Murayama of Megabass USA and Yuki Ito and the many other great people of Megabass Japan to be my friends.
"The experiences provided to me through Megabass both inside of the fishing industry and outside of it will always be special to me. Megabass products have helped me climb the ranks from a young wide-eyed rookie to a two-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year. That wouldn't have been possible without the long-time support of such a great company.
"At this time, I am not making an announcement about my next steps, but I will be ready to do so soon. For now, I am focused on preparing for the Bassmaster Classic and enjoying some time with the family."