INSIDE BASS: MARTIN GETS MOTIVATED
After 262 tournaments, 19 victories, nine CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles, 25 Bassmaster Classic appearances and more than 30 years in the BASS wars, legendary angler Roland Martin was smart enough to recognize that he needed a little outside assistance.
And that help enabled him to achieve one his few remaining goals.
With a little psychological lift provided by amateur motivational coach Randy Clark, Martin finished second in the recent CITGO Bassmaster Tour event on Table Rock Lake and finally joined the elite BASS Millionaires Club.
"He called me every night of the practice and every night of the tournament and gave me a pep talk," said Martin, who turned 64 on Sunday. "He's real upbeat. He has this philosophy that in fishing so many people just try to do well enough to make a paycheck and their whole attitude is 'I just have to catch a few fish.' He goes way beyond that. He says, 'That's wrong. You have to think a lot more positive than that. You have to think about catching a lot of fish.'
"A lot of his stuff is quotes from guys like Bear Bryant and other big coaches like Bill Parcells. It's just a pep talk to put you in a proper state of mind. It helps to hear another voice. You get into a routine, and it's so easy to get into a good or bad routine. My routine wasn't all that bad, but it helps to have other people that come into play and sort of enlighten you a little bit."
It obviously helped. Until that point, Martin was enduring the worst start of his illustrious career with finishes of 86th (Harris Chain), 118th (Smith Lake) and 143rd (Lake Guntersville).
The Florida pro's career has been nothing short of remarkable. Despite returning for almost two seasons in the mid-1990s, Martin's resume includes:
. A record nine CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year awards (His closest competitors, Mark Davis, Kevin VanDam, and Bill Dance, each have three.)
. A record 19 BASS wins (Larry Nixon, Rick Clunn and Denny Brauer, all tied for second place, each have 14.)
. Total BASS earnings of $1,007,142 (Making him the eighth member of the BASS
Millionaires club as well as eighth on the All-Time BASS Money List.)
. A record 19 second-place finishes
. Ninety-two top-10 (and 182 money) finishes in 263 BASS tournaments.
DAVIS FOLLOW UP. After all of the fan adoration and post-tournament hoopla were over, Table Rock Tour stop winner Mark Davis spent four days in bed.
"I've been really sick ever since I got home from the tournament," he said. "I was coming down with the flu the last day at Table Rock. I've been flat on my back for a couple of days. I'm out on the lake today. This is the last day we could look at Lake Dardanelle so I'm up here riding around."
On another note, the 40-year-old Arkansas pro didn't become a three-time Angler of the Year without mastering all of the tricks of his trade. One is to pay attention to your amateur partner.
On the third day at Table Rock, Davis was paired with North Carolina's Terry Chapman, a veteran of 24 BASS tournaments as an amateur competitor. When Chapman won his second amateur title using an older version of a storm Wigglewart, Davis took note.
"He won the tournament on that third day and that bait helped him," he said. "I caught them on Strike King stuff every day but the last day. My amateur won it throwing that bait, and I could tell that was what the fish sort of preferred. I tied it on late on the third day and caught a big fish and culled a couple of more with it. So the last day I knew if I was going to win in that particular area I probably needed to throw it. So I did and won.
"I had one of them, and I did quite a bit of looking around and asked some of the other guys, and I finally found one of them. I had a couple of them the last day of the tournament, but I lost one of those."
Davis called it an "antique" Wigglewart. "It was a real old one. They don't even make them like that anymore. It was about 25 years old. The ones today, the angle of the bill is different, the material it's made out of is different. They're entirely different."
SPEAKING OF AILMENTS. Overlooked in George Cochran's amazing two-week Tour run where he won at Lake Guntersville and finished eighth at Table Rock Lake was the fact that he was playing hurt - enduring pain from a broken tooth and bulging disk in his back.
Cochran missed some practice time in Missouri to get his tooth fixed, but still had to fight persistent back pain as fatigue set in.
"It's an old back injury - I first hurt it when I was in my 20s working for the railroad," he said. "It really starts hurting after I've been standing up fishing for three or four days. But I've learned to wear a back brace the last three or four hours of the day, which helps."
THE BOTTOM LINE. Here's a coup for the sport of professional fishing: the results from the upcoming Bassmaster Elite 50 series events will be reported on the "Bottom Line," the graphic "crawl" of sports news and results across the bottom of the screen on ESPN and ESPN2. The names and weights of the top three finishers of all four Elite 50 events will "crawl" on ESPN2 and ESPN's "SportsCenter" immediately following each tournament. The top three will also be on the Bottom Line seen on ESPN2's Outdoors Block Monday through Thursday mornings.
DID YOU KNOW? Table Rock Lake has been pretty good to Roland Martin. Not only did he earn a second-place finish this year that enabled him to join the elite BASS Millionaires' Club, but Table Rock is also where he competed in his first BASS tournament in 1970 - where he finished second to Bill Dance.
PRO BIRTHDAYS. Texan Jason Barber turned 29 March 15. Tim Carroll of Oklahoma will turn 42 on March 23, while Florida's Chuck Economou will celebrate his 48th birthday on March 27. Curt Lytle of Virginia will turn 35 March 28, and. North Carolina's Dustin Wilks will be 27 on March 29.
IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO... Former CITGO Bassmaster Classic qualifier Mike Reynolds would likely still be a truck driver in California.
THEY SAID IT. "There were a lot of things that inspired me. One was everyone telling me that I couldn't do it. And it wasn't necessarily my calling in life, but I felt very comfortable going in that direction. I was going to be happy in doing what I wanted to do. I listened to a lot of people who are successful and they always said, do what you want to do because life is short. I enjoy fishing, and I'm very lucky and privileged to be able to do that for a living."
BASS record-holder Dean Rojas refused to let anything derail the dreams of his childhood.