RICK CLUNN will seek more productivity from his co-anglers

Apparently being out of the West for most of the year has not affected Aaron Martens’ skill level. In three days, he put on a clinic, pulling even with Mike Folkestad as the only pros to win three such U.S. Open titles.

Of course, Martens’ methods will be unveiled soon enough. But even though the standings were unofficial at the moment, the fact is, there are a lot more lessons and stories to tell from those who finished behind the Leeds, Ala. savant.

One concept worth ruminating over came from 2-time Open champ Rick Clunn–during the practice period. As he assessed recent performances here and was looking ahead to this contest, he told me, “I need to better utilize my co-anglers.” Indeed, while there are certain approaches that are dominated from the front deck, at Lake Mead there are also multiple times where partners fishing two contour baits double the chances of success.

GABE BOLIVAR found the missing topwater bite...

Of course, the biggest surprise of the tournament was the lack of a “reaction” bite and specifically, the lack of a topwater bite. And nothing said surprise better than the final day sack of Ramona’s Gabe Bolivar–10.45 pounds on an “old school Ichiban minnow (balsa walking bait.)”

BOLIVAR rode the Wave early in the tournament.

The change from his shaky head and baby Wave Crawdude  was not an easy one psychologically. “You know, when you’re not catching fish, you kinda want to play it safe–just catch something,” he told me. But he decided to fish the pockets like he has in years past with the old surface lure. What he found were two pockets with schools of fish: “One had maybe 30 bass, and the other must have had 20 with stripers and both largemouth and smallmouth chasing and jumping.”

For several of the pros, the last day was not a move upward. And knowing the likes of Joe Uribe, Jr. and second day leader Chris Bozarth, I’m sure the disappointment is heavy. But I really don’t blame the fishermen. This is vintage Lake Mead, and Bolivar was not the only one to assess: “It’s hard to catch ’em in the same place twice.”

GARY KLEIN wants another shot at the Open.

Gary Klein, apparently a top five finisher, saw the lake shrink up the last two days, as others discovered the pockets held more fish than the points this summer.

For most of two days, he tossed the Folkestad Special on a Texas rig, then, with his partners finished out with a drop-shot. But what started in 10 to 15 feet on Monday ended on a reef in 30 feet today.

“Today was tough on me,” he confided after the weigh-in. “I had five keeper bites. My first was at 8 a.m. and the fifth came at 3 o’clock.  The pockets dried up, in my two key deals. You know, you get on a cycle and rotate through the areas. But sometimes somebody has also been through and they catch the fish.”


He too, reflected on his practice findings. “Remember when I said I had a major part of the puzzle figured out?” he asked. “I didn’t have it all figured out.”

But the career pro and former Californian still has the fire. I could feel it when he said, “Man, I want to win this thing again.”

Check out the official pro standings here.













6 Responses to “Martens gets 3rd Open title; Klein will be back”

Congrats, Aaron! Good luck in the Toyota All Star!

won bass should be ashamed of the lack of coverage . No pics on the website of the winners no posts on where and how they got them won is really slipping and the pay out was terable aron only got 39 what happenf to the garented 50

by George Kramer

Casey, I think you’re talking about two different and unrelated issues. Yes, the coverage tapered off–because the organization is badly short-staffed on the broader media side, not to mention the logistics when Martens left for the B.A.S.S. post-season game. But the payoff? That’s all about participation. And so you know, under U.S. Bass, to this day, the 1988 U.S. Open winner has yet to get paid. 🙁 Oh, and I noticed Aaron made no issue of any “guarantee.” And he’s the only guy in the field that would have a legitimate beef. Right?

well in the past the open paid a new ranger boat a ford truck and 50.000 then a few yers ago it went to a boat no truck then it went to 70.000 i thought the first place was always that i never heard of any other first place taking less and look at ther oage it still is the same no pic s just a blog no im not aron

check back if its partcapation for the payout then how did justin kerr get 151.000 with only 83 pros won is just slipping thats all im trying to say

by George Kramer

Different prize structure with Ford dealership involved back then and Z-9 package from Nitro, as I recall. Companies have pulled back.