FORMER CASTAIC pro Aaron Martens earned the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title for 2013.

I remember, it used to chafe Roland Martin. He’ll probably go to his grave having never won the Bassmasters Classic, but when he was winning the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year titles to the tune of nine times during a 14-year span, about all he got was a plaque and a round of applause.

Well, there was that one year back when I was covering the ceremony, I think B.A.S.S and Ray Scott came up with $500 to go with that pat on the back. Nice.

Today, for the Bassmasters (even those that get into the Classic for one good finish during the entire year), for an industry that wants both glamor and staying power and for the public, the Angler of the Year title is incredibly significant.

Both in immediate remuneration (former Californian Aaron Martens just got a check for $100,000 for the title) and for ongoing promotional contracts, it matters. Everyone just looks at year-long, tour success through a different set of lenses than they did back in the days of “big hair.”

Sadly, even Martin’s little consolation prize [Ray Scott named AOY trophy for Roland well after his heyday as a competitor] has since been erased by sponsors, ie, Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year award or perhaps one day, Denny’s, Starbuck’s or Tom’s Meat Market.

Sure, the Cali dudes are a little giddy for Martens right now, getting his second Angler of the Year. But make no mistake, you’d have to say that KVD’s four AOY titles in a row, (though just six in a 20-year span from 1992-through 2013) plus four Classic titles in 10 years, 2001-2011, trumps Martin’s three-peat in 71-73 and back-to-backs in 78-79 and again in 84-85.

But let’s face it, the game has a different look today. Unfortunately for those of an earlier, pre Internet era, not only missed the cash, they probably missed a good part of the potential recognition.






6 Responses to “Martin to Martens: How things have changed…”

I agree with you GK. Roland and all the others deserved more than what they got when they won the BAOY awards back in the 70s. But, starting in 1975, AOY actually paid $1000 sponsored by Stren. Still, that’s not what those AOY wins were worth, as far as I’m concerned.

Still, if you think about it, B.A.S.S. was still a fledgling organization and it might have been tough for B.A.S.S. to come up with something worthy of a big payday. I also wonder if B.A.S.S. knew how the anglers felt about that award before the 1980 debacle at the Classic dinner where Martin said, paraphrased, that AOY was worth more than the Classic because it showed more consistency over a season than the Classic, which was one event.

Although Clunn would agree with Martin that AOY was a better award, he also said that he didn’t fish for AOY (again paraphrased) because “It didn’t make your career, the Classic does.”

I think what bothers me the most about all this is the early AOY winners have been forgotten – or very few people remember what they accomplished.

Roland is known for his 9 AOY titles but he’s mostly known for not winning a Classic (and being a terror in his day). That, to me, is wrong. I wish he would have won one.

Good piece George. And, Congrats to Aaron for his second AOY award.


I still think that a couple of those BAOY that KVD won were kind of strange. In my opinion two of those should actually belong to Skeet.

Doesn’t winning BASS AOY increase the angler’s chances of more sponsorships, and increased money from those sponsorships?


Yes they do. But back in the day, it wasn’t so. The only thing that really made a name for you was winning the Classic. Hence George’s post.

Robert is right. Under today’s rules, Skeet won 2 more AOY’s and KVD won 2 All-Star weeks.

by George Kramer

And neither one of them won a U.S. Open, eh, John? 😉