Florida angler adds $25,000 Ranger Cup bonus
Ranger Boats Pro Scott Martin brought in a total of 60 pounds, 1 ounce to win the FLW Tour event on Lake Cumberland on April 9. The angler set a new FLW record with his eighth FLW Tour win. Martin took home the $100,000 first-place prize along with $25,000 in Ranger Cup bonus money.
“It’s pretty cool to think of all the years the FLW has been around and as many good fishermen who have fished the tour, that I have the most wins,” said Martin. “I was very, very happy about that. I felt comfortable all four days and didn’t get rattled.”
A part of Martin’s comfort during the competition comes from running a Ranger boat.
“One of the things that I love about my boat is how wide it is in front to give me an open fishing platform,” said Martin. “So when I have 10 or 15 rods up there, they aren’t in my way. I’m not restricted in my moving around.”
The angler was running a pattern on a sizeable area with smaller creeks by the damn. As he has matured as an angler, Martin has set himself apart from others with his willingness to explore unknown waters and his skill set to bring quality fish into the boat.
“From day one, my goal was to become a versatile angler,” said Martin. “To be versatile, you have to be confident in lots of techniques, from deep to shallow, finesse and everything in between. That doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of trial and error and experience. I have worked hard over the years to be as good as I can.”
Martin finished strong on day one with a mixed bag weighing 19 pounds, 7 ounces, putting him on top of the leaderboard. A cold front moved in on day two and moved fish around, slowing the bite.
“The front set in and water temperatures bottomed out,” said Martin. “The fish had moved several hundred yards and it got too cold for largemouths. The largemouths were not cooperating. I never got a largemouth bite all day.”
Martin continuously read the water conditions and changed his approach that best suited the situation.
“I read the water every day,” said Martin. “I let the conditions dictate a bit about what I was going to do. They adjusted each day based on the weather. They can move out further from the creeks as the temperatures fell. As the temperatures gradually moved up, even throughout the day, they gravitated back. I fortunately stayed on that movement for the most part. I caught them at different locations in those creeks based on the weather and water temperature.”
Martin continued his small adjustments and exploration of new water to bring in 14 pounds, 14 ounces on day three, just 3 pounds, 11 ounces behind leader Clark Wendlandt.
Early morning of day four, Martin recalled a moment from the day earlier where a fish aggressively chased his jerkbait to the boat. This memory inspired him to give a wakebait a go on the final day. The angler located his one and only wakebait in the boat. After replacing the rusty hooks, Martin went to work.
“The first cast I made with it I caught a three-inch spotted bass, super small,” said Martin. “I made a joke that if a three-incher will eat it, it would be a good day for a wakebait.”
The epiphany paid off with Martin pulling in 13 pounds, 12 ounces. With a blank from day-three leader Wendlandt, the doors were wide open for Martin, who won by 1 pound, 1 ounce.
Martin’s ability to stay on the fish and get back and forth on the lake was instrumental in his win. His Ranger boat and Evinrude 250 G2 make a deadly combo for earning extra fishing time.
“Boat position was key for because I was going into these creeks and my boat didn’t drift. I was able to quietly move around,” said Martin. “Another key was the speed of my boat with the G2. I passed a lot of boats to give me extra time to fish. I caught a fish on my last cast and the only reason was because of that extra time. I caught a three-pounder and, arguably, that fish won the tournament for me.”
About Ranger Boats
Headquartered in Flippin, Ark., Ranger Boats is the nation’s premier manufacturer of legendary fiberglass and aluminum fishing boats, with acclaimed models and series in the bass, multi-species, fish ‘n play, saltwater, waterfowl utility and pontoon boat segments. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest-quality, strongest-performing boats on the water. For more information, go to RangerBoats.com, RangerAluminum.com
Bass Fishing Photos Courtesy of Image Fiz