Even though his professional fishing career began in 2000, Scott Martin describes his 2021 season as a “new beginning,” and now after his third Bassmaster® Elite Series tournaments, the Yamaha Pro has two goals. He wants to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic, and he wants to win the Bassmaster Classic®.
“Those are basically every professional bass fisherman’s goals,” laughs Martin, 44, “but especially for the anglers competing in the Bassmaster Elite Series, the primary route to qualifying for the Classic. I know it won’t be easy, because just qualifying for the Elites was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
Despite a stellar career fishing the FLW® professional tour during which he won the coveted Forrest Wood Cup® championship in 2011, the FLW Tour Angler of the Year title in 2015, and eight Tour events, Martin chose to move into the Bassmaster Elites following the 2019 season. He had to qualify through the Bassmaster Opens, in which the top four anglers in the points standings in each division receive Elite invitations.
“Last year, B.A.S.S.® had only two Open Divisions, Eastern and Central, with four events in each,” continues the Yamaha Pro, “and with the Covid-19 pandemic, they were forced to change schedules and even venues to be able to have all eight tournaments. I fished both divisions, and it came down to the final cast of the last day of the final event at Alabama’s Lay Lake in the Eastern Division before I knew had qualified.
“The tournament was held the first week of December, a time of year few of us are accustomed to fishing, and I didn’t have a really good first day on the water. The second day, I decided to just go fishing and have fun, and I finally relaxed. I caught about 40 bass that day and weighed in enough to finish 46th. I’d finished 52nd at Lake Cherokee but had two fifth-place finishes at Lake Kissimmee and Lake Hartwell, and that’s how I qualified.”
The world watched his struggles as well as his triumphs. He has over a million viewers across his different social media platforms, including YouTube®, Instagram®, Facebook®, Twitter®, and others, where his program, “The Scott Martin Challenge” is now in its 17th season. He has also continued to document his Elite season.
Martin admits that while heading out from the boat ramp the first morning of competition in his first Elite event, held in February on the St. Johns River in Florida, he felt tinges of nervousness as well as excitement, largely because his long-range goal of qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic was a step closer.
Should he win bass fishing’s premier event in 2022, the Yamaha Pro already has plans for the Classic trophy. He will hand it to his father, the legendary Roland Martin, who, despite winning 19 B.A.S.S. tournaments and nine Angler of the Year titles, never won the Bassmaster Classic. He did have four top-five finishes, including second in 1980.
“Dad surprised me in 2011 when I won the Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita,” remembers Martin. “I did not know he was in the audience until he stood up when I was handed the trophy, and I’ll never forget seeing him there. It was really special. I was his biggest fan when he was competing, and now he’s my biggest fan.”
Martin grew up fishing Lake Okeechobee where the family still operates a marina in Clewiston, and he guided there for many years. He was 23 when he fished his first professional bass tournament, the 1998 Bassmaster Florida Invitational, where he finished 7th. Like his famous father, he has also become an accomplished saltwater angler, and he has included those adventures on his social media channels as well.
“Still,” the Yamaha Pro concludes, “this is all about the Bassmaster Classic and giving that trophy to my Dad. In a way, it’s unfinished family business.”
Back to Blue Life