Martens keeps lead but Pipkens, Jocumsen less than a pound back!
NORTH EAST, Md. – Aaron Martens took another step toward his second victory of the season Friday, bringing in five bass that weighed 15 pounds in the Huk Performance Fishing Bassmaster Elite at Chesapeake Bay.
The weight pushed Martens’ two-day total to 32-8 and kept him in the lead for a second straight day. But two young anglers, Michigan’s Chad Pipkens (31-13) and Australian Carl Jocumsen (31-12), are less than a pound back, and reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Greg Hackney (30-5) is within easy-striking distance.
|Aaron spins spinnerbaits along dock post to capture the lead.|
(Photo: Steve Bowman BASS)
“There’s not a lot of fish where I’m fishing,” said Martens, who also increased his lead in the Angler of the Year standings to 65 points over his nearest competition, Justin Lucas. “Carl (Jocumsen) and I are fishing the same area, catching each other’s fish. If there were two more boats in there, we would probably be toast.”
Boat traffic should be less of a problem Saturday with the field trimmed to the Top 50. But a weekend regulation change will further complicate the long run that anglers like Martens and Jocumsen have been making downriver toward Baltimore each day.
Several large stretches are declared “no-wake” zones on Chesapeake Bay for the weekend, and that will force anglers to slow to idle speed for parts of a boat run that is already taking more than an hour one way.
“It’s been nice being able to run around without thinking about no-wake zones,” Martens said. “That’s really going to hamper how I fish.
“I left some closer areas alone today where I could have gone back and caught more, trying to save them. You’ve got to save fish in this tournament.”
The fishing was tough again for much of the field Friday, with anglers needing just 15-2 to make the Top 50 cut. Jacob Powroznik, who was tied for sixth place Thursday with 15-2, zeroed Friday, but still managed to make the cut in 50th place.
One angler who hasn’t bemoaned the tough fishing this week as much as others is Pipkens, who caught 14-15 Friday to push his two-day total to 31-13. He’s just 11 ounces back of Martens and might be in the lead if he hadn’t lost one good fish Friday morning.
“I’m not getting a lot of bites, but a lot of the ones I’m catching are good ones,” Pipkens said. “Today, I had three 3-pounders, and I caught a big one – about 4 1/2 pounds – with very little time left to fish.
“But I also weighed in a fish that was about a pound and a half. I feel like the one I broke off was another 3-pounder, and that would have helped me.”
Jocumsen brought in the largest catch of the day with 17-5 and jumped to third place with 31-12. He said he’s been keying on bluegill to catch most of his fish.
“The fish I’m catching are bluegill eaters,” Jocumsen said. “I know they’re eating big bluegill, because they coughed them up in my livewell yesterday. The only spots I’m catching fish is where I’m seeing bluegill.”
Hackney caught 15-15 Friday, pushing his total to 30-5. But he didn’t sound nearly as confident about his pattern as Pipkens and Jocumsen.
“It was kind of like yesterday, and yet different,” Hackney said, laughing. “Yesterday, the fish were predominantly on wood. Today, it was grass. It’s a very challenging place to fish, because you don’t know when the next one’s coming or where it’s coming from.”
Hackney said he’s been “junk fishing” with 10 to 15 rods on the deck of his boat. He also said the lure that worked best for him Thursday didn’t produce at all Friday for the mixture of largemouth and smallmouth he’s been targeting.
“The two I picked to win this thing were Michael Iaconelli and Jacob Powroznik, because they probably know the most about this place,” Hackney said. “But they’ve both struggled, and I think that tells you that something is a little off right now.”
Also with a shot at winning after two days are Japanese pro Morizo Shimizu (29-2), Indiana angler Bill Lowen (28-3) and California pro Skeet Reese (28-2).
Rojas, who entered the tournament just 11 points behind Martens in the AOY race, missed the cut in 63rd with 12-10. That cleared a path for Lucas, who made the cut in 19th with 22-2, to jump from third to second in the point standings.
Because Martens is in the lead on Day 2, he will earn the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500.
The tournament will resume Saturday with a 6:15 a.m. takeoff from Anchor Marina and North East Community Park. The weigh-in will be held back at the park at 3 p.m., with only the Top 12 anglers advancing to Championship Sunday for a chance at the $100,000 first-place prize.
The Elite Series Expo will have B.A.S.S. sponsor representatives onsite throughout the weekend with activities, games and prizes for attendees. All of the family-friendly activities planned throughout the weekend are free and open to the public.