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TheStreet Open House

Rookie Martin Leads Walmart FLW Tour Season Opener On Lake Okeechobee Presented By Mercury

CLEWISTON, Fla., Feb. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On the first cast of his pro fishing career Thursday morning, Casey Martin of New Market, Ala., boated a 6-pounder. His co-angler did not even have enough time to get the net ready. That cast gave Martin the momentum he needed throughout the day, as he now leads the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Okeechobee presented by Mercury. A full field of 174 of the world's best bass-fishing pros began the four-day tournament Thursday fishing for a top cash award of up to $125,000.

Link to photo of pro leader Casey Martin

"My goal coming in to this tournament was just not to bomb out," said Martin, a rookie pro who previously fished the FLW Tour as a co-angler. "There is a lot of pressure coming in to your first event as a pro, and I really didn't want to let anybody down. Practice was really tough, and I didn't want everyone thinking that I couldn't make it as a pro. I knew that if I did well in this event it would set the pace for the rest of the year."

Martin did very well Thursday, bringing a five-bass limit to the scales that weighed 26 pounds, 12 ounces. He now holds a 2-pound, 12-ounce lead over Rick Cotten of Guntersville Ala., who brought 24 pounds even to the stage.

"I had one good bite in practice; a 5- or 6-pounder," Martin said. "So I decided to start there. This morning I pulled up to the area, and on my first cast I caught a 6-pounder. I caught an early limit and had around 12 pounds, so I decided to start running. I knew that 12 pounds would keep me in check range, so I ran around checking stuff that looked good."

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