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"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."