Roland Martin’s first Bassmaster Season was filled with success and fired a salvo over the bow of the all who had ventured into competitive bass fishing before him. In his first season he won an event (Seminole), placed second in two events (Toledo Bend and Eufaula) a fifth place finish (Sam Rayburn) and a 16th-place (Eulaula, OK). He missed the third event of the year at Ross Barnett and if not for that, he would have probably won the inaugural Bassmaster AOY award. For the reports on these events, please go here and here.
I’ve been following Roland’s career since I first joined B.A.S.S. in 1974. At that time, Roland was the king. He’d won the past three Bassmaster AOYs and his articles in Bassmaster Magazine taught me how to think as a bass fisherman. Every article he wrote I read, digested and tried to apply to my fishing – as a 10-year-old.
I didn’t just go fishing at the park or local lake to practice my casting, I went with the intent on finding a pattern and catching fish. That’s what Roland Martin instilled in me and everyone else who followed him. There was a method and if you could figure out where the fish were with respect to season, temperature, depth and other factors, you’d catch fish.
It was the first time I was exposed to the scientific, experimental method.
Since that time my Bassmaster Magazine collection has grown, and I’ve worn out the magazines I’ve collected from 1968 through the early 1970s. In those magazines I have read every word of every article and every ad contained within those covers. Within those pages are reams of words and wisdom from many of the top anglers of the time, but the ones that registered with me most fervently were those from Roland.
At ICAST in 2014 I was pleasantly surprised to be invited to dinner with the Yamamoto staff along with Roland Martin, his wife Judy and Walt Reynolds. I was even more surprised when I was seated next to Roland. It would be my time to talk to him about his early career – most importantly his first year on tour. We talked at dinner and at the end, scheduled a time to video an interview the next day about his first year on the Bassmaster tour – 1970.
That year Martin would place second in the first ever AOY points race. What muddled things up was Martin missed an entire event. I wanted to talk with Martin about his first year on tour. The interview below is exactly that. I hope you enjoy