Today’s Throwback Thursday historical photo features a young Roland Martin with a happy pair of clients. They’re happy because they landed a stringer of bass, including one fish over 11 pounds from the Santee-Cooper chain of lakes. Hailing from Cross, South Carolina, a small town situated on the shores of Lake Moultrie, Roland was being billed as one of the hottest young bass anglers in the country by making waves in Ray Scott’s Bass Anglers Sportsmans Society tournaments.
By the end of the year, and after several high finishes including one win on tour, Roland would be referred to as a “former” Santee-Cooper guide, and could be found traveling around giving seminars with Ray Scott and John Powell on how to catch bass.
Roland’s seminars focused on a thing called “deep water structure fishing,” emphasizing the importance of topographical maps and good electronics. He was also fond of electronic water thermometers, anchors, boat marker buoys, and electric (troll) motors. He was always on the lookout for a “honey hole,” a good deep water structure spot where he could sit on a group of bass and load the boat. This was in sharp contrast to John Powell, who was billed as a shallow water worm fisherman who preferred to cover some water and “target fish.”
In one particular article summarizing one of Roland’s seminars, it stated, “On the map Martin looks for unusually high elevations, indicating a drop-off, and structural features, and circles them. He also marks creek bends, which are now covered entirely by water. Martin then takes compass in hand and tries to locate these fishy-looking spots on the lake bottom.
Martin will anchor his boat approximately where he thinks the drop-off or creek bend will be. Submerged brush and changes in bottom elevation will show up on the depth finder and tell him if he is at the right location.”
Martin would fan-cast these areas, counting down his lure so that he could tell when he found a drop-off or deeper water. He also carried a notebook with him to jot down notes on the productive spots, recording things like location, type of bottom, depth, time of day and year, along with what lure he used. This would become the early synthesis of his “pattern fishing” theories which would later prove so productive.