Veteran bass pro Tommy Martin of Hemphill has seen some strange things happen on the water during a decorated career dating back to the early 1970s. He is still scratching his after what went down in his Nitro bass boat earlier this month.
Martin, 79, was guiding William Lawson of Lafayette, La., on the morning of June 17 at Sam Rayburn. About 11 a.m., he made a move to an offshore drop off in about 30 feet water.
Both anglers cast their Texas-rigged worms to the spot simultaneously. Moments later, Martin got a bite and set the hook on what felt like a pretty big bass.
Lawson, meanwhile, laid his rod down in the bottom the boat — with his worm still in the water — and began videoing Martin as he fought the fish.
That’s when things went awry.
“We heard a racket behind us and when we looked back William’s rod was gone,” Martin said. “There wasn’t much wind and the water was pretty slick. I knew a fish had hooked itself and jerked the rod overboard.”
Lucky for Lawson he was using on of Martin’s custom-made rods. The rods are built with premium components, including high quality cork handles. The cork is buoyant enough to keep the rod afloat with a reel attached.
Martin finished the job on his 7 1/2 pounder and temporarily placed it in the livewell. Lawson, meanwhile scanned the perimeter and spotted the runaway rod rippling the surface about 20-30 yards away.
“It was barely moving,” Martin said. “I trolled over to it, but the fish pulled it under about the time we got there. At that point I figured it was gone.”
Moments later, Lawson spotted the rod again and managed to get his hands on it. He eventually landed the fish. It weighed nearly 9 pounds.
Martin said he was glad Lawson caught the bass. He was even happier to get his fishing rod back.