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Mercury fisherman wins Angler of the Year title

Mercury pro Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., won the 2013 Angler of the Year title in the Bassmaster Elite Series event.

Throughout his 15-year career on the B.A.S.S. tournament trail, Martens earned the nickname “The Natural” for his innate ability to catch fish. After the final Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2013 season — on Michigan’s Lake St. Clair — he might have changed his nickname to “The Comeback Kid.”

Martens took the title in dramatic fashion last weekend after overtaking fellow Mercury pro Edwin Evers on the second-to-last day of the season — Day 2 of the event on Lake St. Clair, Mercury said. Evers finished second in the 2013 AOY standings and Kevin VanDam, also sponsored by Mercury Marine, finished third.

Martens started the 2013 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year race 85th at the Elite Series opener in February on Texas’ Sabine River system. He rebounded from that performance — his lowest tournament finish since 2009 — by racking up four top-10 finishes in the final nine tournaments of the season and slashing a 30-point lead by Evers over the first three days of the St. Clair tournament.

Martens claimed the Angler of the Year lead on the first day of the final tournament when he weighed in 21.14 pounds for third place and never relinquished the lead as he dropped 19.9 and 20.11 pounds of Lake Erie smallmouth on the scale on days two and three.

“It’s unbelievable — that’s a good word for it,” Martens, who also won the title in 2004, said in a statement. “I worked hard after starting the year like I did. I guess maybe bombing in the first tournament like I did [in Texas] allowed me to just fish and to concentrate on fishing.”

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