Even though he’s not competing in any of the remaining Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens, Scott Martin will be on the edge of his seat for every cast. With his Classic hopes on the line, it’s going to nerve-racking.
“I thought I was done with that Opens stress, but I’m right in the middle of it again,” said Martin, the first man out of qualifying for the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk. “I just can’t seem to get away from the stress of the Opens. It’s two years in a row now.”
Last year the longtime FLW pro fished the pressure-packed Opens circuit in hopes of qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite Series, with the ultimate goal of winning a Classic. It came down to his last day in the last event, when he climbed 25 spots in the standings to finish second in the Eastern Opens points to earn his Elite spot.
Through seven Elite events in 2021, Martin, 45, was in position to qualify for the Classic. But he suffered a disastrous Northern Swing to drop just outside the cut in the Elite Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. As first man out, his hopes now lie on others, with four more chances to qualify.
Open winners receive a Classic berth if they fish all three events in either the Northern, Southern or Central divisions. A nonqualifier winning or an Elite who double qualifies would secure Martin’s spot. Also on the line in the Opens series are 12 Elite qualifications, the top three in points of each division and the top three in cumulative standings, so there will be drama.
With so much at stake, Bassmaster LIVE will air the action on each division’s final days — Sept. 11 for the St. Lawrence River (Northern), Sept. 25 at Lake Norman (Southern) and Oct. 24 for Grand Lake (Central). LIVE will air seven hours each day, with FOX Sports 1 shows from 8-11 a.m. ET and the remainder on Bassmaster.com and the FOX Sports app.
Record viewership of LIVE during the Elite season helped FOX and B.A.S.S. add Opens coverage.
“No. 1, FOX is a great partner,” Bassmaster TV executive producer Mike McKinnis said. “They see our sport has a strong following, and that we’re one of the few, if not the only, live sport rolling at that time. They recognized that and said, ‘Hey, let’s get that on the air.’
“We have great anglers on the Opens, they’ll be on great fisheries fighting for a title, with some vying for Classic berths and some for Elite berths, so there’s a lot of interest all around.”