by Dan O’Sullivan
If you’ve been a fan of bass fishing for the past couple of decades, you’ve no doubt heard the name Pam Martin-Wells. As one of the most influential female anglers, Martin-Wells has left an indelible mark on the sport. Martin-Wells has competed in every major professional women’s bass fishing circuit and has gone head to head with her male counterparts in The Bassmaster Opens, the FLW Tour and the 2010 Bassmaster Classic.
Along the way, her husband Steven has been there the whole time, primarily as what he calls his wife’s “bass caddy.”
With the announcement of the Alabama Bass Trail, the couple, who makes their home in nearby Bainbridge, Ga. decided that the new trail offered them a chance to do what they love, and do it together for the first time in many years. “I’ve been doing this for so many years, that there are times that fishing tournaments can feel like work to both of us,” said Martin-Wells. “Being able to compete in a trail like Alabama Bass Trail was really appealing to us because it was affordable, close to home and allowed us to have fun together.”
Once they arrived for their first Southern Division event on the Mobile Tensaw River Delta they really found out how much they were going to be able to enjoy the trail. “We saw husband/ wife teams, father / son and father / daughter teams and it gave us an idea of how enjoyable it was going to be,” said Martin-Wells. “We really enjoyed the first tournament, and were looking forward to the rest.”
Their favorite event was the Lake Jordan tournament, and not because they finished especially high, but because they had the kind of outing they had hoped they would have while fishing the ABT. They reported catching too many fish to count, and doing so in a variety of ways. In fact, Steven said that they handled so many fish, he was injured. “I had to wrap my left thumb in a paper towel to stop the bleeding at one point,” he said. “We had so much fun that we almost felt like we were out fun fishing, despite the rain and the fact we were fishing in a tournament.”
The couple was only able to fish four of the scheduled events in the Southern Division due to a conflict in the Lady Bass Anglers Association. Despite missing the one event, they were able to finish 39th in the Southern Division points, which would have qualified them for the championship, but they were not able to because they had not fished all five events.
“It would have been nice to make the championship, but you have to choose your priorities, and the LBAA was what I had committed to at the beginning of the year,” said Martin Wells. “But we’re planning on fishing all five events this year for multiple reasons.”
Martin-Wells said that they are looking forward to a new season of the Alabama Bass Trail, and a lot of it is because of how things were run. “I didn’t know Kay (Donaldson, ABT director) before that first tournament,” she said. “But, I sent her an email the next week to tell her how impressed I was with it. It features a great payout, low expenses and she runs a great event that we look forward to fishing. Plus, there are other reasons at home.”
Steven Wells said that both of their parents were getting to a stage where being close was important. “Both of our parents need extra attention and we feel a lot more comfortable being in reach of them,” he said. “We call them a couple times a day now and that gets tougher when we are at a tour event for a week.
“We are an outdoor family and this is a great way for us to spend time in the boat together,” he said with a chuckle. “I get to participate and stop being a bass caddy, and that’s one of the real reasons why I love fishing Alabama Bass Trail.”
The sponsors of the 2015 Alabama Bass Trail include Bill Penney Toyota, the Alabama Tourism Department, Phoenix Bass Boats, Inc., Garmin, T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., Alabama Power Company, Buffalo Rock, Inc., Jet-Pep, Inc., Tennessee Valley Authority, Rigid Industries, Inc., and Frogg Toggs, Inc., HydroWaveTM, and Yeti Coolers, Alabama Foundation Specialists, Boat US, LEER, Inc., Power-Pole, Navionics, Costa Del Mar, and E3 Sports Apparel.
For complete standings visit www.alabamabasstrail.org.