John's Journal...



Click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Mark Davis of Mt. Ida, Arkansas, has won three of the five Bassmasters Elite 50 tournaments with the participants chosen from the top Angler-of-The-Year finishers on the Bassmasters circuit for the past three years, along with the top-10 all-time money Bassmasters winners. Bassmasters has designated these 50 anglers as the best bass professional fishermen in the world. The events of this type of tournament include competition among all 50 contestants the first two days. Then the tournament eliminates all but the top 12 fishermen, who have all their fish weights erased to allow all 12 to compete equally. The course, which originally has included almost anywhere on a lake, also changes. Bassmasters declares six areas off-limits, and the fishermen have to fish the final two days in each of these six areas. This Elite 50 competition tests all aspects of bass-fishing skills. For any one angler to win three out of five of these events, he has to know bass inside and out and be doing something different from the other fishermen. This week, I’ll pick Davis's brain to learn how he's beat the best of the best in three out of five competitions and how you can become the best bass fisherman you can.Click to enlarge

If you'll notice that blue heron on the bank, when he's fishing, he seizes the opportunity when the time for him to strike arrives. But before then, he waits patiently and wades in the water for conditions to be right and the best fish to come along at the correct time for him to be successful. I believe that the bass fisherman's being patient is as critical if not more critical than any other aspect of a winning strategy.

Over the years, I've learned that for me fishing slowly and diligently produces more success than my fishing fast and trying to cover a lot of water. Having said this, let me also mention that knowing when to fish slowly is as critical if not more critical than fishing slowly is. When I have to learn a new lake that I've never fished before, I'll fish fast and cover and look at a vast expanse of water. I fish in what I call a machine-like or mechanical way. I define mechanical fishing as making numbers of casts during the day, staying on my trolling motor and covering all the water I can. I'm using the mechanical ability of the boat and the trolling motor to help me learn where on that lake the most bass are holding Click to enlargeand on what type cover those fish are concentrating. This approach works and makes a very-good tactic for successful bass fishing. When you're fishing fast, you have to be conscious of listening to what the fish are telling you. Are you catching the bass in the backs of pockets, in bushes, in coves or around logs? Where are the fish positioned, and how are they positioned? What are the bass doing at different times of the day under various water and weather conditions? If you know the answers to these questions, and you're not catching bass on one particular type lure, you may be able to return to that same location with another kind of lure at another time of day and still catch bass by fishing more thoroughly. So, just locating bass isn't enough for you to win a tournament. Often by fishing slower and more intensely, you can get the bass living in that area to bite.

When you catch a bass by fishing with a spinner bait, remember you're catching the easy bass. The aggressive bass are the bass that anybody can catch. Now, you need to return to that same region, fish it much more slowly, really cover the cover with your lures and try to catch the other bass there that aren't so easy to catch - the ones that often Click to enlargeother people can't and won't catch. Those tough-to-catch bass are the bass that usually win a tournament. To improve your bass fishing and catch more bass every time you go out, fish for, and learn to catch the bass that aren't easy, because these fish are the ones that nobody but you can and will catch.

At one time in the sport of bass fishing, you could just run from actively-feeding fish to actively-feeding fish and consistently produce good limits of bass. However, now because there's so much pressure on the lakes we fish, the number of easy fish has shrunk drastically, and the number of tough fish to catch is on the increase. When I start slow fishing, the lures I'll bet on most of the time will be my soft-plastic baits as well as my jigs and tubes.


Check back each day this week for more about MORE ON MARK DAVIS AND HIS $100,000 WEEKEND

Day 1: Versatility, Adaptability and Reading Skills - Keys to Success
Day 2: Patience
Day 3: Know When to Hold 'Em and When to Fold 'Em
Day 4: Stay in Focus
Day 5: The Streak



Entry 301, Day 2