MARK DAVIS - BASS FISHING'S TOUGHEST QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Knowing When To Hold 'Em And When To Fold 'Em Pays
Note: The most-difficult question for a bass fisherman to answer is, "How
do you know when to change lures, when to change water and when to change
fishing techniques?" Often the difference in catching bass and not catching
bass is your ability to know when to change. Making the right decisions
at the correct times will spell victory or defeat for a tournament bass
fisherman or a weekend angler. On Table Rock Lake in Missouri, during
the second week of March, Mark Davis' ability to know when to hold 'em
and when to fold 'em was the reason he won $100,000 in the BASS tournament
there. If you'll read each day's upload this week, you'll see how Davis
made those critical decisions at the right time each day to catch more
bass than the best 150 fishermen in the nation. This week's information
may be some of the most important you'll learn about catching bass. So,
don't miss a day this week.
Question: Mark, tell me about that last day.
Davis: After the takeoff, I made the run down the lake without any problem.
The weather was good, and I felt confident I could fish the Wiggle Wart
and the Series 3 crankbait in the same places where I'd caught bass the
day before and produce a winning stringer. As soon as I shut the engine
down and began to fish, I caught two keeper bass. By 8:30 a.m., I had
a five-fish limit caught, and I was feeling pretty good. About 9:30 a.m.,
the wind began to blow about 30- to 35-mph and continued to blow all day
just that strong. To make accurate casts with the crankbait, you don't
need any wind, so casting was really difficult and being able to hold
the boat where I wanted to fish was a real challenge. Another problem
the wind created was it blew a lot of leaves and pine needles into the
water. So, on almost every other cast I'd get some type debris on my crankbaits.
felt I was in good shape, however, because I had about a 15-pound limit
in the livewell, and I'd caught those fish before 8:00 a.m. when the wind
started blowing. I felt that unless the other competitors had caught a
limit early like I did, I really had a shot to win. When the Wiggle Wart
and the Strike King Series 3 failed to produce, I went back to my Strike
King spinner bait and caught two nice bass. I also took several fish on
the Strike King jig, but the Wiggle Wart produced two big bass.
Question: When you arrived at the weigh-in, were you
concerned because you were 2 pounds behind?
Davis: Sure, I was concerned. But I was confident that I'd caught the
best stringer of bass that I could catch. As bad as the weather conditions
were, I thought I had a chance to overcome that 2-pound deficit. I was
going to the scales with 17 pounds, 9 ounces, and I won the tournament
by 8 pounds. Roland Martin, who had the lead, only caught 7 pounds. Roland
was the only one I was really worried about because he's a seasoned pro
who knows how to fish in any kind of weather and has as much, if not more,
experience as any angler on the trail. I knew that if anyone could beat
me, more than likely, it would be Roland Martin.
What do you feel was the key to your success in winning the $100,000 in
Davis: I had to scramble every day of the tournament. Every day but the
last day, I had to change where I was fishing, how I was fishing and the
baits I was using. I didn't find the bass that won the tournament for
me until the last 30 minutes of the next to the last day. However, throughout
this tournament, I made right decisions about when to change water, baits
and tactics. Experience has taught me not to be afraid to change strategies
when the tactic I'm using isn't producing bass, and/or not producing bass
that are big enough to win.
Question: Mark, how do you fight the battle with yourself
to abandon the plan that has produced bass the day before and go look
for new water and a new plan?
Davis: I've learned from experience that if I'm not willing to change
when fishing conditions change, then I can't do well in a tournament.
Ten or 15 years ago when I first started tournament fishing, making those
changes was much more difficult for me than it is today. Experience has
taught me you've got to be on the best pattern and use the best lures
and the best tactics based not only on the day you're fishing, but the
fishing conditions at the moment you're fishing. When fishing conditions
change, you can't be afraid to change tactics and lures and look for new
water. If I'd been hard-headed and decided that during this tournament
I only was going to fish certain creeks with specific tactics, I wouldn't
have won. I'd established that stained water was where the bass were.
So, if the creek where I was fishing and catching a lot of bass on the
day before began to clear up, I knew I had to leave that creek and find
stained water in another place. Something I knew about this lake was that
most of these creeks didn't carry large populations of bass. So, if I
caught four or five bass out of one creek, I may very well have caught
all the bass that were in that creek or at least all the bass that were
actively feeding in that creek.
Mark, what does this win mean to you, other than the obvious, the $100,000
paycheck you will take home?
Davis: This win is the first BASS win I've had since winning the Bassmaster
Classic in 1995. I've won Angler of the Year three times since then, and
I've fished consistently well on tour. However, this win is the first
one I've had in a major tournament on the BASS circuit since 1995. I feel
that it really renews the faith that my sponsors have in me and will continue
to have in me. I really needed this win to further my career and prove
at least to myself that I could still win a tour event. This win was a
great one for me and not only for me, but also for my family and all the
people who have believed in me for so long.
Visit the Strike
King Web site to learn more.