John's Journal...


More Worst Days of Bass Fishing with Mark Davis

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: You're suppose to have fun when you fish for bass. When you go bass fishing, you don't expect to find yourself chained to a wall in a medieval dungeon to learn how much torture you can endure. However, many anglers earn their living professionally fishing for bass. Their vocations and jobs mean they have to go to work when they don't want to, fish in bad, nasty weather and endure sickness, disaster and disappointment as parts of their jobs, although most of us think of bass fishing as recreation. You may think that you've had a bad day of fishing before or fished in a really-bad bass tournament. But once you read the experiences of some of America's best bass fishermen and learn what's happened to them on their worst days of fishing or during the worst tournaments they've ever fished, your bad day of bass fishing may not seem so bad.

Click to enlargeMark Davis: Mark Davis, a 41-year-old angler from Mount Ida, Arkansas, won the Bassmaster Classic in 1995. With three Angler-of-the-Year titles, Davis' all-time BASS winnings total over $1 million. "I caught as many if not more bass than I'd ever caught in my life when I fished in a Lake Okeechobee tournament in Florida in 1988. My live well was full of enough big bass to make me the tournament leader. I cranked my engine, and I drove back to the take out point in Clewiston, Florida, feeling really good because I felt certain that if I wasn't the leader of the tournament, I'd be within the top five for the day. On my way back, I hit some rough water, and I didn't know it at the time, but the lid on my live well came open. One by one, my bass jumped out of the live well, and I didn't even realize what was happening until one of the bass hit me on the shoulder. I grabbed the fish and threw it on the floor of the boat because I was almost at the take-out point. I stopped my boat to pick up my bass and throw it back in the live well, and that's when I realized that four of my bass had jumped ship. The limit was seven bass, and when I'd left my fishing site, I had seven really-big bass in my live well, totaling 20 pounds. However, when I started taking bass out of my live well to go to the weigh-in, I only had three, weighing a total of 8 pounds. I knew when I went to the weigh-in that I'd lost my opportunity that year to go to the Bassmaster Classic. I was really upset, mad, aggravated and disappointed until the next day.

"Then I went back out on the water the next day and caught a really-big Click to enlargestring of bass. I was feeling much better and really thought I'd overcome my bad luck and was back on the winning track. When I got ready to run to the weigh-in, I felt confident that I'd move up in the standings. But, on my way back, my motor overheated and shut down. The engines we used back then had sensors that would shut the motors off until they cooled-down. After the motor cooled-down, the sensor would let the motor come back up to idle and run again. But as my luck would have it, the sensor got stuck and wouldn't reset. I could only get the boat to run at idle speed. I was 20 miles from the weigh-in with a great catch of bass, and I could only run at idle speed through alligators, snakes and mosquitoes to get back to the weigh-in point. Ordinarily I only would have needed 15 minutes to reach the check-in point, but at idle speed, the trip took me two hours. Although I had a great stringer of fish, because the weigh-in was over long before I got in, I had to release my entire catch. I was about as mad and upset as a fellow can be after a day of bass fishing. I had had two excellent days of bass fishing and should have been in the top five in the tournament. But I couldn't even weigh in my fish.

"We didn't have cell phones back in those days, but someone had come and found me and gotten word back to my wife, Tilly, that I'd be late coming in, and that she should meet me at the boat ramp with my boat's trailer. As I was coming into the boat ramp after dark, in the light at the courtesy dock, I could see my wife standing on the end of the dock. She was smiling. I started thinking to myself, 'Woman, don't be smiling. This Click to enlargeisn't funny. This is the second-worst day of fishing I've ever had in my life, and yesterday was the worst. There's nothing funny about coming in after dark and not being able to weigh in a really-big catch of bass. I've lost my chance of making the Classic, and the last thing on earth I want to see is you smiling.' Well, the more I looked at Tilly, the more she smiled at me, and the madder I got. I was steaming. I was mad about the day of fishing I had, but I was even madder at her for thinking there was something funny about what had happened to me. But I kept my mouth shut - at least until she pulled the boat out of the water, stepped out of the truck and smiled at me like the Cheshire Cat. Finally I was so mad I couldn't stand it. I snapped at her and said, 'Woman, what have you got to smile about after the two days that I have had?' And she answered, 'I gave my heart and soul to Jesus Christ today.' In that instant, I went from having the worst day of fishing in my career to the greatest day of my life. That night on that boat ramp, I finally realized that there's a whole lot more to life than tournament-bass fishing. What was the worst two days of fishing ever became the greatest days of my life."



Check back each day this week for more about MY WORST DAY OF BASS FISHING ...

Day 1 - Harold Allen and Chad Brauer
Day 2 - Worst Days of Fishing for Rick Clunn and Ken Cook
Day 3 - More Worst Days of Bass Fishing with Mark Davis
Day 4 - Worst Days of Bass Fishing for Paul Elias and David Fritts
Day 5 - Learn More about Pros' Worst Days of Bass Fishing

John's Journal


Entry 261, Day 3