UPCOMING EVENT: Rayovac FLW Series - 2015 - Lake Erie

Davis hangs on for first FLW Tour win

Mark Davis shares a hug with his wife, Tilly, after winning the FLW Tour event on Fort Loudoun-Tellico lakes.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - In Mark Davis' fishing career, there is little he has not accomplished. He is a past BASS Angler of the Year, past Bassmaster Classic champion and a winner of five BASS events. Today, the well-known Mount Ida, Ark., angler added another major achievement to his long list of fishing accolades: a Wal-Mart FLW Tour win and a $100,000 payday. An FLW Tour win eluded Davis when he fished the tour during its early years from 1997 to 1999. Then he left the FLW Tour from 2000 to 2005 to focus his fishing efforts solely on BASS competition. Davis returned to the FLW Tour in 2006, but with limited success. Last year he learned that the bigger fields of 200 boats were going to require some regrouping in his overall fishing approach. Given that Davis struggled in his first year back in FLW competition, some began to speculate that large fields might be Davis' nemesis.Mark Davis holds up a check for $100,000 after winning his first FLW Tour event. Today, Davis laid all that speculation to rest when he weighed in three bass for 7 pounds, 14 ounces to win the FLW Tour event on Fort Loudoun and Tellico lakes with a two-day total of 27 pounds, 11 ounces. Whether it's 50 boats or 200 boats, it's hard to hold back the pure fishing talent, ability and knowledge of a legend like Mark Davis. "It's taken me a little while to learn what I was doing wrong in these larger-field tournaments," Davis said after his win. "I was running away from the boats and, in turn, running away from the fish. In limited-field tournaments, you have the luxury of finding something all to yourself. That's not the case out here. "The bottom line is, mentally, I had to accept the fact that there are going to be boats everywhere, every day - during practice and the tournament - and I had to just get in an area and figure out the fish better than the competition." Davis feels like he really turned the corner at Lake Travis in February, where he finished 16th. He said, "Instead of investing my practice time running away from boats, I started spending my time studying an area and really understanding what the fish are doing in that area better than the other boats that are going to fish it. "It's important to understand how the fishing pressure of the other boats will impact the fish over the course of a week and make adjustments for that." This week was a perfect example of Davis' new strategy. He fished near the lower end of Loudon, a popular spot for many of the other 199 contestants. He focused his fishing efforts on points and small humps in 4 to 10 feet of water that were adjacent to spawning coves. Mark Davis showing off the two smallmouths that brought him victory."Back when practice started, there were a lot more boats fishing the same water that I was fishing," he said. "But when that big warmup hit, it kind of drew the boats into the pockets to look for spawners. At first, I almost got sucked in too. But then I backed out and decided to spend more time closely patterning prespawn-spawn fish on the outsides that everyone else was leaving in favor of sight-fish." Davis did sight-fish a few fish off beds during the week, but his main pattern was using wake baits or swirl baits along the surface to catch prespawn fish that were feeding on shad schools in the top layer of the water column. Using both a Bomber Long A and King Shad by Strike King, Davis crawled the baits along the surface to tease fish up. The technique helped Davis score a commanding lead after day three with a 19-pound, 13-ounce catch. But today, he left the door open with just three bass. "I needed calm to catch my fish, and we had wind," he said of being two fish short of a limit. "I had about an hour and a half of calm this morning, and I caught two nice smallmouths. But once the wind got up, I couldn't make it work anymore. And to be quite honest, I just didn't change with the fish today." In his final remarks about the event, Davis provided some words of wisdom: "After a day like yesterday, I start to feel like I might be gaining a little knowledge on these old fish. But after a day like today, I realize that we are forever students of this game." Lefebre charges for second When the final weigh-in ended, Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre of Union City, Pa., was Kellogg's pro Dave Lefebre of Uniontown, Pa., finished runner-up with a two-day total of 25-1.the closest angler to try to close the gap on Davis. Lefebre weighed in a five-bass limit today, including four smallmouths, for 13 pounds, 11 ounces to finish the event as runner-up with a two-day total of 25 pounds, 1 ounce worth $50,000. "I found those four smallmouths on bed yesterday when it was clear and calm," he said. "But I couldn't catch them because they were too finicky, and I didn't have the time to fool with them." Lefebre essentially ran over the fish yesterday while looking and felt that the time needed to catch the fish would be better spent looking for other ones. "When you run over them like that, it takes a while for them to settle back down in the bed," he explained. "So instead of fishing for them right then, I carefully cross-triangulated the beds with lineups on the bank. When I returned today, I could make the perfect casts to the beds without the fish even knowing I was there." After two top-10s in the first two FLW Tour events of the 2007 season, Lefebre now leads the Land O'Lakes Angler of the Year race with 393 points. Williams finishes third Land O' Lakes pro Keith Williams of Conway, Ark., finished in the third position with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 12 ounces worth $40,000.Land O'Lakes pro Keith Williams of Conway, Ark., finished in the third position with a two-day total of 24 pounds, 12 ounces worth $40,000. Williams also made a hard charge for Davis in the closing hours of the event by changing with the conditions and catching a five-fish limit for 13 pounds, 13 ounces today. He started the day finesse fishing near the dam, but then switched to a spinnerbait and a topwater to catch his two biggest fish. "When the wind really started blowing, I couldn't take that finesse stuff any longer," he said. "I picked up a spinnerbait and caught a nice smallmouth off a point, and then switched to a spook and caught my biggest largemouth. "This tournament was about shifting gears every day," he added. "I made the top 10 by power fishing up in the river. Then yesterday I finesse fished. And today, I power fished with the wind and rain." Jones jumps to fourth National Guard pro Derek Jones of Chicago caught three big bass today for National Guard pro Derek Jones of Chicago, Ill., caught three big bass today for 12 pounds, 14 ounces to finish fourth with a two-day total of 22 pounds, 6 ounces worth $30,000.12 pounds, 14 ounces to finish fourth with a two-day total of 22 pounds, 6 ounces worth $30,000. Jones revisited his smallmouth hot spot that gave him the day-two lead, but given the weather, he felt like he was spinning his wheels. "From there, I tied on a Triple Impact topwater bait - it's a large topwater, waking-type bait - and just started running different water," he said "That's how I caught the big smallmouth and big largemouth. Later in the day, I caught one more fish off a lay-down on a Beaver." Fukae fifth Shinichi Fukae holds up his two biggest from day four. Fukae finished the event in fourth place in the Pro Division.Checking in the biggest limit of the day was BP pro Shinichi Fukae of Minneola, Texas. His five-bass limit weighed 14 pounds, 7 ounces, pushing his two-day total to 22 pounds, 3 ounces for fifth place and $20,000. After sight-fishing small buck bass yesterday, Fukae changed his tactics with the weather to fish topwaters and Senkos today. Interestingly and similar to Jones, Fukae mentioned catching his two biggest topwater bass on a Triple Impact made by Shimano. "I throw the Triple Impact on Yozuri 16-pound Hybrid line," Fukae said. "It helps make a big wake on the surface." Rest of the best Rounding out the top 10 pros in the FLW Tour event in Knoxville, Tenn.: 6th: Jay Yelas of Tyler, Texas, two-day total of 22-3, $19,000 7th: Harmon Davis of Marlow, Okla., two-day total of 21-12, $18,000 8th: John Sappington of Willard, Mo., two-day total of 21-6, $17,000 9th: Darrel Robertson of Jay, Okla., two-day total of 20-5, $16,000 10th: Thanh Le of Las Vegas, two-day total of 12-1, $15,000

Tags: headline-story  rob-newell 

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Matual Masters Erie

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Lake Erie Day 3 Midday Update

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Top 5 Patterns From Lake Erie Day 2

Pennsylvania pro Dave Lefebre and Ohio pro Jared Rhode tied for the day-two lead in Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division action on Lake Erie with 43 pounds, 9 ounces. Both pros caught their fish on drop-shots. Here are the details of the rest of the top five. READ MORE »

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Lefebre, Rhode Tied at the Top

Notching his second day of 20-plus pounds, FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre tallied 43 pounds, 9 ounces and tied day-one leader Jared Rhode for the day-two top spot at the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Lefebre caught his 22-3 limit on Rapala DT-10 crankbaits, while Rhodes tempted his 19-15 catch with drop-shots. READ MORE »

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Lake Erie Day 2 Midday Update

With winds shifting from yesterday’s northerly blow to a warmer southerly direction, day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie brought calmer conditions with greater ability to methodically work key spots. Offshore, waves ran 1 to 2 feet, with leeward areas behind the Lake Erie Islands nearly flat. READ MORE »

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Rhode Cracks 23-10 for Erie Lead

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Top 5 Patterns from Lake Erie Day 1

Taking off this morning, the FLW Tour pro from Erie, Pa., knew the day’s north wind would keep him from making a long run to a big-fish spot close to his home. However, keeping it local and fishing a little past Pelee Island to the west delivered a solid second-place catch. READ MORE »

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Lake Erie Day 1 Midday Report

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Top 10 Patterns from the Forrest Wood Cup

If you don’t believe that summertime bass fishing in the dog days of August is all over the map, just take a look at the top 10 patterns from the best bass pros on earth at the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Brad Knight captured the Cup by mining one small creek end for four days. But beyond that, the rest of the top 10 patterns ran the gamut, from targeting schoolers over 40 feet to wolf packs of bass on the bank to brush piles to grass to mud flats and everywhere in between. Here’s a rundown. READ MORE »

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Knight Slays Ouachita

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 4 Coverage

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Wheeler Back in Front

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 3

Jacob Wheeler may have regained his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on day three, but Brad Knight is right on his heels. Going into the final day, the two pros are separated by just 12 ounces. The margin is tight, and what’s going to make the final day fun to watch is the difference in the two anglers’ strategies. Wheeler is running a topwater pattern on the main lake, and fishing new water is part of his plan. Knight, however, has caught almost all of his weight from one 250-yard stretch of bass-rich creek channel. He literally knows every target he is fishing by heart. On the surface, Knight’s area looks to be the better bet. But he has shared the general area with Brandon Cobb and Mark Daniels Jr. for three solid days. And the bad news, at least for Knight, is that both Cobb and Daniels will be sharing the water with him again on the final day as both made the top-10 cut. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 3 Coverage

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Ramie Races into the Lead

On the back of a 17-pound, 14-ounce limit, which is the biggest of the tournament thus far, Ramie Colson Jr. jumped from seventh place to take over the lead at the halfway point of the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. Colson’s two-day total is 31 pounds, 1 ounce, which puts him almost 3 pounds ahead of Tennessee’s Brad Knight. The Forrest Wood Cup, which is hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, moves into its top-20 round on Saturday. The top 10 pros after Saturday’s weigh-in advance to Sunday’s final round for a shot at the $500,000 top prize. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 2

At times, bass fishing can be a lot like real estate, where the three most important rules are location, location and location. The 2015 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita presented by Walmart is starting to become a bit of a real estate game where location is the primary consideration in who climbs the leaderboard. And those mining the backs of creeks and tributaries are on the prime pieces of real estate. Consider that after day two, four of the top five pros are concentrating their fishing efforts in the back ends of creeks or rivers. All of these areas fit a classic late-summer, early-fall pattern where shad pack into the back of creek ditches that meander through shallow flats. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 2 Coverage

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Wheeler Hunting History

It’s never been done before, and it hasn’t happened yet, but Jacob Wheeler is in prime position to become the first two-time Forrest Wood Cup champion in history. Wheeler, of Indianapolis, Ind., brought in a 16-pound, 2-ounce limit of Lake Ouachita bass on the first day of the Cup, which is presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. READ MORE »

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Top 5 Patterns from the Cup Day 1

After day one of the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita, several things have come to light. For one, this event is not likely to produce a runaway win for anyone like it did when Scott Martin won here in 2011. Second, when the pros said Ouachita was going to be stingy, they meant it – only 29 of the 50 pros checked in limits today. Third, firm patterns are hard to come by on Lake Ouachita in August. Jacob Wheeler took the lead on day one in the event that’s presented by Walmart and hosted by Visit Hot Springs and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. With the help of a 5-pound bass, Wheeler weighed in a limit of 16 pounds, 2 ounces, but he had to sample a lot of different areas for his catch. Here’s how the rest of the top five got it done. READ MORE »

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Forrest Wood Cup Day 1 Coverage

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