UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Davis’ Brush Pile Recipe

Davis’ Brush Pile Recipe
Clent Davis

Growing up in Alabama, Clent Davis is a practiced hand at pretty much any kind of offshore fishing and most kinds of shallow fishing. What he’s best at is brush pile fishing. Running brush at Lake Ouachita produced the greatest final-day comeback in Forrest Wood Cup history and earned him a career-defining win in Cup.

When it comes to brush, Davis doesn’t do anything that’s too far from the norm, but he’s still got plenty of knowledge worth noting.

 

The right brush

A lot of brush pile fishing involves finding a quantity of productive brush piles. Though one or two good piles can add to a tournament day, you usually need quite a few to cull up to a winning bag. For Davis, that means finding them ahead of time with his Lowrance electronics.

“All your humps and points are going to have brush on them on lakes where people plant brush,” says Davis. “The best brush piles to me are on little sneaky turns or up in a gut or a drain. Those seem to be the best ones because they don’t get fished as much. I definitely mark the ones on the obvious points and humps, but whenever you can find those little golden nuggets – something not obvious on the map – those are the ones that put you over the top on a brush pile event.”

Because many piles that Davis and others regularly fish are man-made, there will usually be a lot of options on any given lake, with a majority in whatever depth of water the locals consider to be the best. Davis bases his search on the season and the water clarity.

“Early in the year the thermocline isn’t really a big deal; it’s more water clarity than anything. On Eufaula, where the water isn’t as clean, you’re looking in the 8- to 12-foot zone,” says Davis. “On Smith Lake, where it’s gin-clear, you’re looking in 20 to 35 feet. They can really get deep on that lake. Later in the year, when the thermocline sets in and it gets hot, you always want to fish close to it, but just above it.”

Davis can usually tell if brush has bass in it simply by looking at it with DownScan or sonar, but just because a pile appears to be barren doesn’t mean you should entirely ignore it.

“These are my thoughts,” says Davis. “This time of year, when the brush has been fished a lot and there aren’t just piles and piles of fish in it, your electronics are unbelievable, but there are going to be a couple lying on the bottom or real close to the brush that they aren’t going to pick up. If you believe there should be a fish there you probably should fish the brush pile.”

 

The bait buffet

Though some lakes have dominant brush baits, Davis likes having options on deck to hit the piles from multiple angles and to catch fish that are sitting over them and in them.

Typically, he starts with a swimbait on a leadhead, casting it from a distance and working it over the top of the brush. Then, still staying out a long way, he’ll toss a big Mister Twister Mag 12 BUZZ Worm on a wobble head.

After that, he moves in closer and begins branching out.

“I really like cranking brush, but that’s usually an earlier-in-the-year deal,” says Davis. “They kind of get conditioned to a crankbait. You want that crankbait to run deep enough to where it hits about halfway up the pile and you can work it back up. If you get one that runs too deep you’ll stick it in the bottom of the pile every time, and then you’re going to lose a crankin’ plug.”

When the fish aren’t about the crankbait, Davis has two other treble-hook options he likes.

“Another bait that I really like to throw in brush is a spoon,” shares Davis. “I throw the 6-inch Nichols Ben Parker Mini Magnum Flutter Spoon. If you get hung up the spoon is so heavy that you just go over to it and shake it and it falls out. It’s winning a lot of tournaments on brush pile lakes, and nobody is really talking about it. But my No. 1 bait on brush is a jerkbait. I throw a Duel Hardcore Minnow Flat 110SP. A jerkbait has been winning tournaments around brush on the Coosa forever.”

Davis also likes to have a jig on hand as well as a Ned rig or a shaky head for tough days. For his crankbait, he usually relies on a Duel Hardcore Crankbait in the 3+ or 4+ size. Basically, he wants to feed the fish what they want.

“Until you get dialed in on what they’re actually eating, there’s a rotation,” he says. “I always start out with a swimbait until I know, and then I’ll work something on the bottom, and then work a little closer with a jerkbait and maybe the plug or the spoon.”

 

Running for the win

The final piece of the brush pile game is running them efficiently. For Davis, that means heavy reliance on his Lowrance graphs and the Lowrance Point-1 GPS Antenna (a GPS antenna with a heading sensor built in). Pulling up and positioning for a precise cast each time is essential. Some days, he might only run a few brush piles, but other days he might run 40 or more in search of as many of the right bites as possible.

“You want to hit as many as you can, but it varies from lake to lake,” says Davis. “It depends on how well they’re biting. On Ouachita you had to really slow down to get bit, and you kind of had to limit yourself to 20 piles or so in a day. But when it’s really on fire and you get dialed in on the right bait you can really start running some piles then.”

Tags: jody-white  winning-strategy  2018-08-10-forrest-wood-cup- 

AOY Update: Mississippi River

AOY Update: Mississippi River

Ron Nelson has led the way in the Angler of the Year race in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit since the very early going. Now, with just one event left, he’s opened up a fairly massive gap between himself and the rest of the field. READ MORE »

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

Pro Circuit Heads to Sandusky

The season finale of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit will take place on Lake Erie, out of Sandusky, Ohio, on August 11-14. The third of three special Super Tournaments, over 200 pros from FLW and Major League Fishing (MLF) will fish in the event. The winner will take home $125,000 and the event will decide who wins the Angler of the Year title, the Polaris Rookie of the Year title and which Pro Circuit anglers qualify for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE presented by Toyota on Sturgeon Bay. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

Top 10 Baits from the Mississippi River

The top pros in the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament presented by OPTIMA Batteries on the Mississippi River ended up using fairly similar tactics to attack the river, but with slight variations throughout. Tom Monsoor won with a variety of unique jigs, but many of the other top finishers used more standard fare. READ MORE »

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

Mississippi River Practice with Buck

In his fourth year on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Grae Buck has really come into his own. A standout collegiate angler at Penn State, he’s now in the thick of the Angler of the Year race and cruising toward qualification for the Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota. READ MORE »

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

Scouting Pool 8 with Ormond

For Jake Ormond, this is his first time fishing north of Tennessee, and thus his first time fishing the upper Mississippi. He’s not the only one lacking Mississippi River experience in the field, but considering many of the Major League Fishing (MLF) anglers that are part of the Super Tournament field have competed on the river a number of times, he’s got his work cut out for him. READ MORE »

Assessing the ROY Race

Assessing the ROY Race

With the final two events of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit regular season slated for the Mississippi River and Sandusky Bay, on Lake Erie, there’s really no candidate that is perfectly suited for both. Because of that, the final two events set up well to test true fishing talent, and it won’t be easy for someone to get on a roll to close it out. READ MORE »

Cifuentes’ Chickamauga Mayfly Pattern

Cifuentes’ Chickamauga Mayfly Pattern

Adult mayflies only live for about 24 hours out of the water, but during that brief window, they can dramatically affect the prospects of catching a bunch of fish. At the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, Miles Burghoff based a lot of his success on schools of bass that were related to the mayfly hatch. Joey Cifuentes also keyed on the mayfly hatch, and his strategy provides a great playbook for responding to mayfly hatches in a variety of situations. READ MORE »

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Top 10 Patterns from Lake Erie

Lee Rogers mixed smallmouths from the nearby islands with a good largemouth day near Sandusky to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. Outside of Rogers, the top 10 was filled with folks making substantial runs eastward or to Michigan. It also proved helpful to actually get something going around Sandusky, both during days one and two and on the wind-hampered final day. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

Top 10 Baits from Lake Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie featured pretty tough fishing overall. On the first two days, many of the top pros ran to the Detroit River or St. Clair for their fish, and others plied the waters nearer Sandusky. On the final day, the entire field was confined to the waters in and around Sandusky Bay due to wind, and everyone switched to targeting largemouths. READ MORE »

Mundy Takes Erie Co-angler Title

Mundy Takes Erie Co-angler Title

Despite weighing in just 9 pounds, 9 ounces on the final day, it was still enough to move Dan Mundy of Swartz Creek, Mich., from second to first for the win in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. With a total of 38-12, Mundy takes home a new Phoenix boat package valued at over $33,000. READ MORE »

Rogers Wins from 8th on Erie

Rogers Wins from 8th on Erie

Starting the final day in eighth place, Lee Rogers of Newton, N.J., rocketed up the leaderboard with the biggest limit of the day to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. With the field confined to the area around Sandusky Bay due to wind, Rodgers brought 15 pounds, 10 ounces to the scale for a total of 48-12 to earn his first win with FLW. For his win, Rogers gets the trophy and a $32,439 paycheck. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 3

Erie Midday Update – Day 3

With big winds present even before putting boats in the water, it was obvious that day three of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was going to throw the anglers a curveball. After a short delay, the new boundaries were set from Marblehead Lighthouse to Cedar Point, and the pros blasted off in search of bass. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

The final day of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie is likely to change things up quite a bit. With many of the top pros making long runs, there’s a chance much of what happened on days one and two will be physically impossible on day three. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Erie Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event has been pretty slow across the board, and particularly for the leaders. Though the weather isn’t too bad and the wind is fairly manageable, the fishing in Erie is slower than it was yesterday. READ MORE »

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

Stokes Pulls Ahead on Erie

One of a number of pros who elected to make the run from Sandusky to the Detroit River, Troy Stokes pulled into the lead on day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie. READ MORE »

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Lake Erie Top 5 Patterns – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie was not dominated by St. Clair as some expected. Though St. Clair did produce the lead for Scott Dobson, a hodgepodge of techniques and locations got it done for the other top pros on Erie. READ MORE »

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

Erie Midday Update – Day 1

From a weather standpoint, day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie has been almost too perfect. Slick and hot from the start, anglers have been able to go wherever they want and fish however they want. READ MORE »

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

Dobson Takes Slim Lead on Erie

The weights on day one of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on Lake Erie were about what folks expected: plenty of quality fish, but a lack of the plump 4- and 5-pounders that Erie is so known for. Weighing one of only two bags over 20 pounds, Scott Dobson put 20-12 on the scale after a day of fishing that took him as far from Sandusky as the mouth of the St. Clair River. READ MORE »

Ready to Rock on Erie

Ready to Rock on Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division has undergone more than its share of schedule shuffling this year, but the kickoff is finally here. Taking off out of Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, the time to chase smallmouths has arrived. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »