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

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson

Roaming Cumberland with Davidson
Ryan Davidson

As big as she is, Lake Cumberland is pretty daunting to break down for anglers who haven’t been there before. Luckily for Ryan Davidson, he’s not in that group.

Davidson, a West Virginia native, qualified for the Costa FLW Series Championship out of the Northern Division and has fished the T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Mountain Division quite a bit. He’s spent a lot of time on Cumberland and nearby Dale Hollow in the cooler months. As such, he’s one of a handful that pundits are definitely keeping an eye on heading into the championship, and he was kind enough to let me tag along for part of the second practice day on the Kentucky reservoir.

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

We meet in the dark at a ramp down the lake. Davidson and practice partner Jared Rudd got here pretty early, which is good because the water is so low that the ramp we’re at currently only has one lane open and is about a mile down the bank.

After uncovering his boat and waiting on Todd Castledine and Bryan Thrift to use the ramp, Davidson finally gets the boat in the water and heads out under overcast skies.

Idling out, I ask Davidson how he’s feeling about the derby, especially with how nasty the forecast is for Thursday.

“I seem to do better in foul-weather tournaments,” says Davidson. “Half the guys are just worried about staying warm, I guess. I don’t know why it is; I’d rather it not be wet, but I don’t mind the cold.”

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

After making a short run, Davidson sets down at the mouth of a pocket and idles around a bit before heading farther back and picking up a topwater. He works along a bare bank for a while and eventually dips into the end of it, which is choked out with small trees that would be submerged at a normal water level. He threads his buzzbait between them with each cast.

After a few interesting casts in and around trees, Davidson connects with a scrawny largemouth that was right up on the bank, undoubtedly living past where it thought an angler could reach.

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Working out of the creek for a bit, Davidson cranks up and makes a short run to scan around off the bank a little more. He’s hunting for bass around bait, and after a bit he stops on some and gets up to fish.

Davidson targets these fish mostly vertically and quickly hooks and loses a small one. Then, things seem to go dead. He meanders around off the bank, chasing the shad and bass and not catching.

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

The clouds are gathering as Davidson makes his next move. He stops on some more deep bait. Still dropping vertically, he sticks a spotted bass in short order, but then seems unable to catch more or bigger models. He’s obviously a little frustrated with the uncooperative deep fish, but still wants to plug away at them a bit longer. 

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

After digging for some fresh options, Davidson fishes a little more and then pulls the plug on the current location. He figures he might get more love on the deep bite with more sun and uses this time to start running up a creek.

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Davidson runs at a moderate speed toward the back of the creek but suddenly whips around. He’s spotted a bunch of bait worth investigating. But, after dropping down again, Davidson comes up empty once more.

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

He now turns toward the bank. Davidson begins alternating between a crankbait and a topwater. As we go, I ask about the water level’s effect on things, as it is currently lower than it’s been in years.

“I don’t think it affects it a whole lot, other than the shoreline cover,” says Davidson. “And there’s still plenty of cover. It just changes the areas I know.”

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

After cranking up and moving a bit, Davidson plops back down and picks up a topwater again. The sun is still obscured by clouds, so he’s decided to keep running the bank. Almost as soon as he starts fishing he’s rewarded with a decent largemouth. They seem to be easy to come by on the bank.

“These bank fish are so skinny,” he notes. “If you can find them out there in the bait they’re big ones. You just gotta find the right deal.”

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Another move takes us a bit farther out of the creek, through a little squall of rain, and to another steep, rocky bank. There, Rudd pops a smallmouth that just barely squeaks across the 15-inch mark, and Davidson garners another topwater bite.

Then, we’re on the move again.

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Davidson pulls up to another bank along the main drag of the creek and whips a few casts with a swimbait before setting down to re-rig a heaver head. As he rigs, I get the lowdown on practice.

“It’s medium, I’d say,” relays Davidson. “I can get bites. I haven’t found the winners though. The lake isn’t as far along, as far as the water temperature dropping, as I was hoping for. It’s still about 70 degrees, so it isn’t as far toward the winter as I’d like to see it. I typically don’t start fishing here until December. But, I know what they get on. I just obviously haven’t found that yet. I just can’t figure out the smallmouth deal right now. What they should be doing they’re not.”

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

After spending a fair bit of time with the swimbait in hand, Davidson goes back to the topwater as he edges into a pocket. Slinging it between two trees, he gets it hung in a bunch of someone else’s line, which forces him to do a full-scale retrieval. After that, we jump back out to the main section of the creek for some more topwater action.

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Firing along, Davidson picks up a little spotted bass that might keep, but it sure isn’t what he’s looking for on tournament day. Then, with the stretch of shoreline he’s fishing petering out into a cove, he gets ready to bring me back to the ramp.

 

Ryan Davidson

Ryan Davidson

Davidson drops me off at the ramp, then he and Rudd roll back out. The sun is shining now, and it’s beginning to get warm. In other words, it could be time to make some hay.

Tags: lake-cumberland  -ryan-davidson  -mountain-division  -plopper  jody-white  pre-tournament  2019-10-31-lake-cumberland 

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