What Happened?Mark Davis on Old Hickory Lake


Tennessee Triumph preview: A Pro's Approach with Mark Davis

Three-time Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year Mark Davis predicted before the Tennessee Triumph that Old Hickory Lake was fishing much like an ordinary Cumberland River impoundment in summertime. He also theorized there would be more fish caught than many observers thought.

David based those predictions on his practice days. It was obvious that he was on a good ledge bite before the tournament started and expected that bite to continue through the four days of competition.

But things change.

"I had a good crankbait bite on the ledges before we started, but two things happened that killed it, absolutely killed it. First, they never pulled water during the tournament. We all know that for a ledge bite to hold there has to be some water movement. There wasn't any.

"The other thing was that after I caught my good sack on Thursday (14 pounds, 5 ounces) I moved off my spot. I was saving it for Friday and Saturday. Unfortunately, after I left some of the other guys who had been watching me moved in and caught the rest of the fish. They absolutely ruined it. After they got done the bite was over. It was ruined!"

And so Friday was tough on the Elite Series pro. Davis was forced to move shallow with little or no practice at that depth. He weighed two bass on Friday. He did, however, manage to recover somewhat on Saturday with 10-8. Still, that wasn't enough to make Sunday's Top 12 cut.

He finished the tournament in a disappointing 19th place.

The top two finishers — Kevin Wirth and Bill Lowen — both fished shallow, backwater feeder creek areas all four days. They didn't rely on the ledges and were rewarded for it.

In fairness, Davis warned us about this. He said that several anglers were fishing way up the river but that he hadn't been up there so he couldn't comment on what they were doing or exactly where they were doing it. He did, however, say "something must be happening.& They're not running that far for nothing." He was right. They weren't.

Davis' weight predictions were no better. He believed a few stringers would reach the 18-20 pound mark over the course of four days. They didn't. The biggest sack of the tournament was Wirth's Day 1 total of 17 pounds, 2 ounces. No one else broke the 16-pound mark.

He also said the Top 50 cut weight (Saturday) would be 20 pounds. In fact it was right at 17 pounds. He overestimated the Top 50 cut weight, too. He predicted it would take 39 pounds to fish on Sunday. That weight was just over 33 pounds.

Davis did better with his winning weight and big bass predictions, though.

He estimated an angler would need 55-60 pounds to win. First place finisher, Kevin Wirth, weighed 55 pounds, 10 ounces. Second place finisher, Bill Lowen, weighed 50 pounds, 5 ounces. That's close.

And, he said the Purolator Big Bass would push 7 pounds at the scales. Randy Howell caught that one. It weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces. Again, fairly close.

Finally, Davis told us to watch Kevin VanDam and Takahiro Omori. VanDam claimed the 32nd slot. Omori carried just three bass to the scales over two days. They weighed a total of 5-15. VanDam's finish would be respectable, except that it's VanDam. Only a masochist would have wanted to watch Omori.

Davis gets a (generous) Gentleman's C.

Tennessee Triumph preview: A Pro's Approach with Mark Davis