MARK DAVIS: From ‘almost’ at Stage One to REDCREST, the year is off to a great start - Major League Fishing
MARK DAVIS: From ‘almost’ at Stage One to REDCREST, the year is off to a great start
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MARK DAVIS: From ‘almost’ at Stage One to REDCREST, the year is off to a great start

Image for MARK DAVIS: From ‘almost’ at Stage One to REDCREST, the year is off to a great start
Mercury pro Mark Davis is ready to carry momentum forward into REDCREST from Stage One. Photo by Phoenix Moore. Angler: Mark Davis.
March 7, 2023 • Mark Davis • Angler Columns

My season started off well. If someone would’ve told me I’d finish in second at the first Bass Pro Tour tournament of the season, I would’ve been tickled to death. But, I think it goes without saying that heading into the final day at Kissimmee with a 10 and then losing, well, I was hugely disappointed that day.

I had very limited knowledge of the area I fished. I just made it up as I went along. On the third day, I had a huge five-fish limit; and normally I would’ve backed off, but I knew with the weather change that area would be blown out, so in the last 30 minutes I went to find a new area for the last day.

On that final morning, I was hopeful I could hold the other anglers off. I told Tilly, my wife, that I needed 15 pounds to win. I caught 14 and lost by less than a pound.

I looked at my boat official, and his expression told the story. It was magical for Chris Lane, and misery on my end. Still, I did get off to a good start.

With REDCREST kicking off, I am excited as can be. I don’t think I’ve fished Lake Norman in over 25 years. I didn’t get a chance to go to the lake before the off-limits. I do know it has herring and spotted bass now, along with largemouth. I’m betting both bass species may come into play.

But, I’ll tell you, I’m really ready this year. I’ve dropped 30 pounds and feel better than I have in a decade. The last three years have been good, and this year it’s better than good. Let’s see if it equates to more good fishing for me.

When you’re 59 years old and don’t feel good, you don’t fish well; and when you do, you do. It’s a mental and physical state of well-being. When you are hurting and can’t do everything you’d like, well, that beats you up mentally. Being in better physical condition is very important to stay in this game.

The most important things for my health are a proper diet and plenty of rest. That’s why we stay in an RV. Tilly cooks our meals. I’ll tell you, having home-cooked meals is really a big part of staying healthy, along with sleeping in your own bed. We get to bed early and get up early, get the metabolism going, and get to the boat ramp.

Now, one thing I know I need to improve on is my use of forward-facing sonar. At Kissimmee, I read the water with my eyes, looked at the sonar, but not forward facing. I’m not sure if that would’ve helped at that tournament. It is so much fun fishing without the technology.

I tell you, I feel sorry for the fish. They can’t hide anymore, even a single big bass can be found. Not sure where the technology will end. But, it sure does help you catch a few more fish.

A younger angler will read this and say the old guy is complaining, but like the old cliché, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” I feel a little like that old dog. Using the technology doesn’t come naturally to the older generations.

You know, the cell phone generation, people less than 30, those guys grew up with advanced technology and played video games as kids. Forward-facing is natural to them. 

Guys like me gotta work at it. It helps me catch fish for sure; I’m just not tech savvy. I use it as just another tool, and probably should use it more. I see the younger pros and I swear they could run into you while looking at the screen.

Heck, an eagle could swoop down and get a 5 pound bass in front of them and they wouldn’t see it. 

I still like to see what’s around me, too.