“I can’t believe 20th place in our group and in Group A is around 10 pounds,” Davis said perplexed. “You should normally be able to catch 10 pounds an hour here.”
While Davis makes a good point, the Bass Fishing Hall of Famer seemed to make everything work in his favor on his first day of competition. Davis ended Monday with 12 bass for 28 pounds, 2 ounces, giving him 2 pounds more than second-place angler Gerald Spohrer and puts him more than 17 pounds above the Toro Cut Line.
Davis caught the majority of his bass on a Strike King Red Eyed Shad lipless crankbait to start his morning. The Arkansas pro had 10 bass to his credit just an hour and a half into his opening round. That was due to a large school of offshore largemouth that Davis found during his practice in the Veach Basin area of Sam Rayburn.
“The fish weren’t shallow, they were probably around 6 or 7 feet deep,” Davis said. “I was having to let the bait sink on the hydrilla flat and then yo-yo and thump it in the grass. I just went to the area that I felt like the most fish were at and where I would be able to catch them.”
Davis found plenty of fish, for sure. By his estimation, he brought around 75 fish into his boat all day long, but only 12 were of the 2-pound variety. He said he was pretty surprised that he was unable to register a bass above 3 pounds.
“When you fish the way I was fishing on Sam Rayburn this time of the year, you’re supposed to be able to catch a few 5-pounders,” Davis explained. “I didn’t even see one all day. But you just take what the lake gives you and that’s what I did. It got me to the top after all.”
While Davis says that “normally” he would have been able to put a few 5-pounders in the boat, he admits there’s nothing really “normal” about this week on Sam Rayburn that he’s seen during his three days in east Texas.
“Rayburn isn’t fishing like it normally does in mid-March,” Davis said. “I’m not entirely sure why, but it may have something to do with that deep freeze we saw last month. It’s killed a lot of the grass and the fish just aren’t behaving like normal at all. I know this, though: there’s a lot of bait fish in that area. That’s what’s holding those fish in there and if the bait stays, so will those fish.”
Davis returns to Sam Rayburn on Wednesday with the rest of Group B. The pros will try to end Wednesday’s competition day inside the Top 20 and above the Toro Cut Line for the right to move on to Thursday’s Knockout Round. Group A’s final Qualifying Round begins on Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. CT.
The 40 anglers in Group A will return Sam Rayburn Tuesday morning as qualifying competition continues. Nineteen anglers apiece will advance out of Group A and Group B to fish the Knockout Round on Thursday. The top angler from each Qualifying Round advances straight to the Championship Round.
You can catch all three periods of competition on the MLF NOW! live stream, starting at 7:45 a.m. CT on Monday. Watch for free on MajorLeagueFishing.com, the MLF app on the MyOutdoorTV app.