Davis' REDCREST Top 10 Showed Blueprint for Experienced Angler Resurgence in 2021 - Major League Fishing

Davis’ REDCREST Top 10 Showed Blueprint for Experienced Angler Resurgence in 2021

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Mark Davis fishes on Lake Eufaula during REDCREST 2021 where he finished in 10th place. Photo by Phoenix Moore
March 12, 2021 • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour

For the first time since joining the Bass Pro Tour, Bass Fishing Hall of Famer Mark Davis grabbed a Top-10 finish during REDCREST on Lake Eufaula. Thanks to Davis’ 10th-place finish, he now has 65 Top-10 finishes in his career and has fished in 24 championship-level events.

After a rough first season on the Bass Pro Tour in 2019, Davis turned it around in 2020 enough to qualify for REDCREST for the first time. MLF NOW! analyst Marty Stone says he was very impressed by Davis’ week on Lake Eufaula and expects to see more of the same in the 2021 season.

“I think Mark has really picked up his competition level since joining the Bass Pro Tour,” Stone said. “He’s got a lot of miles on his joints and it can be hard for him to keep his fishing pace up to the standards of a Jordan Lee or Jacob Wheeler. So instead, Davis uses his experience to narrow down specific areas where he thinks he can catch multiple fish as opposed to running around the lake looking for as many areas as he can find. That makes a huge difference for a guy like that.”

The three-time B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year is 57 years old entering the 2021 season, but age is just a number. Davis showed that he can still compete with the best in the world and fish at a high level. Stone says that Davis’ age can be more of an advantage for him in this new year rather than a hindrance.

“Mark Davis reads water better than anybody, and it showed during a tough week on Lake Eufaula,” Stone said. “Those fish were weird all week long, but Mark knew how to catch weird-acting fish because he’s been in that situation before. Mark is also a great outdoorsman and understands the behaviors of fish on different bodies of water thanks to his years of experience. Just because he’s in a group of ‘older anglers,’ doesn’t mean he’s slowing down.”

Evolving Experience into New-Era Philosophies

Davis not only proved that he can still compete at a high level himself, but also his fellow seasoned anglers, according to Stone. Stone believes that Davis’ success is just the beginning for the more experienced anglers on the Bass Pro Tour.

“I think we’re really going to see a resurgence of the older anglers this year,” Stone predicted. “These young anglers have been beating the older guys for over a year and a half now. I think the older anglers are starting to realize that professional bass fishing is a 365-day-a-year job now. If you want to keep up and compete in this era, you have to stay sharp with your technology, your skills and your knowledge.”

Stone cites a growing social media and YouTube presence as one of the main reasons the younger generation is finding so much success. In an era where a growing fishing audience is constantly craving content, the younger pros have learned that they can not only increase their popularity, but increase their knowledge by diving head-first into bass fishing season year round. That’s something Stone thinks the older generation is going to have to adapt to if they want to stay competitive.

“Don’t get me wrong, everyone needs downtime and some sort of an offseason,” Stone qualified. “However, you can’t show up to the first tournament of the year anymore and that be the first time you’ve fished since August or September. Today, you need to be in ‘fishing mode’ months before the new season starts, or you’re behind. I believe the older anglers are starting to understand that now. Hunting season can still be your escape, but that last day in the deer stand needs to be immediately followed by your first day in the bass boat.”

In Stone’s eyes, the world of professional bass fishing is evolving, not changing. He says that guys who’ve made a solid living fishing professional for years don’t need to change the way they fish. He advises that adapting and evolving into this new era is how experience can match, if not beat, innovation.

“Evolving means these older anglers are going to be fishing more than they ever have before,” Stone said. “If they’re willing to do that, I don’t think there’s any reason that we shouldn’t see more older anglers competing for wins and AOY titles in the future.”