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franklin county times

Mark Davidson goes after lunker bass

By Staff
June 8, 2001
Some anglers fish for food, while others fish for sport. Many fishermen venture forth on our waters in search of large numbers of bass. Mark Davidson, however, is constantly in search of that lunker bass. One only has to look on the walls of his den to see that he has been very successful in that pursuit over the years. Lunker bass ranging from over 8 pounds to just under 12 pounds grace his den walls and pay tribute to the large bass and the man who caught them. While Davidson is constantly in search of those big lunker bass, he still knows a thing or two about catching lots of bass.
Like many anglers, he spent his younger years fishing just for bass. Most of the time he was very successful at catching large numbers. After catching a nice lunker on one trip, however, he was determined to learn everything he could about searching for and catching big bass. Although he gained an invaluable amount of knowledge while on the water, much of his big fish expertise and knowledge came from a book on trophy bass fishing by a California bass angler. In the book, the author revealed many techniques and tactics that were essential in chasing large bass.
It didn't take Mark long to realize that big bass were much different than the smaller ones. After much research and on-the-water experience, Davidson realized that anglers must change their mindset and tactics if they want to consistently land the lunker bass. Like most bass anglers today, Davidson utilizes only artificial baits while fishing for bass.
Large baits; lunker bass
He also likes to utilize very large baits when concentrating on lunker bass. One of his largest bass came on a very large worm. In fact, that 11 pound 7 ounce monster was caught on a 9-inch black Zoom worm with red glitter. That fish was landed with one of his older fiberglass rods that was teamed with a Shimano reel and12-pound line. On that particular trip, he had substituted the fiberglass rod for a graphite rod that he had broken just prior to the trip. As it turned out, the added flexibility of the rod enabled him to land the bass.
One of the techniques that Davidson has learned and mastered over the years is to fish very slowly. That technique was utilized in catching the 11 pounder, as well as many other bass over the years. According to Davidson, big fish are not always attracted to smaller baitfish. Most of the time, they want to enjoy an easy meal without expending much energy. By using big baits and slowing down his retrieve, he was able to start catching more lunker bass. "Many times I will cast the bait out and let it sit for a little bit before retrieving it," stated Davidson. "When you think you're going as slow as you can, then cut that down to about half and go even slower. "
Versatility a must
Another key to Davidson's success in catching big fish comes from being versatile. With the ever-changing conditions and weather patterns, anglers must be willing to adopt new techniques and utilize different types of baits to continually be on the cutting edge of fishing.
While fishing Kemper Lake one day, Davidson caught a 10 pound 2 ounce bass on a twin tail hula grub manufactured by Gary Yamamoto. The green and red flake bait was new to our area at the time and the timing was just right. The big bruiser had most likely never seen such a bait as this before. This angler has also caught many bass in excess of 8 pounds on a variety of lures with a Rapala being one that continually produces under the right conditions. The large artificial worms in his tackle box have no rival however, when it comes to catching lunker bass.
Lunker spots, too
Another one of Davidson's specialties is catching lunker spotted bass. These feisty critters put up one whale of a fight and they are always fun to catch. Knowledgeable anglers say that only the smallmouth bass rival the spots in terms of their ferocious fighting ability. Catching one over 3 pounds, however, is pretty rare for this area. Davidson has caught more than his share of big spotted bass with several taken over 5 pounds. In fact his most recent spot tipped the scales at 5 and 3\4 pounds.
When it comes to catching spotted bass, Davidson prefers using green line. His favorite line is Fireline in either the 7-20 or 14-40 size. According to Davidson, you can't beat a smoke purple worm or grub when searching for big spotted bass. In fact, his latest lunker spotted bass was caught on a smoke purple colored Zoom finesse worm fished on a Carolina rig. Davidson already has his sights set on breaking the 6-pound barrier for spots. On a couple of occasions he has just missed landing fish that may have made it over the hump.
One thing is for sure; you can't argue with the success that Davidson has had catching lunker bass. Perhaps the one thing more responsible than anything else for his success is his passion and love for the sport. One only has to listen to Davidson talk about past fishing trips and his theories and techniques for catching large bass to understand his zeal and desire for chasing these fish. Although he prefers fishing for big bass in the cooler months of the year, you just might catch him on the water if you're up at the crack of dawn around this time of year. And who knows, he just might give you a tip for catching that next big one!