Davis Leads St. Clair Anglers into Finals

Davis Leads St. Clair Anglers into Finals

Photo by Seigo Saito/Bassmaster DETROIT, Mich. — Mark Davis came to Michigan for the Aug. 22-25 Bassmaster Elite Series Plano Championship Chase ready to risk all to bag his 17th Bassmaster Classic qualification. Saturday, leading the Chase for the second consecutive day, the 1995 Classic champ from Mount Ida, Ark., put himself in position to ...

Photo by Seigo Saito/Bassmaster

DETROIT, Mich. — Mark Davis came to Michigan for the Aug. 22-25 Bassmaster Elite Series Plano Championship Chase ready to risk all to bag his 17th Bassmaster Classic qualification.

Saturday, leading the Chase for the second consecutive day, the 1995 Classic champ from Mount Ida, Ark., put himself in position to do just that. His risk was a round-trip daily run of 180 miles that left him soaking wet, hat to shoes, and shaken like a James Bond martini.

“It was definitely the Classic berth that drove me to do it,” Davis said.

The risk he took to get to Erie and back without a time penalty or mishap paid off. Davis weighed 20 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday to retain the Chase lead with a three-day total of 63-10.

After his third consecutive day of turning in a 20-plus-pound bag, he was 1 pound, 1 ounce ahead of Day 1 leader Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala. Lane brought in 22-15 — the day’s largest sack of bass — for second place and a three-day total of 62-9.


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Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., in third with 62-2, also will be making a run at the Plano Championship Chase trophy in Sunday’s finale. But he was already a big winner on Saturday: He was awarded the 2013 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year trophy.

“This is one of the best days of my entire career,” Martens said as he accepted the huge piece of hardware. Then, as Martens started to say he regretted that his family wasn’t with him to share in his victory, his wife and children appeared on stage.

“It just got better,” Martens grinned.

Martens began the Chase 30 ticks behind points leader Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla. Evers, who led the AOY race after five consecutive events, fell out of the Chase Friday by missing the Top 50 cut. In 54th place, unable to earn more points, Evers left the door open for Martens.

“It is what it is,” Evers said on Friday. “I’ve had a great year, something to be proud of.”

Martens was able to pass Evers and win by 21 points.

Martens, who has been through several near misses in attempts to add a twin to his first AOY trophy in 2005, was thinking about Evers.

“I feel for Edwin,” the Alabama pro said. “I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a great angler.”

Michigan’s own Kevin VanDam, who has won the award seven times, finished third this season. Martens had 37 points on VanDam.

Davis, a three-time AOY winner himself led the list of the 12 finalists who made it to the Chase’s final round on Sunday. Besides Lane and Martens, his biggest threats going into the last day were Derek Remitz of Grant, Ala., in fourth place with 57-14; and Kotaro Kiriyama of Moody, Ala., just 1 ounce behind Remitz with 57-13.

Leader Davis made the high-risk choice to run 90 miles one way to catch big Lake Erie smallmouth, but he wasn’t alone in that decision. Martens is also fishing the rough Great Lake. Lane is making a long run, but he isn’t heading into Erie.

The trip to Erie entails leaving from Harrison Township, covering much of Lake St. Clair, then navigating the Detroit River, where big yachts and even bigger commercial ships produce wakes that can easily swamp a low-profile bass boat. And then, if the wind kicks up, they buck the waves of Erie. The run can jar the bones, as well as be time-consuming and nerve-wracking.

In fact, Davis said, the highlight of his second day was his safe return to the check-in point on Lake St. Clair.

Saturday’s run was again hard, but not because of high winds on Erie.

“The trip back was fine until you got to the river (Detroit River),” he said. “That river was horrendous. It was so bad, I stopped three times just to take a break and keep water on my fish. The water (in the livewell) bounces around so much, it runs out the overflow.”

Particularly hard was the stretch on the river with concrete walls that ricochet huge wakes produced by big boats. It’s called the Miracle Mile.

“I think it ought to be called the Miracle 20 Miles.” he said. “For 20 miles, it was as bad a water as you can imagine.”

Davis said the fishing action was slower, but the quality was still there.

“It was hard today. I caught seven fish. But I said earlier, if you can catch six to 10 fish, you’re going to average 20 on your best spot. They’re that kind of fish,” Davis said

His smallmouth came to him slowly. He fished for 1 1/2 hours before his first catch. He finally boated two, then a third, and waited another hour for the next two.

“Right before I came in, I saw one on my Lowrance unit, dropped on it, and it was a 5-5, the biggest fish I caught today,” he said. That one allowed him to release a 2 1/2-pounder in exchange for the 5-5, a key to his leading weight.

Davis is committed to returning Sunday to Erie.

“I’m too deep in it to change,” said Davis, who says he can count his former days of Lake Erie experience on one hand. “Actually, I can’t wait to get back down there tomorrow.”

Even if his game plan doesn’t win the Chase and the Classic entry that comes with the $100,000 first prize, he’s on track to qualify through points alone. Davis came into the Chase in 47th place in the points standings, well below the make-the-Classic cutline. By Saturday, he was 32nd in points, which might be enough if double-qualifiers push the 29th-place cutline down far enough.

Another prize of the season was determined Saturday. Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C., won the Bassmaster Rookie of the Year title.

“I’m proud of it. I worked hard for it,” said Cherry, who won by 40 points over Cliff Pirch of Payson, Ariz.

Cherry’s solid Chase finish in 30th place helped him pass Pirch.

“I take my hat off to him; he’s a great fisherman,” said Cherry.

Cherry’s ROY award comes with an entry in the Sept. 27-29 postseason, the Toyota All-Star Week and Evan Williams Bourbon Championship on Muskegon Lake out of Muskegon, Mich.

Cherry will be up against 13 other Elite pros vying for a piece of $100,000. The postseason winner will take $50,000 of the purse.

Saturday’s biggest fish was a 5-13 by Alton Jones of Lorena, Texas. Jones became the leader for the event’s Carhartt Big Bass award of $1,000 plus another $500 for wearing Carhartt apparel.

Actually beating his own 22-9, Lane reset the bar at 22-15 for the Berkley Heavyweight Award of $500 for the Chase’s best five-fish limit.

2013 Detroit River Championship 8/22-8/25

Detroit River, Detroit MI.

(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 3

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Mark Davis Mount Ida, AR 15 63-10 99 $500.00

Day 1: 5 22-01 Day 2: 5 20-10 Day 3: 5 20-15

2. Chris Lane Guntersville, AL 15 62-09 98

Day 1: 5 22-09 Day 2: 5 17-01 Day 3: 5 22-15

3. Aaron Martens Leeds, AL 15 62-02 97

Day 1: 5 21-14 Day 2: 5 19-09 Day 3: 5 20-11

4. Derek Remitz Grant, AL 15 57-14 96

Day 1: 5 19-10 Day 2: 5 15-15 Day 3: 5 22-05

5. Kotaro Kiriyama Moody, AL 15 57-13 95

Day 1: 5 20-07 Day 2: 5 20-00 Day 3: 5 17-06

6. Keith Combs Huntington, TX 15 56-08 94

Day 1: 5 20-04 Day 2: 5 19-06 Day 3: 5 16-14

7. Morizo Shimizu Osaka JAPAN 15 56-04 93

Day 1: 5 17-00 Day 2: 5 18-09 Day 3: 5 20-11

8. Nate Wellman Newaygo, MI 15 56-02 92

Day 1: 5 17-07 Day 2: 5 18-03 Day 3: 5 20-08

9. Takahiro Omori Emory, TX 15 55-05 91

Day 1: 5 18-02 Day 2: 5 20-03 Day 3: 5 17-00

10. Randy Howell Springville, AL 15 55-02 90

Day 1: 5 20-04 Day 2: 5 18-07 Day 3: 5 16-07

11. Jeremy Starks Scott Depot, WV 15 54-15 89

Day 1: 5 18-13 Day 2: 5 18-04 Day 3: 5 17-14

12. Alton Jones Lorena, TX 15 54-03 88

Day 1: 5 16-01 Day 2: 5 16-10 Day 3: 5 21-08

13. Keith Poche Pike Road, AL 15 54-01 87 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 19-07 Day 2: 5 14-07 Day 3: 5 20-03

14. Britt Myers Lake Wylie, SC 14 53-05 86 $10,000.00

Day 1: 4 12-05 Day 2: 5 21-09 Day 3: 5 19-07

15. Yusuke Miyazaki Forney, TX 15 52-06 85 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 13-13 Day 2: 5 21-05 Day 3: 5 17-04

16. Bobby Lane Lakeland, FL 15 52-00 84 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-15 Day 2: 5 18-09 Day 3: 5 17-08

17. Tommy Biffle Wagoner, OK 15 51-09 83 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 17-14 Day 2: 5 16-12 Day 3: 5 16-15

18. Jason Williamson Aiken, SC 15 51-07 82 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-00 Day 2: 5 18-10 Day 3: 5 17-13

19. Greg Hackney Gonzales, LA 15 50-03 81 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-15 Day 2: 5 14-11 Day 3: 5 19-09

20. Rick Clunn Ava, MO 15 50-02 80 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 17-12 Day 2: 5 18-03 Day 3: 5 14-03

21. Rick Morris Lake Gaston, VA 15 50-01 79 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 16-00 Day 2: 5 16-01 Day 3: 5 18-00

22. Charlie Hartley Grove City, OH 15 49-14 78 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-04 Day 2: 5 19-00 Day 3: 5 15-10

23. John Crews Salem, VA 15 49-07 77 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 17-08 Day 2: 5 15-08 Day 3: 5 16-07

24. Cliff Pace Petal, MS 15 49-04 76 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 20-05 Day 2: 5 14-15 Day 3: 5 14-00

25. Terry Scroggins San Mateo, FL 15 49-03 75 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 16-09 Day 2: 5 17-07 Day 3: 5 15-03

26. Josh Bertrand Gilbert, AZ 15 49-01 74 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 18-11 Day 2: 5 14-03 Day 3: 5 16-03

27. Jared Lintner Arroyo Grande, CA 15 49-00 73 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-04 Day 2: 5 15-09 Day 3: 5 18-03

28. Michael Simonton Fremont, OH 13 48-14 72 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 21-02 Day 2: 4 15-03 Day 3: 4 12-09

29. J Todd Tucker Moultrie, GA 15 48-09 71 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 14-03 Day 2: 5 18-08 Day 3: 5 15-14

30. Hank Cherry Maiden, NC 15 48-00 70 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-13 Day 2: 5 19-07 Day 3: 5 12-12

31. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 15 47-15 69 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-06 Day 2: 5 17-07 Day 3: 5 15-02

32. Matt Reed Madisonville, TX 15 47-14 68 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 16-04 Day 2: 5 15-08 Day 3: 5 16-02

33. Michael Iaconelli Pitts Grove, NJ 15 47-12 67 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 14-08 Day 2: 5 17-05 Day 3: 5 15-15

34. Timmy Horton Muscle Shoals, AL 14 47-07 66 $10,000.00

Day 1: 4 13-03 Day 2: 5 17-15 Day 3: 5 16-05

35. Brandon Palaniuk Rathdrum, ID 15 47-06 65 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 20-07 Day 2: 5 13-02 Day 3: 5 13-13

36. Brian Snowden Reeds Spring, MO 15 46-13 64 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 16-08 Day 2: 5 16-02 Day 3: 5 14-03

37. Cliff Prince Palatka, FL 15 46-13 63 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-03 Day 2: 5 15-10 Day 3: 5 16-00

38. Todd Faircloth Jasper, TX 15 46-09 62 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 16-08 Day 2: 5 14-02 Day 3: 5 15-15

39. Bernie Schultz Gainesville, FL 15 46-08 61 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 13-13 Day 2: 5 17-09 Day 3: 5 15-02

40. John Murray Phoenix, AZ 15 46-01 60 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 16-07 Day 2: 5 15-12 Day 3: 5 13-14

41. Cliff Crochet Pierre Part, LA 15 45-14 59 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 14-07 Day 2: 5 18-04 Day 3: 5 13-03

42. Andy Montgomery Blacksburg, SC 15 45-13 58 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 14-11 Day 2: 5 15-14 Day 3: 5 15-04

43. Ott DeFoe Knoxville, TN 15 45-08 57 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-07 Day 2: 5 15-04 Day 3: 5 14-13

44. Greg Vinson Wetumpka, AL 15 45-01 56 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-12 Day 2: 5 15-02 Day 3: 5 14-03

45. Brent Chapman Lake Quivira, KS 15 45-00 55 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-11 Day 2: 5 15-01 Day 3: 5 14-04

46. Bill Lowen Brookville, IN 15 44-11 54 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 13-05 Day 2: 5 17-08 Day 3: 5 13-14

47. Jonathon VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 15 44-07 53 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 15-11 Day 2: 5 15-07 Day 3: 5 13-05

48. BJ Haseotes Centerville, MA 14 44-06 52 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 16-12 Day 2: 5 15-10 Day 3: 4 12-00

49. Brandon Card Caryville, TN 15 43-15 51 $10,000.00

Day 1: 5 17-07 Day 2: 5 13-04 Day 3: 5 13-04

50. Pete Ponds Madison, MS 12 38-13 50 $5,000.00

Day 1: 5 16-10 Day 2: 5 14-00 Day 3: 2 08-03

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