'95 CLASSIC CHAMP "NOT DONE YET"
Mark Davis has been fishing tournaments at the highest level of the sport for a long time. He fished his first Bassmaster tournament at 23, and he is now on the cusp of 60. He has continued to compete as a touring pro for more than three decades and has earned wins on multiple circuits. His three Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles put him in elite company, but he is best known for becoming the first pro to win the Bassmaster Classic and the AOY title in the same calendar year. That magical 1995 season earned him an invitation to the White House from fellow Arkansas native Bill Clinton. His influence on lure design helped popularize a number of products including the Bomber Fat Free Shad.
In 1995 Davis won the Bassmaster Classic trophy. He won the Angler of the Year title three times, along with four more B.A.S.S. victories. He has competed in a total of 20 Bassmaster
Classics, but he is best remembered for that win at High Rock Lake, N.C. . The 1995 Bassmaster classic was the 25th anniversary of the event, and when Davis lifted the '95 trophy, he was also reigning Bassmaster Angler of the Year- the first time that the two titles had been won by the same angler in the same season. .
Davis started the event using a different pattern than the one to which he attributed the win. His first morning was spent throwing a Rebel Pop ‘R topwater. He caught a keeper on the first cast, and four fish total on topwater. Then he went looking for a fifth fish in some deep brush piles he’d found during his scouting period six weeks prior. When he picked up a Citrus Shad colored Bomber Fat Free Shad and cranked it through the brush he caught a five pounder, and lost another one. This was Davis' first pivotal moment in the tournament. That lost fish was a result of fighting snags with 12 lb. test. After that first day, he switched to 20-pound-test, which
would come into play later in the event. On Day 2, after quickly striking out with the topwater bite, he returned to the crankbait pattern but also swung and missed. He then picked up a one-ounce Strike King Po Model spinnerbait. He chose a white head with Blue Glimmer Skirt and a pearl colored trailer; and downsized the blades for the deep water. He cast to the brush,
and started slow rolling it through the brush. When he felt like it was going to get hung up, he reeled faster to break free from the snag. When the bait broke free from the brush, he stopped the retrieve and allowed the bait to fall. That's when a five pounder struck. He used that pattern for 20 pounds that day, moving into third place.
He began the final morning with the spinnerbait producing a limit. He then went looking for one more fish to replace a small keeper he still had in his livewell. He changed back to the crankbait. He made a cast and began his retrieve over the top of the brush, and when he did his burn and kill, he got a strike- a heavy fish- "better than anything I’d caught yet in the tournament" Davis later said. When they came to the surface, he saw he had two fish hooked; a four pounder and a two and a half. As he started to swing them into the boat, they both came off the hooks. The smaller fish fell into the water, but luck smiled on Davis and the four pounder fell to the floor of his boat. It was the winning cull. For Davis, winning the Classic was an electric feeling that has
driven him forward through his whole career. “The title of Bassmaster Classic Champion is something they can never take away, something I'll carry the rest of my life” he said.
In 2019 Davis moved to the Bass Pro Tour where he continues to compete. He has had 65 Top 10 Finishes including 6 career wins which has earned him $2.32 million. His angling hero is Larry Nixon who he firmly believes is the best fisherman ever. Even though Lake Ouachita is his home lake, Guntersville is at the top of his list of favorites -one he considers a bass factory. His favorite technique is fishing deep structure. He keeps fishing out of pure love for the sport, and a sincere desire to share that passion with local teens in Arkansas.