Mark Davis Works Around Aches and Pains, Advances in Alpena
By: Joel Shangle
March 4, 2018
ALPENA, Michigan – It’s not every day that a three-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year is satisfied with a third-place finish, but as the eight MLF Summit Cup Elimination Round 3 anglers loaded their boats onto the trailers at East Bay Ramp on Hubbard Lake, Michigan, Mark Davis looked the most satisfied of them all.
Davis caught 11 fish for 24 pounds, 8 ounces and trailed both Skeet Reese and Kevin VanDam in the day’s final ScoreTracker standings, but those numbers don’t tell the whole story. As documented earlier here on MajorLeagueFishing.com, Davis entered the competition week with an extremely sore right (casting) shoulder. His pain was so severe that it led Davis to make a pretty blunt statement: “It’s either going to be surgery, or stop fishing.”
Thankfully for the Arkansas native, he can now focus more on preparing for a Sudden Death Round than on repairing his damaged rotator cuff.
“I was able to fish spinning tackle today, which doesn’t bother my shoulder at all,” said Davis, who relied mainly on a Strike King Perfect Plastic KVD Finesse Worm. “Fortunately, I was able to locate a couple of groups of fish, and just go back and forth between those groups – I’d catch two or three out of a group, leave, and then come back. I wasn’t a house afire, but it got me through to the next round.”
Davis’ frustration with his achy shoulder is understandable: He’s already had two operations on it, and the nature of the injury limits his ability to effectively fish certain techniques for a full eight-hour tournament day.
“As a fisherman, when your shoulders quit on you, you’re done,” Davis said bluntly. “It works on you mentally, and it takes certain techniques away from you. It’s one thing to go out and flip a 1.5-ounce weight for a couple of hours, but trying to do that for eight hours in a tournament is a whole different deal. And anytime I have to cast sidearm – like skipping a light jig up underneath a dock, or throwing a light spinnerbait or a small topwater – I’m sunk. Hopefully, I won’t have to do any of that in Sudden Death.”