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Davis Develops A Style

Mark DavisEditor's Note: Thirty-eight-year-old Mark Davis from Mount Ida, Arkansas, has fished professionally for 17 years. He won the BASS Masters Classic in 1995 has won three Angler-of-the-Year titles and ranks as the No. 2 angler in the world on BassFan.com.

Question: You're basically a shy fellow. Where did you find the courage, and how did you learn to speak in front of thousands of people on TV?

Answer: When I first started pro bass fishing, I was not a very good speaker. The ability to speak just came to me over time. And now I'm real comfortable with it.

Question: Did you ever take any speech classes?

Answer: No, I just kind of developed my own style of public speaking.

Question: How important do you think speaking well in front of large crowds is for your career?

Strike King LuresAnswer: To your sponsors, your ability to express yourself clearly and speak confidently is very important. To be a successful B.A.S.S. professional, you must have and/or develop good communications skills.

Question: What are the five keys to your consistently being one of the top tournament bass fishermen in the nation?

Answer: Number one is my ability to find fish. God gave me a natural talent, and I've learned through experience how to locate fish. I've also learned how to read water quickly. By reading the water, I mean that I can recognize the potential for bass, and I also can recognize dead water quickly and eliminate that water from my fishing plans. I also have to figure out the fish's patterns. Of course it all comes down to finding the bass. The ability to locate fish is the one common denominator with all really successful fishermen. Not everyone has that ability. Some guys will find the bass now and then. But being able to consistently find bass every day and in every tournament is a God-given talent.

You also need to be able to fish with all types of tackle, line sizes and lures. You need to be able to do well with all different kinds of lures. And this need to diversify makes bass fishing a great sport. And all the various techniques you can use to catch bass make tournament fishing a complex sport. You have to master each one of those tactics, apply them and get them to work for you in various tournament situations. You have to think about the mental part of fishing. For instance, the last time I fished a tournament on Lake Eufaula was bad for me mentally. I struggled and didn't do well. The fish changed, and I didn't adjust. I could see the changes coming, and I still didn't make the adjustments that I needed to make.

Strike King LuresSo the mental aspect of the sport is huge. I have to make good, sound decisions and be patient with the decisions I make and not second-guess myself. I have to make a decision that I believe is right, then play my cards out and make it work. But sometimes I have to make split-second decisions and completely change what I'm doing when I see that the fish have changed. Sometimes I have to adapt when the conditions change. So don't get into a rut like I do sometimes if you want to be a successful bass fisherman. You need to change when you must and always be willing to adjust.