Mark DavisEditor’s Note: Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, a 25-year tournament bass fisherman and a member of the Strike King Pro Staff since 1995, won the 1995 Bassmaster Classic and is a three-time BASS Angler of the Year winner, claiming the coveted title in the same year he won the Bassmaster Classic in 1995, and then again in 1998 and 2001. The 2011 Classic will be Davis’ 15th Classic appearance. This week, Davis will tell us the five lures he’ll be taking with him to the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.

Mark DavisQuestion: Mark, if you only could take five lures to the 2011 Bassmaster Classic, which five lures would those be?

Part 1: Mark Davis Says He’s Got to Go with the Rodent

Davis: The 4-inch Strike King Rodent will be first on my list. The Louisiana Delta, where the Classic will be held, has a lot of vegetation, so there will be plenty of flipping and pitching opportunities there. That’s where the Rodent is extremely productive. The Rodent’s an excellent lure for punching vegetation, and it’s really versatile. You can fish it on wood cover, as well as around grass. Because of its size, versatility and fish-proven capabilities, the Strike King Rodent has to be my first choice.

Question: What color would you choose, Mark?

Davis: Black and blue would be my first choice, but there are several other colors that may work equally well, if not better. The Okeechobee Craw would be hard to leave out.

Strike King RodentQuestion: What size hooks do you use on the Rodent?

Davis: I use a No. 4/0 hook in a Rodent. If I’m punching mats, I may use a slip sinker as heavy as 1 ounce, or if I’m flipping it around wood, I’ll use a 3/16-ounce sinker in front of the Rodent. If I’m punching mats, I’ll be using braided line, but if I’m flipping wood, I’ll be using 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line.

Question: What rod and reel do you use?

Davis: I’ll be fishing with an All Star 7-1/2-foot Flipping Stick and a high-speed Pflueger Reel.

Question: Why has the Rodent become popular among professional bass fishermen?

Davis: For most fishermen, the Rodent has replaced the jig and the tube, because it can perform the same function and has a much-different look. The Rodent looks like a crawfish, but also can imitate bream and other small baitfish. The high-quality plastic Strike King used to create the Rodent is soft and subtle, and you don’t hardly miss or lose very-many bass when fishing with this bait. Mark DavisWith a No. 4/0 hook in the Rodent, your strike-to-catch ratio will increase.

The Rodent has been my go-to lure in bass tournaments throughout the 2010 year. The Rodent was my go-to lure when we fished the California Delta in a BASS Elite Tournament last year and the California Delta is much like the Louisiana Delta. When we went to Clear Lake in California, I was punching heavy grass and catching bass on the Rodent. I always keep a big supply of Rodents in my boat and ready to fish all the time. The Rodent helped me get to the Classic, and I hope the Rodent will help me do well in the Classic.

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