Editor’s Note: Until Kevin VanDam won Angler of the Year and the Bassmaster Classic in the same tournament season (2010-2011), Strike King pro Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, was the only person to accomplish this feat when he won both titles in 1995. Davis also won Angler of the Year in 1998 and 2001. He’s participated in 15 Bassmaster Classics and is one of the nation’s leading pros.
Part 1: Mark Davis Explains Why He Likes to Skip the Ocho
Question: Mark, what type of year have you had so far in this 2011 season?
Davis: I’ve pretty much been in the middle of the stream. I finished in the 20s in the Bassmaster Classic. In the first two BASS Elite Series tournaments this year, I made the 50 cut and cashed a check. I’ve had solid performances, but I wouldn’t say I’ve had outstanding performances.
Question: What lures have been productive for you in 2011?
Davis: I’ve caught a number of bass on the Strike King Ocho this year. The other lure that’s been productive for me is the new 6-1/2-inch Strike King KVD Finesse Worm. I’ve fished both lures wacky style on light tackle. These two are good go-to baits when you’ve got tough fishing conditions.
Question: How do you fish the Ocho?
Davis: I like the 5-inch Ocho in the watermelon-with-red-and-black color. That lure will catch bass anywhere you fish at any time of year. If you fish the Ocho in green pumpkin or watermelon with red and black, you’ll catch some bass on the 5-inch size Ocho. Sometimes the larger Ocho will catch bigger bass, but the 5-inch lure will get more bites. I use a straight-shank No. 3/0 hook, 8-pound-test Stren fluorocarbon line and cast the bait on spinning tackle. I prefer to skip it under boat docks and fish it around lily pads, especially during the pre-spawn, the spawn and the post-spawn.
Question: How do you know when you’re getting a bite on the Ocho?
Davis: Many times you’ll see the line jump or just start to move-off slightly. You’ll generally start taking the slack out of your line and feel the bass swimming with it. You’ll get a really-subtle bite, but the bass hang-on to the Ocho.
Question: How do you get a bass out from under a boat dock when you skip the Ocho under the dock on 8-pound-test line?
Davis: You don’t have to set the hook really hard when you’re fishing wacky style, because you’re leaving your hook exposed. I pull the hook into the bass instead of snap-setting it. I’ve learned that many times, you can lead the bass out from under the dock. The bass usually won’t turn the Ocho loose. So, many times before you set the hook, you gently can pull-on that Ocho and get the bass to swim out from under the dock, even before you set the hook. Many people instinctively set their hooks, and then let the bass do what they want. But I’ve found that by trying to lead the bass out from under the dock before I set the hook, I usually can catch more bass. If you put a little pressure on that bass when it picks-up that Ocho, the bass will turn its head and swim out the way you want it to come.
Question: How do you skip the Ocho under the dock?
Davis: I use an underhand, low-trajectory type of cast. One of the advantages with the Ocho is that it’s a really-heavy lure. So, when it hits the water, it will skip a lot better than a finesse worm.
Question: How far can you skip the Ocho?
Davis: I easily can get it to skip 25 feet. The real trick to skipping the Ocho is that you don’t want it to actually hit the water until it’s really close to the edge of the dock or the tree you’re trying to skip it under. So, once the Ocho hits the water, you want it to skip and bounce back under the dock or the bush. Then you can catch the bass that no-one else is targeting and is one of the reasons I like the Ocho. By using the skipping type of cast, I can put that lure within the strike zone of the bass most anglers never will be able to reach.
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