Mark Davis Video Interview

An interview with Mark Davis where he talks about working with sponsors, tournament strategies, and common myths about being a pro! An HD Video.
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Glenn:  Hello, I'm Glenn May and I'm with Elite Pro Mark Davis.  Mark, it's a pleasure to have you here today.

Mark Davis:  Good to be here Glenn.

Glenn:  Mark, can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in your career and how it led up to where you are today?

Mark:  Well, a long time ago, I was actually, Glenn, I was one of these lucky kids, I suppose, that when I was six, seven, eight years old, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for a living.  I wanted to catch bass for a living and that was in the '70's and there weren't very many people making a living catching bass in the 1970's but the time I graduated high school, I started guiding for a living, and fishing as many tournaments as I could and just slowly worked my way into fishing, big time bass fishing and started fishing the Bassmasters Tour when I was 21 years old and that was in 1986.

Glenn:  Wow.  That's quite a bit.

Mark:  Yeah.

Glenn:  So, what would you say would be the one defining moment in your life that changed everything for you?

Mark:  Oh, in 1994 I got in shape, lost some weight, won Angler of the Year, won the Classic the same year and my career took off after that.

That was kind of the defining year, but really, after winning Angler of the Year, I had no idea I'd win the Classic and turn around, lo and behold, won the Classic in the same year. 

And that, winning that Classic especially, was the, I'm telling folks out here today in Media Day at the Classic, this is the only event in bass fishing that you can win that it truly defines you as an angler and it really puts your career in orbit. 

You can win other tournaments that may pay more money but the Classic, the perception and the prestige of winning the Classic, it's the only event like that.

Glenn: Now, approaching this tournament or other tournaments, strategy plays an awful lot into your success.  Can you talk a little bit about just overall what kind of strategy that you have going into any tournament?  Does it change from lake to lake, or how does that work?

Mark:  There's a lot of different types of strategy.  I think the biggest obstacle we're going to face here is, we're going to be fishing confined areas where we're going to have a lot of other contestants and we're also going to have a lot of onlookers, a lot of fans around us and that can really change the environment which those fish live in when you get a lot of outboard engines on boats idling around and some of these areas where fish are pretty shallow. 

So, dealing with that the right way.  And a lot of times it's going to take patience.  A lot of times it's going to take getting the heck out of there, you know?  So, it's more or less a roll with the punches type of approach. 

You really don't know what's going to happen out there until you get there and I'm anticipating a lot of traffic but I may get out there and I may be pleasantly surprised and there not be.  But those are the type things that you get thrown at you in an event like this, especially, the Classic's different. 

A lot of the strategy goes.  And you can have the best fishing spot in the world but if the strategy doesn't sit up well for that particular area, you're not going to win there.  So, fans play a role, other contestants play a role, and of course Mother Nature plays a role with weather as well.

Glenn:  Now what about for the rest of the season?  How does strategy play into that?

Mark:  Well, each and every event poses a unique set of circumstances and obstacles.  For instance, we're going to fish, we're going to Lake Amistad and there you're looking at huge water, huge fish, and if you go out there fishing for three pound bass, you're not going to do any good. 

In this tournament, if you fish for three pound bass, you may have a change to win with some three, three and a half pound fish consistently.  So strategy, as far as just the size of fish goes, is going to play a big role throughout the rest of the year. 

We go to a lot of lakes, a lot of really good lakes, at prime times, so, for most tournament anglers, catching limits everyday of three pound plus fish is good, but most of the time that won't cut it.

Glenn:  Right.  Now, when you're in a tournament and you have a day where you don't do quite as well as you had hoped, how do you refocus and get right back in there and do better the next day?

Mark:  Well, that's a good question and I think it's probably different for different anglers, but I can tell you my approach is, you go out there and you have a bad day, and it's going to happen to everyone, and, believe it or not, it's going to happen when you least expect it. 

It's going to happen to you when you think you're going to go out there and hit a home run.  You're going to go out there and everything, the wheel's just kind of fall off, you know?  You have to come back and think about number one, why did that happen? 

You kind of relive the day.  What happened, where did it go wrong?  Did the fish change?  Did they move?  If they moved, where did they go?  What can I do to, because most of it is between your ears. 

Just like any other sport.  And especially at the pro level, a lot of it is mental.  Come back, regroup, think about what happened, why you didn't do well.  Was it the fish or was it you?

And you go back out there the next day, settle down, slow down is the key.  Usually it's slow down and figure out what's going on and get yourself back in the hunt.

Glenn:  And with 14 Classics under your belt, that's sage advice for sure.  So, Mark, at this level of competition, I'm sure you've talked to a lot of people and they have a lot of questions to you, that are just your average fisherman all the way up to an aspiring tournament pro.  What is the most common misconception about being a pro-angler?

Mark:  Well, it looks good on television.  I mean, I think folks, if they watch Bassmasters television, they watch a guy catching fish, win a lot of money at times, it paints somewhat of a false picture.  This is a tough sport. 

It's not a very lucrative sport across the board.  You see the guys win, you see him win a big tournament, win a big check, but the truth of it is, it's a grueling sport, very hard to break into and it's hard to have consistent success.  It's hard to stay, catching them and catching them.  Hard to qualify for Classics. 

It's hard to stay in the hunt day in, day out.  That's probably, most folks look at it and they think, yeah, that's something I want to do but if they get a little bit closer to it and really look at it, you're going to see, maybe that's not for me.

Glenn:  And you probably spend an awful lot of time with your sponsors as well, is that right?

Mark:  You do.  And honestly, you cannot make it out here without sponsors.  You think, well, you can go out and win a half a million dollars, but you got to remember, there's a 100 of us and only one of us is going to win 100,000 per tournament or 500 at this one.  So there's only one winner at each event.

To sustain yourself, you have to have sponsorship and  good sponsors is the key.  And of course we do a lot, we help them all we can.  I'll spend 20, 30, 40 days a year traveling for my sponsors to boat dealers and all sorts of things, trying to help them promote their goods.

Glenn:  And I also noticed you have a lot of product lines out there, with signature lines, with your name on it.  How much involvement does that take from your time and how much input do you have on the design?

Mark:  Well, it varies from year to year and product to product, but quite a bit, especially in the rods, reels, and lure research and development.  Always trying to come up with a better mouse trap.  And that's what it's all about and the Bass Master tour is the proving ground for all this stuff. 

The time it reaches the consumer, someone, or a group of guys out here on the tour, has had that product in their hands using it.  Oftentimes, two or three years in the developmental stages before it actually reaches the consumer.

So, yeah, we got some stuff in our tackle box that probably the average guy doesn't have.  We've got some rods in our rod locker that the average guy doesn't have and you're going to see those things hit the market in the next few years. 

Glenn:  Now, as you're touring around, you know, how many months a year that is.  It's almost the entire year.  And you're with the same group of guys the whole time.  You develop a certain camaraderie with them and a friendship and inevitably some of the friends you've had, in come the practical jokes and you start having fun with each other.

Mark:  Oh yeah.

Glenn:  Now, you care to share with us a little bit about maybe a practical joke you were involved in or maybe one you saw happen recently you'd like to share?

Mark:  Oh, I'm trying to think of one recently.  We're always, we're always trying to get a guy.  And you don't, you know, you don't ever, one thing I know for sure, you don't ever want to let a guy know if there's something that bothers you. 

I mean, you don't, I mean, if you're scared of snakes, don't ever act like, you don't ever want them guys to find out that you're scared of snakes or, sure enough, they're going to put a snake in your live well, they're going to put a snake in the console of your boat.  Maybe a rubber snake, doesn't matter, it's going to scare you anyway. 

I can't think of one I've been involved with here recently, but always something going on.  I mean, from getting the guy's lunch and hiding his lunch, or putting pickles on his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I mean, it's always something out here with this group of guys. 

Glenn:  Sounds like a lot of fun.

Mark:  It is.

Glenn:  Hey Mark, I want to do now what I call a shameless plug moment and this is where you can talk about anything you want to.  You can say something to your fans or you can plug an upcoming book or DVD or talk about the different sponsors that you have.  Anything you'd like to share with us.

Mark:  Where would I begin with that?  I don't have any books or DVDs coming out. 

Glenn:  Okay.

Mark:  So we'll just talk about my sponsors.  I'm proud to be a part of the Yamaha Skeeter team and they are the one sponsor, not to say that the rest of my sponsors don't do a lot for me, but they are the sponsor that truly keep me out here, day in, day out. 

Skeeter boats and Yamaha outboards, those are the ones that keep me out here, keep me going.  They got a great, if you're down at the boatyard, you'll see a great service crew and that service crew is just invaluable to not just myself, but to all these guys who run these products. 

Those guys are there day in, you'll see them out there at midnight, you know, working on our engines, keeping our boats, everything.  The least little thing that's broken on those boats, they've got it and they can fix it.

And that's just, that's the kind of support that you need to keep you up and going out here.

Glenn:  Fantastic.  Well Mark, thank you so much for spending time with us today.  I'm sure looking forward to seeing you on the circuit this year.

Mark:  Thanks Glenn.

Glenn:  And thanks so much for being with us.

Mark:  You bet.  Thank you.

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