Davis Wins Knockout Round Tournament On Kissimmee Chain

February 17, 2023
Major League Fishing (MLF)

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2023) – Already with a Hall of Fame career that has seen countless memorable moments on the water, 59-year-old B&W Trailer Hitches pro Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, showed he still has a few more tricks left up his sleeve. Davis caught 13 scorable bass Friday, with his best five weighing 34 pounds, 10 ounces, to win the Knockout Round and advance to the final day of competition at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Stage One on the Kissimmee Chain.

Davis’ total of 34-10 will give him a 10-pound cushion over second-place angler Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tennessee, who weighed in five scorable bass totaling 24-10. Chris Lane of Guntersville, Alabama, sits in third place with five bass weighing 23-2, while Addison, Alabama’s Jesse Wiggins weighed in five bass totaling 21-8 to finish the day in fourth. Pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, added to the Toro Cut Line drama, Friday, as the Tennessee pro caught a 6-pound, 3-ounce largemouth as time expired to vault from 13th place into fifth, and bounce out the reigning Angler of the Year (AOY) Jacob Wheeler.

The final 10 anglers are now set, and competition resumes Saturday morning with the Championship Round. In the Championship Round, weight carries over from the Knockout Round and the angler with the heaviest two-day total will win the top prize of $100,000.

“Today was a heck of a day for me,” said Davis. “It wasn’t my biggest limit I’ve ever caught – I caught around 42 pounds on this fishery once, I think back in 2001 – but I’m very pleased to have caught 34 (pounds) today. You can never really be comfortable competing in Florida, but 10 pounds is a very nice lead.”

Davis spent the day targeting grass patches and lily pads on a spawning flat in Lake Kissimmee with a Texas-rigged blue craw with red flake-colored Strike King Ocho, with a 3/16-ounce Strike King tungsten weight.

“It was all new water for me today,” Davis said. “This morning on the ride down, I just felt like I needed to go and look at some new water. I pulled into an area that I hadn’t fished – I might have fished it at some point in my career, but it was new this week. I pulled up there and caught one almost 4 (pounds), then a 6-12, and I still didn’t quite have it figured out. But as the day went on I kind of got dialed into the bite, and once I got dialed in, it was game on.”

Another impressive stat that showcases just how special Davis’ day was Friday – although his best five went for 34-10, his next best five scorable fish would have given him a limit for 23 pounds even and he would be in third place.

“I figure I’m going to have to catch at least 15 to 16 pounds tomorrow to have any chance at winning,” Davis went on to say. “One of the reasons I worked so hard today to catch as much as I could was because the weather is going to change. We’re going to have a stout north wind, and there is supposed to be a cold front coming in overnight. It could really turn the fish off, for everybody, so I felt like I needed to amass as much weight as I could, today.”

The top 10 pros from Friday’s Knockout Round that now advance to Saturday’s Championship Round on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes are:

1st:          Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., five bass, 34-10
2nd:         Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., five bass, 24-10
3rd:         Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 23-2
4th:         Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., five bass, 21-8
5th:         Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 20-15
6th:         Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., five bass, 20-15
7th:         Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., five bass, 20-5
8th:         Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., five bass, 19-4
9th:         Dylan Hays, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 18-14
10th:       Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., five bass, 18-11

Finishing in 11th through 40th place are:

11th:       Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 18-9, $10,000
12th:       Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 18-4, $10,000
13th:       Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 17-15, $10,000
14th:       Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., five bass, 17-7, $10,000
15th:       Mitch Crane, Columbus, Miss., five bass, 16-10, $10,000
16th:       Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., five bass, 16-8, $10,000
17th:       Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., five bass, 16-0, $10,000
18th:       Jeff Sprague, Wills Point, Texas, five bass, 15-15, $10,000
19th:       Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss., five bass, 15-13, $10,000
20th:       Josh Butler, Hayden, Ala., five bass, 15-7, $10,000
21st:       Takahiro Omori, Tokyo, Japan, five bass, 14-14, $10,000
22nd:      Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., five bass, 14-2, $10,000
23rd:      Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, four bass, 13-14, $10,000
24th:       John Murray, Spring City, Tenn., five bass, 13-14, $10,000
25th:       Bradley Roy, Lancaster, Ky., five bass, 13-13, $10,000
26th:       Ryan Salzman, Huntsville, Ala., five bass, 13-6, $10,000
27th:       Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 13-5, $10,000
28th:       Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, five bass, 12-12, $10,000
29th:       Keith Poche, Pike Road, Ala., five bass, 11-12, $10,000
30th:       Britt Myers, Lake Wylie, S.C., five bass, 11-0, $10,000
31st:       Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., five bass, 10-13, $10,000
32nd:      Scott Suggs, Alexander, Ark., five bass, 9-11, $10,000
33rd:      Gerald Spohrer, Gonzales, La., five bass, 9-10, $10,000
34th:       Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, five bass, 9-6, $10,000
35th:       Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., four bass, 7-7, $10,000
36th:       Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., two bass, 7-5, $10,000
37th:       Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, three bass, 6-9, $10,000
38th:       Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., three bass, 5-7, $10,000
39th:       Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., two bass, 5-4, $10,000
40th:       Russ Lane, Prattville, Ala., three bass, 5-4, $10,000

Overall, there were 359 scorable bass weighing 933 pounds even caught by the 40 pros Friday.