SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Two well-known names in bass fishing -- Mark Davis and Lew's -- have teamed in a new relationship.
The 48-year-old Mount Ida, Ark. angler has been a regular on B.A.S.S. tournament leader boards
Bass professional Mark Davis is gearing up with Lew's rods and reels for the 2012 tournament season. Davis' first baitcast reels were Lew's Speed Spools given to him on his 16th birthday by his dad. Raised on spinning gear, Davis credits his introduction to Lew's baitcasters as being instrumental in his fondness for fishing deep-diving crankbaits.
ever since entering his first event with that trail in 1986. The 60-year old history-rich Lew's brand has been on a rapid return to prominence since a 2009 change in ownership.
It will be Davis' first time to use Lew's rods and reels in his professional fishing career, although he proudly remembers getting two Lew's BB-1 Speed Spools on his 16th birthday; it was his first experience with baitcast reels.
"I grew up fishing with spinning gear and had a lot of confidence in my abilities with it," Davis explained. "But when I got those Speed Spools on my birthday, it was an exciting day and wasn't long before it made an impactful change to my fishing style."
Davis said he was able to cast his new baitcasters "in no time," and soon realized he could make really long casts with big baits, which gave him a whole new confidence in being able to keep baits in the strike zone longer.
"I fell in love with fishing big, deep-diving crankbaits, and the technique has definitely played a major role in the many tournaments I've gotten a check," he said.
Davis has 44 top 10 finishes in B.A.S.S. events, plus has won five, including the Bassmaster Classic on North Carolina's High Rock Lake in 1995. He was also the trail's Angler of the Year that year, and took the honor again twice afterwards, 1998 and 2001. His B.A.S.S. tournament earnings alone total nearly $1.5 million.
Davis says having a Lew's in his hand again brings back wonderful memories of his earliest years with the brand. "I couldn't be happier than I am about this opportunity," he said.
The pro is using Team Lew's and Tournament Pro Speed Spool baitcast models and is especially fond of the reels' dual cast control system. Called MSB for multi-setting brake, reels with this feature have both centrifugal and magnetic braking systems.
The Arkansas angler explained that a lot of anglers feel the cast control is the key factor in casting big baits far, but what really sets the best reels apart from the pack is when you can cast light baits great distances.
"I like the fact that I can easily turn all of my centrifugal brakes off, yet still fine tune my spool speed quickly for different bait sizes and weights with the external dial on my Lew's," Davis said. "I truly believe anglers of all skill levels can cast these reels without problem with just a few minor adjustments right out of the box."
So what are those adjustments? Davis said Lew's Speed Spools with the MSB feature come with two centrifugal brakes turned on and two turned off, and that's a good starting point for the centrifugal settings for most anglers. He suggests then giving the main spool attention knob some tightening first so that the spool still turns freely when disengaged but has some resistance to start with. Next he says to turn the external dial to the maximum speed control, and then you're ready to try a toss. Davis said start out with a medium size weight or lure on the line to begin with, perhaps one-half ounce, and use a moderate casting motion for the test run.
"Sure, it takes some practice to get the most out of a baitcaster, but Lew's reels matched to the right rods make it easier," he added. "I'm really liking a lot of the actions in the Lew's Tournament SL rod series, and you're going to see even more models in it soon. If you're attending the Bassmaster Classic next week in Shreveport, look me or one of the other Team Lew's pros up in the Lew's booth and we'd be happy to show you how to set up your baitcast rig."
Fishing industry veteran Lynn Reeves acquired the Lew's name and affiliated trademarks, including Speed Spool®, Speed Spin®, Laser® and Speed Stick® from the Lew Childre family in 2009. Since then, Lew's has launched an all-new lineup of rods and reels, which have been getting high marks from anglers old and new.
"I'm living a dream," Reeves said. "And having Mark Davis now among our other class acts on Team Lew's and using our products mean a lot to me. Mark is fishing our rods and reels, and we're pleased to have his level of product knowledge on our side going forward to help with new models and actions."
Team Lew's members Tim Horton, Terry Scroggins and Andrew Upshaw are competing in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24 - 26, on the Red River in the Shreveport, La., area. Davis, Mark Menendez, Kevin Short, Gerald Brown, Bobby Myers and other professional anglers will be among the bass pros in the Lew's booth at the Classic Outdoor Expo.
For more information, visit Lews.com.