Day On The Lake: Will Davis Jr.

See Elite pro Will Davis Jr. fish a mystery lake in the latest Day on the Lake feature.

Of all possible qualifying routes to the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Classic presented by Jockey Outdoors and the Elite Series, the Mercury B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Lowrance is the toughest row to hoe. B.A.S.S. Nation anglers compete against 30,000 other fishermen from over 2,100 B.A.S.S. Nation clubs in 47 states and 10 countries! Yet that’s the path Will Davis Jr., a member of the Pro Line Bassmasters, chose to follow. “I was born into the bass industry,” Davis says. “My dad [William Davis] has had a successful lure-building business [Davis Bait Co.] for 40 years. He put a rod in my hands as soon as I could walk; we were fishing tournaments together by the time I was 8.” To earn boat gas money, young Will helped out at the bait company, “putting swivels on spinnerbait blades and weedguards on jigs.” After a stint on Bethel University’s nationally acclaimed bass squad, he fished the St. Croix Bassmaster Southern Opens presented by SEVIIN while remaining a loyal member of the Pro Line Bassmasters. Davis’ victory at the 2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship elevated him to bass fishing’s biggest stage. Bringing the story full circle, Davis used Davis Bait Co. lures to win the May 2023 Elite event at Lay Lake! How will this B.A.S.S. Nation hero fare on a mystery lake during the tricky postspawn period? You’re about to find out! 

• 6:39 a.m. It’s 64 degrees and foggy when we arrive at Lake T. “I expect bass will be postspawn, which I view as [an] ‘in-between’ period. Once they leave their shallow spawning grounds, they’ll often hold on isolated cover on the edges of secondary points and other mid-depth structures before committing to deep, offshore areas,” Davis says while prepping his boat for launching. “Of course, some bass may remain shallow while others have moved considerably deeper. Postspawn bass often don’t seem to be locked into any particular pattern, which can make things interesting!” 


• 6:45 a.m. We launch the Nitro. Davis checks the water: It’s 79 degrees and stained. Davis pulls several MMA rods with Daiwa reels from storage. “I’m already seeing some shad flipping up shallow. I’m going to start off with a topwater presentation, then hit mid-depth brushpiles with a worm or jig.” 

• 6:58 a.m. Davis starts on a main-lake seawall, working a Davis Bait Co. Kingpin surface popper parallel to the structure. “Shad run these seawalls; this popper can provoke a hellacious reaction strike.” 

• 7:05 a.m. Davis’ MEGA Live forward-imaging sonar detects a submerged brushpile in 8 feet of water. He casts a Texas-rigged redbug-colored 10-inch Big Bite Baits B2 Worm to the cover. “A big worm is money in postspawn!” 

• 7:09 a.m. Davis switches to a shad-pattern Spro McStick 110 +1 jerkbait around the brushpile. “I’m seeing some fish holding tight to this shrubbery. Since live sonar has hit the scene, jerkbaits have become a year-round deal, not just for cold water.” 

• 7:11 a.m. Davis bags his first keeper largemouth of the day, 1 pound, off the brushpile on the jerkbait. 

• 7:14 a.m. Davis drags a green pumpkin Big Bite Baits Scentsation Cliff Hanger finesse worm on a drop-shot rig through the brushpile. “I’m seeing one big fish in that brush on Live.” The worm comes back unscathed. 

• 7:19 a.m. Davis runs uplake and drags the 10-inch worm through a brushpile near a dock. 

• 7:22 a.m. He strokes the jerkbait above a submerged tree. 

• 7:28 a.m. Davis switches drop-shot worm colors to morning dawn and drags it through the sunken shrubbery. No takers there. 

• 7:34 a.m. Davis hops farther uplake to a slow-tapering point and drags the structure with a Carolina-rigged B2 worm in the same size and color as his Texas-rigged crawler. 

• 7:38 a.m. He switches to a citrus shad Strike King 5XD diving crankbait on the point. It runs crooked, so he tunes it with pliers until it behaves correctly. 


• 7:45 a.m. Nearby, a school of shad breaks the surface. Davis casts the crankbait to the melee but hauls water. 

• 7:52 a.m. Davis bags his second keeper, 1 pound, 3 ounces, off the point on the Carolina-rigged worm. 

• 8:02 a.m. Davis has located an 8-foot brushpile off the point. Both the jerkbait and drop-shot worm strike out, so he tries a half-ounce spring craw Davis Bait Co. Wood Jig with a green pumpkin Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog trailer around the cover. Again, no takers. 

• 8:08 a.m. Davis brightens the claws of the jig trailer with a chartreuse marker. “This water is really dark!” 

• 8:17 a.m. Davis stows his trolling motor. “I’ll come back to this point later. Postspawn bass tend to move on and off major structures like this throughout the day.” 

• 8:22 a.m. Davis moves across the lake to a rock point, where he tries the jerkbait over some sunken brush. 

• 8:24 a.m. He bumps the Texas-rigged worm around a boathouse adjacent to the point. 

• 8:32 a.m. A nearby ledge drops from 7 to 14 feet. Davis cranks the 5XD down the structure and catches his third keeper, 1 pound, 4 ounces. 

• 8:33 a.m. A good fish knocks the 5XD on the ledge but doesn’t hook up. 

• 8:41 a.m. Davis switches his 5XD color to shad with a black splatterback finish. “Bass can be super-finicky about lure color during postspawn. I’ll sometimes go through four or five color changes before I dial in the one they want.” 


• 8:45 a.m. Davis dredges the splatterback plug across the point. A lunker bass follows it to the boat, then turns away. “Dang, that was a 5-pounder! There’s a color they’ll hit, but I haven’t found it yet.” He selects a blueback herring example from his 5XD stash and flings it to the point. 

• 8:51 a.m. A good fish slams the blueback 5XD but doesn’t get hooked. “It’s like they’re just headbutting it!” 

• 8:55 a.m. Davis idles downlake to a rock point. Here he tries the blueback 5XD and the Carolina-rigged worm without success. 

• 9:09 a.m. Davis idles into a creek arm and locates a ‘high spot’ (hump) rising from 19 to 8 feet. He crawls the big Texas-rigged worm through snaggy brush at the edge of the drop. 

• 9:12 a.m. Davis casts the drop-shot worm to the high spot, gets a tap, swings and misses. 

• 9:16 a.m. He casts the 5XD to the structure. “Let’s see if I can hang this crankbait in that brush!” 

• 9:17 a.m. Mission accomplished! But Davis manages to shake the plug free of the gnarly cover. 

• 9:19 a.m. The pro ties on a redbug Davis Bait Co. Original Shaky Worm rigged on a 3/16-ounce Davis Bait Co. Little Wills Shaky Worm Head. “I’ve whacked ’em in tournaments with this little worm!” He casts it to the high spot and drags/shakes/hops it around the structure. 

• 9:30 a.m. Davis continues downlake to Lake T’s dam and tries the Shaky Worm across riprap. 

• 9:38 a.m. Davis is seeing scattered fish suspending off the dam on live sonar. He switches to the jerkbait. 


• 9:45 a.m. A good fish grabs the jerkbait but comes unbuttoned. Davis changes jerkbait colors to matte shad. 

• 9:51 a.m. Davis ties on an albino Davis Bait Co. XSwim Fat Minnow. “This is a bad boy; you can drop it straight down to suspended fish or dart it past them. I use light shakes of the rod to give it a realistic twitching action.” 

• 10 a.m. There’s no breeze by the dam and it’s getting hot as Davis bumps the drop-shot worm down the sloping riprap. “They aren’t exactly jumping in the boat today!” 

• 10:09 a.m. Davis unsuccessfully probes riprap at the end of the dam with the jerkbait. What’s his take on the day so far? “We’re in a typical transition scenario where bass are gradually moving out deep but haven’t yet locked into their summer pattern. I’ve caught three keepers on three different baits, which is typical during postspawn. 

• 10:15 a.m. Davis races uplake to the slow-tapering point he fished earlier and catches his fourth keeper, 1-2, on the jerkbait. 

• 10:21 a.m. Davis has moved three castlengths off the point and is cranking the 5XD. He hangs the plug in sunken brush and retrieves it. 

• 10:24 a.m. He backs off the brushpile and hits it with the jerkbait and Shaky Worm. 

• 10:31 a.m. Davis drags the Carolina-rigged worm around the ledge. 

• 10:35 a.m. Davis cranks the blueback 5XD parallel to the dropoff. “I’m not seeing much of anything out here on Live.” 

• 10:38 a.m. Davis decides to change tactics. “I’m going to move shallower and hit some docks and seawalls.” 


• 10:45 a.m. Davis has run uplake to a series of docks. He pitches a 5-inch green pumpkin Big Bite Baits Trick Stick worm to the structures; it’s Texas-rigged with a 4/0 hook and 3/16-ounce sinker. 

• 10:56 a.m. Other than a few bluegill nibbling the Trick Stick, Davis has had no action around the boathouses. He moves to a nearby rockpile and tries the 10-inch Texas-rigged worm. 

• 10:59 a.m. Davis catches his fifth keeper, 1-12, off the rockpile on the Trick Stick. “Well, it me took long enough, but I finally got my limit! Hopefully, they’re waking up so I can start culling.” 

• 11:06 a.m. Davis is cranking the rockpile. The water temp here is 84 degrees. 

• 11:10 a.m. Davis probes a submerged brushpile with the Trick Stick, moving his boat 360 degrees around the structure. 

• 11:24 a.m. With his trolling motor on high, Davis progresses rapidly down the bank with the squarebill. “There are always some bass up shallow, even when the water gets hot.” 

• 11:30 a.m. Davis dredges the squarebill around some moored Jet Skis. A bass taps the plug but doesn’t hook up. 


• 11:45 a.m. Davis zips downlake and enters a big cove containing multiple docks and residential boat ramps. He pitches the big, Texas-rigged worm to a boathouse on a channel-swing bank. 

• 11:48 a.m. He tries the jig around the boathouse. Still no takers 

• 12:02 p.m. Davis hops across the cove to hit more docks with the Shaky Worm and Trick Stick. 

• 12:09 p.m. Davis’ live sonar reveals a big brushpile in a pocket (shoreline indentation). He casts the matte shad jerkbait to the cover and catches his sixth keeper, 1 pound, 9 ounces. “I saw that fish swim up and hit it.” 

• 12:11 p.m. He snares his seventh keeper, 1-5, off the brushpile on the jerkbait. 

• 12:13 p.m. Keeper No. 8, 1 pound, 4 ounces, hits Davis’ jerkbait near the brushpile. 

• 12:14 p.m. Davis catches a short fish from the submerged shrubbery on the jerkbait. 

• 12:16 p.m. He crawls the jig through the brush. “There’s a wad of ’em in that brush, but I’m not seeing anything big.” 

• 12:24 p.m. Davis abandons the brushpile and moves toward the back of the cove while casting the jerkbait around seawalls and docks. The surface temp here is 85 degrees. 

• 12:29 p.m. A bass hits the jerkbait off a seawall without hooking up, 

• 12:38 p.m. Davis is back on the high spot he fished earlier. He pinpoints a small brushpile on the edge of the structure, casts the Shaky Worm to the cover and catches his ninth keeper, 2 pounds, 12 ounces. “That’s a better fish!” 


• 12:45 p.m. The brush Davis is keying on is 9 feet deep. He makes another cast with the Shaky Worm and catches his 10th keeper, 2 pounds, 10 ounces. 

• 12:49 p.m. Davis runs the 5XD around the brushpile. A bass grabs it but shakes free. 

• 12:57 p.m. Davis nudges the Shaky Worm through the brush. He reels it up to make another cast and a 5-pounder follows it to the boat. 

• 1:15 p.m. No further action on the hump, so Davis runs back to the dam and catches a small yellow bass (panfish) on the jerkbait. 

• 1:21 p.m. Davis moves to a nearby channel bank and casts the jerkbait over a submerged tree. 

• 1:32 p.m. Davis’ time is nearly up. He ties on a Spro Poppin’ Frog in the killer gill color and begins skipping it around flooded bushes. 

• 1:37 p.m. Davis skips the frog beneath an overhanging tree and a good fish plasters it! He leans on the bass, but it shakes free. 

• 1:45 p.m. Time’s up! The bite has been fairly tough today on Lake T, but Davis has managed to boat 10 keeper bass. His five biggest fish weigh 10 pounds even. 


“It was pretty dang tough out here today,” Davis told Bassmaster. “I had to go through quite a few different lures and use slow presentations to convince them to bite. I caught four of my five biggest keepers after noon, but I never could get the big bites I needed to pump up my poundage. If I were to fish here tomorrow, I’d try to catch a couple of big fish early with that frog before moving offshore and looking for more brushpiles.” 


1. 1 pound, 12 ounces; green pumpkin Big Bite Baits Trick Stick (Texas-rigged with 4/0 hook and 3/16-ounce sinker); submerged rockpile; 10:59 a.m. 
2. 1 pound, 9 ounces; matte shad Spro McStick 110 +1 jerkbait; submerged brushpile in pocket; 12:09 p.m. 
3. 1 pound, 5 ounces; same lure as No. 2; same place as No. 2; 12:11 p.m. 
4. 2 pounds, 12 ounces; redbug Davis Bait Co. Original Shaky Worm on 3/16-ounce Davis Bait Co. Little Wills Shaky Worm Head; brushpile on submerged hump; 12:38 p.m. 
5. 2 pounds, 10 ounces; same lure as No. 4; same place as No. 4; 12:45 p.m.