As a fan of the Bassmaster Elite Series, there’s no better way to engage with each event and put your knowledge to the test than playing Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing. That’s exactly why 2023 Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing grand prize winner Shane Davis (SHAKEY62614) has been playing since the introduction of Fantasy Fishing many years ago.
Davis, a native of Quinton, Ala., tallied up 11,728 points over the course of the 2023 season to take home the grand prize package that includes a $15,000 Bass Pro Shops Gift Card, $5,000 cash, an additional $500 Bass Pro Shops gift card for being a B.A.S.S. Member, a Rapala prize package and an expense-paid trip to fish with Bassmaster Classic Champion Davy Hite. Sounds like a pretty good deal for a game that’s completely free, right?
After his fantastic Fantasy Fishing run in 2023, we caught up with Davis to figure out some of his strategies and his overall experience with the game.
Did you have a go-to angler you selected often during the year? Also, who is your favorite Bassmaster Elite Series angler?
Not really. I typically tried to work in all the factors of where they were fishing — time of the year, water temperature and expected fishing styles. Ideally, I tried to go with at least two anglers per event that are specialists with forward-facing sonar. As for a favorite angler, how can you not respect what Rick Clunn is doing at his age? As an avid angler myself, I realize how hard it is to compete on the Bassmaster Elite Series which makes it that much more impressive that Clunn is still doing it. If I had to pick a favorite based on fishing style, I would say Greg Hackney’s style fits me the most.
Do you believe in selecting anglers for Fantasy Fishing that have built up momentum in past events?
I try not to make Fantasy Fishing picks based on momentum because the type of fishery and the style of fishing play such massive roles in my picks. For instance, if it’s going to be a sight fishing event, I’m going to have both Drew Benton and Drew Cook on my team regardless of how they did in a previous event.
Do you tend to pick anglers that are local to the lake, or do you try to pick anglers based on their strengths and what techniques they are known for?
There are certainly times when I go with the local anglers because certain anglers’ results are so good on their home lake, but I try to stick to selecting anglers based on their fishing strengths.
What was your highest tournament finish this year?
I scored 1,373 points for the St. Clair event and actually picked Joey Cifuentes who won the tournament.
How far in advance do you set your lineup before the event starts?
I actually wait until the day before the event before I set my roster for Rapala Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing.
How often do you change your lineup after you set it?
Once I set my lineup, I leave it as is. I don’t even think about it after I set it.
How closely do you pay attention to anglers’ social media feeds to see if guys are catching them in practice?
I don’t pay attention to it at all. I feel like you can easily be fooled by anglers acting like they’re not on them but end up being on them. The only thing I really pay attention to is the podcast that you (Kyle Jessie) and Ronnie Moore do — Inside Bassmaster Podcast — to preview each event because you guys talk about practical stuff like water temperature and what kind of event it’s setting up to be from a stylistic standpoint.
What are you going to spend the money on?
I actually just bought a new Triton Bass Boat, so I used almost every bit of the Bass Pro Shops gift card and cash to fully rig out my boat. I waited until Black Friday and bought the new Minn Kota Ultrex Quest, Minn Kota Raptors, Humminbird Helix 12 and 10 units, Humminbird MEGA 360, Garmin EchoMAP Ultra 126 unit and a Garmin Livescope Plus LVS34 Transducer. I knew as soon as I won what I was going to do with the prize money. It worked out great.
If you had to give Fantasy Fishing players one last piece of advice to be successful, what would it be?
Do your research. Obviously, there’s a ton of information on these guys and the kind of events they do well in across all leagues, so make sure to do extensive research. This will help you understand the types of events each angler excels in. Another thing is, if you have a gut feeling on a pick, go with it.