Pros Tutor Marshals

It was 38 degrees, and the wind was blowing about 15 miles per hour. Les Davis was bundled up, only his nose exposed to the frigid temperatures as he waited for the blastoff of the final day of the Toyota Trucks Diamond Drive at Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle.

The Morrilton, Ark., angler was one of the Elite Series Marshals along for a ride with one of the pros. And, despite the conditions, Davis couldn't wait to make a long, cold run to watch Florida's Chris Lane work the waters.

"It's a learning experience," he explained. "People think you're crazy for being out here, but the things you learn from the pros are endless."

That was the consensus among the Marshals, who paid $100 each for the privilege of watching Elite Series pros compete for three long days.

"I think it's the greatest thing," Richardson, Texas, Marshal Darrell Lehmann said. "I've been talking about something like this for 20 years, and now somebody has done it."

Some Marshals are open about the fact that they are looking for local knowledge of the water.

"I'm just hoping some of these guys show me some new places on the lake," said Doug Talley, who hails from nearby Vilonia, Ark.

But even Talley said other information gained is invaluable.

"I've got eight hours to pick their brains," he said.

Davis said he's been impressed with how willing the pros have been to share.

"If you ask them what they're doing, they're pretty free telling you what they're doing," he said.

Talley, who observed Boyd Duckett and Jared Lintner the first two days before riding along with rookie Greg Vinson, said some pros are more open than others, but marked that up to some anglers' focus.

"I was with Lintner (on the first day of the Dardanelle event), and he got in a hole early," Talley said. "He put his head down and didn't talk a lot.

"I understand that."

The key, Lehmann said, is to strike a balance between learning and being obtrusive.

"I try to be as invisible as I can," he said.

However, even when he feels he should keep quiet, there is a lot to learn.

"You can learn a lot just by watching," Lehmann said. "It's the little details, watching where they cast and how they tied on a lure."

One of the best lessons is that every angler can do what the pros do.

"There's nothing magical about what they're doing," Lehmann said. "They're using the same baits. It's just a lot of hard, smart work.

"It's all about decisions, and that's what I'm learning."

Davis said he's looking forward to putting the information gleaned into action during his next tournament.

"You can get in a boat and go back to the same spot, and I guarantee you can catch the fish," Davis said. 

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