Mark Davis on Old Hickory Lake

 Tennessee Triumph follow-up: What happened with Davis?

 Old Hickory Lake, site of the Tennessee Triumph this week, is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers impoundment on the Cumberland River. Built in 1952 and located near Nashville, it covers 22,500 acres at normal pool and is well-known among bass anglers for its diverse habitat.

 Because it's a river impoundment there's a well-defined channel with plenty of twists, turns, drops and ledges to hold bass during the warm summer months. Along with the river channel there's a long stretch of fishable river at the upper end of the lake.

 And, don't count the shoreline out. Much of it is characterized by sharp drops and heavy underwater cover within an easy cast of the bank. Even better, nearly all of the lake offers respectable weed cover and, in some cases, the weeds themselves make for a bass catching pattern.

 "I think it's fishing much like an ordinary Cumberland River impoundment in summertime," says Mark Davis, Elite Series competitor and three-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. "There's a good bite offshore on the ledges. They're kind of finicky, though.

 "They only bite for a few minutes, but if you hit it right you can really catch a good sack in no time — you know, just a minute or two. They'll hit almost anything. Guys are catching them on crankbaits, jigs and worms.

 "Now, some of the guys are running way upriver, at least 50 miles, maybe 60. I don't know what's going on up there because I haven't been there myself but there must be something happening. I mean they're not running that far for nothing.

 "And, I think there may be some keeper bass along the shoreline, too. But, again, I haven't fished there myself so I can't say for sure."

 Based on all that, the Mt. Ida, Ark., native theorizes there will be a lot of bass caught this week. He expects a few stringers to reach the 18-20 pound mark with the possibility of an even bigger sack somewhere along the way.

 "I don't want to get into the details right now, but I will tell you I sure wish I could weigh my five best bass from yesterday (Monday) and today. Yes, sir, I surely do," he says with a slight chuckle. "The fishing's a lot better here than I expected ... a lot better."

 Davis believes the Top 50 cut weight will be around 20 pounds, with the Top 12 cut on Sunday morning to be "right at 39 pounds." He also thinks it'll take at least 55-60 pounds to win — "maybe better than that" — and that big bass honors will go to the angler who brings a bass to the scales pushing 7 pounds.

 "A 6-pounder is a real good one here, so I'd say something in that range will probably do it. But, you never know, there's always a chance of catching one around 7 pounds or better. I know you hear it all the time, but these guys (Elite Series anglers) are really good. They can catch 'em."

 Predicting an angler, or anglers, to watch is ... predictable. "You've got to look at VanDam. He's on fire and there are a lot of fish on the ledges. That's his thing.

 "But, I also think guys should look at Takahiro Omori. There are some things going on here that suit his style. I know that for a fact. Tak's due, you know. He hasn't had the best year but he's good, so I'd keep a close eye on him if I were you. This could be his tournament."

 Davis doesn't believe weather will play much of a factor in this tournament. "It's miserably hot now, during practice, and it's going to be miserably hot during the tournament. Nothing is expected to change. It's summertime in Tennessee. No, the weather won't affect the fishing at all."

 Tennessee Triumph follow-up: What happened with Davis?

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