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6/29/21 Chad Davison wins MOYak Bass Fishing series tournament on Truman

Chad Davison took home the top prize over the weekend in a field of 82 kayaks with five fish coming in at 87.25″. In the kayak tournament format, fish are photographed and immediately released. The best five are then added together for a final total.

Davison is a newcomer to kayak fishing, but he’s been around the tournament circuits for 25 years competing in the Ozark Mountain Team Trail series and Solo Pro among many others. After some bad luck with boat damage on Truman last year, he decided to trade the boat for a kayak.

“The cost of boat ownership really adds up, especially when a surprise tree on Truman causes thousands of dollars in damage to your hull,” Davison said. “That was disheartening, and I wanted to do something where I could start getting into areas that were less pressured by other anglers.”

Transitioning to kayak fishing was a perfect fit. He started learning more about the kayak tournaments while he was actually out fishing some of the Solo Pro tournaments. He ran into several guys in kayaks and chatted with them on the water. The more he learned about it, the more excited he became to try it.

“As I’ve gotten more involved in the kayak fishing world, I’ve been extremely impressed with how the tournaments are run,” Davison said. “I’ve been fortunate to have success with a 2nd place finish at Wilson Lake recently, and now the victory at Truman, so I can’t say that I’m really missing the bass boat right now,” he joked.

Still, it’s taken some adjustments getting used to the new style of fishing.

“It’s obviously not as easy covering a lot of water with the kayak and you can’t run all over the lake,” he said. “You really have to prefish some areas and just stick with it.”

Davison runs an Old Town Autopilot kayak with spot lock on his Minnkota Ultrex.

“I feel like that was a big factor in my success in this tournament on Truman as I was focusing on the windiest banks,” Davison stated. “The other guys I saw ahead of me were passing right by those banks looking for more protected coves and other areas and didn’t even cast a line where I caught a majority of my fish.”

Davison did practice leading up to the event in between the storms that were moving through the area. He found a few fish on Thursday on the lower lake, but didn’t find the bites he was looking for. The storms may have played a role in slowing down the bite.

“A lot of the things David McCormick said on the MOyak podcast were helpful for me because I hadn’t been to Truman yet this year,” Davison said.  “One of the things he said was that he would focus on the lower lake in the cleaner water, so that’s what I did during practice on Thursday and Friday to find the areas I wanted to target.”

He ultimately found an area on Friday that was producing better, and decided that was the area he would commit to come tournament day. When Saturday arrived, the lake had been pulled down quite a bit and the water at the dam was basically shut off. So, he figured a lot of fish were likely pulled out towards the main lake, where he focused on points a majority of the day.

“I committed to the main lake and was getting bites on the deeper channel banks,” he said. I fished some channel pockets that weren’t too deep and there were 2 or 3 times I went to the back of some pockets to check it out and wasn’t getting any bites. So, that pretty much convinced me they were main lake oriented.”

On tournament day, he started off throwing topwater early like a lot of other guys were doing. But unlike others who didn’t find a lot of success, he downsized his topwater baits to a smaller profile and that were less “obnoxious” on the noise they put out. He made that decision because the fish were just sucking it in and not really exploding on it aggressively. The smaller, subtle topwater biats paid off for him as he had a limit in the first hour and was sitting in a comfortable position amongst the field of competitors.

As the wind picked up, he switched to a 2.5 squarebill with Bluegill pattern Crank Wraps and went to work utilizing spot lock to keep him in position to cast to every tree that was in the right zone, advancing about 10-15 feet at a time after he worked all the cover.

He was able to cull several fish, and ultimately caught his biggest bass, measuring 19.25 inches, a little later on using a Shakey head with a magnum trick worm. That was the only bite he got on that bait, but it was an important one.

“I like to fish a lot of different things and I junk fish a lot,” Davison said. “That works well out of a kayak and I just focused on fishing everything that was in front of me.”

“It is really cool seeing the live updates on the tournament app throughout the day,” he added. “That helped me see I was sitting in a good position and just kept me calm and focused knowing I was doing the right thing.”

Ultimately, Davison maintained his lead for most of the day, but it was close. He edged out second place by only 1.25 inches.

“This was the biggest event that I’ve fished in and won,” he said. “Something just seems to have finally clicked for me being in a kayak. It is really special and means a lot after the boat troubles I dealt with last year. I’m looking forward to being back on Truman again later this year.”

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