FLW Tour pro Clent Davis of Montevallo, Alabama, brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 17 pounds, 13 ounces – the heaviest limit weighed in the three-day event – to earn the win at the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita. Over three days, Davis amassed 15 fish totaling 36 pounds, 13 ounces to edge out second-place angler Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops pro James Niggemeyer of Van, Texas, by 7 pounds, 4 ounces and win the $300,000 top cash prize. The tournament featured 56 of the top bass-fishing anglers in the world competing for professional bass-fishing’s world championship.
“I don’t believe that I just won this,” said Davis, a former FLW College Fishing standout for the University of Montevallo. “I almost walked away from professional bass fishing last year. I was burned out on fishing. I sold all of my gear – my boat, all of my rods, my reels, every piece of equipment that I had. It wasn’t from failure, it was because I was burned out.
“(FLW Tour Senior Tournament Director) Bill Taylor called me in November and asked me if I was interested in rejoining the Tour,” Davis continued. “I decided to pay my deposits, but I was still on the fence. I decided that if I wasn’t fired up to go fishing by the time the season started, I would forfeit my deposits and go to work at the power company. But, I started getting the itch back around Christmas time and I decided I was going to get back out and just have fun, again. That’s what fishing is all about, it’s supposed to be fun.”
Davis’ decision to rejoin the Tour was definitely the correct one, as the Montevallo-native went on to finish the season ranked No. 25 in the Angler of the Year race – his best finish on Tour since his rookie season. He cashed checks totaling more than $62,000 in seven events and qualified for his third Forrest Wood Cup appearance.
“I knew that the only way that I was going to win this week was fishing brush piles,” Davis said. “There are so many ways to catch fish on this lake, but if it was going to happen for me it was going to be offshore, fishing out of the brush.
“My key bait that I caught all of my big ones on was a 12-inch, plum-colored Mister Twister Mag Buzz Worm. I was fishing anywhere from 22 to 30 feet deep throughout the week. The best anglers in the world were in this tournament and I knew that my only shot was fishing my strengths.
“I fished awful all week, losing fish, but I caught enough to squeak into the top-10 by 1 ounce,” Davis said. “I’m not supposed to win coming out in 10th place, so I went out today and just had fun. I had an incredible day on the water today and finally got lucky, catching my 5-pound kicker. I guess it was just my time.”
The top 10 pros at the 2018 Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Ouachita finished:
1st: Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala., 15 bass, 36-13, $300,000
2nd: Cabela’s/Bass Pro Shops pro James Niggemeyer, Van, Texas, 14 bass, 29-9, $60,000
3rd: Berkley pro Justin Atkins, Florence, Ala., 15 bass, 28-12, $50,000
4th: Nick LeBrun, Bossier City, La., 12 bass, 28-6, $37,500
5th: Jason Lambert, Michie, Tenn., 15 bass, 27-15, $30,000
6th: Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 15 bass, 26-13, $24,000
7th: Wes Logan, Springville, Ala., 11 bass, 25-9, $23,000
8th: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 13 bass, 24-7, $22,000
9th: Brandon Cobb, Greenwood, S.C., 12 bass, 23-1, $21,000
10th: Bradford Beavers, Summerville, S.C., nine bass, 20-8, $20,000
Full results for the entire field can be found at FLWFishing.com.