HIGH ROCK LAKE, N.C. When he first located the deep brushpiles on High Rock Lake, Mark Davis didn't catch a bass there.
But he thought they "looked good," so he decided to return when competition in the 25th Bassmaster Classic began.
This time the brushpiles paid off in a big way, helping Davis win the Silver Anniversary edition of bass fishing's premier event.
Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., became the first angler to win both the Classic and BASS Angler of the Year award in the same season with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 47 pounds, 14 ounces.
Davis gave up his topwater pattern on the second day after boat traffic muddied the water.
Looking for deeper spots, he remembered the brushpiles. He didn't get a bite there for 45 minutes, until he picked up a white, 1-ounce Strike King Pro Model spinnerbait, let it sink to the bottom, then reeled it up really fast.
A 4-pounder slugged it. Five casts later, the same retrieve produced a 3-pounder.
The same strategies produced a final round catch of 16-4 and gave the 31-year-old the Classic trophy and $50,000.
• After his victory, Mark Davis's hometown had a "Mark Davis Day" in his honor.
• Second-place finisher Mark Hardin was leading going into the final day and lost a 4-pound largemouth that cost him the Classic.
Top 6 finishers
1. Mark Davis Mount Ida, Ark. 47-14
2. Mark Hardin Canton, Ga. 46-00
3. Mickey Bruce Buford, Ga. 44-13
4. Mike Wurm Hot Springs, Ark. 42-08
5. David Fritts Lexington, N.C. 39-10
6. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, Mich. 38-12