Take into account that the leaders on days one and two (Alex Davis and Wes Logan) each caught only one fish the day after taking over the lead. That led most to feel it was anyone’s game to win heading into the final day. Clent Davis proved them right.
The Alabama pro became the first angler to with the Cup after starting the final day in 10th, as he sacked up a tournament best 17 pounds, 13 ounces the final day – nearly equaling what he’d caught the previous two days combined – to take the Cup.
By now there’s little secret on how to win at Ouachita in August. You either burn the bank with topwaters, focus on schooling fish or fish deep brush piles. Davis says his best strength is fishing brush piles, so that’s all he stuck with despite mediocre returns in practice and even into the first day of the tournament.
Things finally began to turn around late on day one, as he was able to catch a limit dragging a Mister Twister Mag 12 BUZZ Worm in plum apple on a 1/2-ounce head. He also swam a hollow-belly swimbait just above the brush, and he mixed in a Yo-Zuri 3DR Series Pencil topwater when fish came up schooling nearby.
He copied his day one weight of 9-8 on day two, but things busted open quick on day three when he caught a 2 ½-pounder and quickly followed it up with a 5-pounder. A late 4-pounder sealed the comeback.
Now, let’s look at the rankings.
Obviously, we’ll start with Davis, whose finishes have been all over the map during his first season back on the tour (he fished the Elite Series the previous two seasons). He had back-to-back top 10s, but he also had a pair of finishes in the hundreds. Fortunately, he dropped the worst tournament of his career this week (2016 Elite Series on the Potomac), and when combined with his Cup victory, he’s now ranked back in the double digits, moving up to 96th.
As for the rest of the FLW anglers, Ouachita took a toll on almost all their rankings. There is now only one FLW Tour angler ranked in the top 10 and three in the top 20. Of course, the one in the top 10 is No. 1-ranked Bryan Thrift, who somehow managed to extend his consecutive-limit streak despite the brutal conditions.
Cody Meyer (15th) and Brandon Cobb (19th) are the other two in the top 20, and for a second it’s worth touching on Cobb. The South Carolina pro has now made four straight Cup top 10s, and has quietly been one of the best anglers in the sport for awhile. In fact, if not for one really bad finish at Cumberland in 2017, he’d easily be ranked in the top 10.