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Davis takes BASS Elite lead

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DETROIT, Mich. — Mullygrubs?

Yup. Mark Davis said he had them on Thursday, the first day of the Bassmaster Elite Series Plano Championship Chase out of Detroit, Mich. He said he caught the mullygrubs after not boating two big smallmouth bass he hooked. He settled for second place.

He shook off those mullygrubs Friday. Not hard to do after spending a great day on the water, weighing 20 pounds, 10 ounces of smallmouth bass and taking the Chase lead with a two-day tally of 42 pounds, 11 ounces.

“Mullygrubs,” the pro from Mount Ida, Ark., explained, is an old Arkansas term that means something that falls between the grumps and the blues, and maybe is tangled with regrets over missed chances.

“No mullygrubs today, everything was good. Everything went pretty well. I caught a limit pretty quick. I did lose one huge fish, but you aren’t going to catch all these big smallmouth,” said Davis, the 1995 Classic winner who also took the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title that same season. He went on to claim another AOY crown in 1998 and a third in 2001.

Davis was in front by 1 pound, 4 ounces over Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., who moved up from third into second place with 41-7. In third place Friday with 40-7 was Kotaro Kiriyama of Moody, Ala., breaking free from a Day 1 tie at fifth place.

First-day leader Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala., fell to fourth with 39-10. Fifth place was taken by Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, also with 39-10. (The tie-breaker of largest bag over two days was applied, with Lane winning for his 22-9 of Day 1.)

The field was cut to the Top 50 for Friday’s third round. On Saturday, only the Top 12 will compete for the Chase prize of $100,000 and an entry in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.

Unusual for him, Davis has made a long run and endured it two days in a row. Traveling from the takeoff point on Lake St. Clair to his productive spots south into Lake Erie has been a gamble he’s been willing to take. His jackpot would be earning enough points to qualify for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic (which he could also achieve with a win).

He vows he won’t change his game plan for Saturday, the third of four competition days.

Davis said he is drop shotting to smallmouth, but tweaking his presentation to get the bites. Exactly what his adjustments have been, he understandably wasn’t ready to reveal.

In second place, Martens positioned himself not only to make a run at an event win, but at the biggest award of the Elite season, the Toyota Angler of the Year title.

His title bid got a boost Friday when the AOY frontrunner coming into the Chase, Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., fell out of the cut by 8 ounces. He finished in 54th place.

The upshot was that by Friday, interim points standings had Martens 22 points ahead of Evers.

Behind both Martens and Evers in the points standings was seven-time AOY Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich. VanDam needs to make up 34 points to catch Martens. VanDam’s window is still open a crack. Like Martens, he made the cut — but at 27th place.

The Chase is based just north of Detroit on Lake St. Clair, the fishery that’s No. 1 on Bassmaster Magazine’s 2013 list of 100 Best Bass Lakes. Elite pros also are allowed to fish in the adjoining St. Clair and Detroit rivers, as well as Great Lakes Erie and Huron.

Lane weighed the heaviest fish of the day, a 5-12. It matched his 5-12 of Thursday — that day’s biggest bass.

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