Josh Busby and Mike McCormick were the highest finishers representing Joe Bass Team Trail at the 2014 BASS Team Championship. I though it would be a good thing to do a short story on their efforts. With that said I asked Joe Bass Team Trail feature writer Mark Thompson to contact David for a short interview. Here is that story…
After season long battles in their respective team circuits, 155 of the nation’s top teams descended on DeGray Lake in west central Arkansas with hopes of a dual finish; win the top team award after the first two days of the tournament while targeting the top three overall where those teams would split into 6 individuals vying for a berth in the Bassmasters Classic! Josh Busby of Rogersville Mo and Lee’s Summit MO’s David McCormick paired up for the event and had a stellar 6th place overall finish. David recently shared details of their experience as noted below.
Josh and David qualified through the ultra-competitive Joe Bass Team Trail circuit, although there was an interesting twist to how they were lined up for the Bassmasters Team Championship. Josh and his year-long partner Joe Brantley, along with David and his partner Joe Dorcy, both made the cut at the Joe Bass Championship last October at a stingy Lake of the Ozarks tournament. However, both Joes were able to attend the Team Championship, leaving Josh and David with the notion they would be unable to compete in the event. David explained that BASS determined that since both met the qualification criteria at the Joe Bass Championship, they were allowed to compete at the Team Championship. David wanted to clarify that since both he and Josh qualified for the Team Championship, BASS’s declaration of pairing the two individual qualifiers was within the intent of their regulations.
2 weeks prior to the off limits cutoff, Josh and David made a scouting trip to DeGray and came away with a few patterns they thought would carry over to the Championship. David also declared DeGray as perhaps the best hybrid bass lake on the planet as they encountered numerous schools that would stay on the surface for 30 minutes or more, allowing them to catch multiple fish in the 10-15 pound range! Their black bass pattern materialized as a relatively shallow finesse jig bite accented with a shaky head Senko. The duo had success on several kicker fish during practice which could prove crucial during the competition given the slot limit and peculiar culling regulations. Although they had heard DeGray was touted as a solid smallmouth fishery, David stated they never caught a brown pass anytime during their time on the water. The team speculated the recent decision to spray the nutrient-rich coontail throughout the lake has had a decidedly negative impact on the black bass fishery, as it has negated tremendous habitat for the largemouth that had dominated the lake.
After refining their pattern from prepractice during the official practice days, the Missouri team was startled as David laid back on a true heavy weight on his first cast of the tournament. However, rather than the kicker bass they had hoped for, a 15 pound drum circled its way to the boat! That aside, they fished a flawless tournament as they were one of the few teams to weigh two five-fish limits. Consistency showed in their daily weights of 10-8 and 10-12, giving them a two day total of 21-4 and a very solid sixth place finish, an amazing feat given this was the first tournament they had ever fished together. Although they avoided the curse of lost fish, they couldn’t duplicate the big bite as they never connected with the larger bass they had caught during prepractice. In fact, had they been able to cull a small Kentucky, the would have made the top three cut after the Team portion of the event and continued on for the two day head-to-head competition that would culminate in filling the final berth in the Bassmaster Classic.
David expressed his joy in fishing with Josh, noting that his knowledge and enthusiasm made for a natural fit as they pursued the dream of making the Classic. He also credited BASS for a well-organized event. When asked if he would make the trip to Guntersville next fall should he be fortunate enough to qualify, he quickly responded “You bet!”. Their quest has already begun as Josh and partner Tim Taylor secured a solid 3rd place finish in the Valentine’s Day Joe Bass Table Rock Division opener, while David paired with Mike Edrington for a solid points finish barely out of the money cut. Rest assured that both of these accomplished anglers will be gunning for a return trip to the Bassmasters Team Championship as they compete in 2015 Joe Bass Team Trail events.
See these photos on BASSMASTERS.