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POINTS CHAMPION: Evers Outdistances Sprague to Win Bass Pro Tour Points Championship

NEENAH, Wis. – It seems appropriate that a Points Championship race that came down to the wire after a five-month season should come down to the final 50 minutes that the two men involved will fish in the 2019 Bass Pro Tour regular season? For Edwin Evers, it was jubilantly appropriate. For Jeff Sprague, likely painfully appropriate. But after eight regular-season events and an incredibly tight race, it was appropriate nonetheless. Evers Claims the Crown Needing to finish in the Top 20 in Elimination Round 2 for a chance to pass Evers in the points race, Sprague ended Friday’s Elimination Round with 48 pounds, 10 ounces, 2-8 below the Elimination Line in 25th place . Even as competition continues Saturday on Lake Butte des Morte for the remaining 40 pros, both Evers and Sprague already know their finishes in the event: Evers 42nd, Sprague 49th. That leaves Evers with 510 points for the season, Sprague with 500, and a Points Championship trophy bound for Talala, Oklahoma to join Evers’ other many career milestones. “As an angler, it’s a lifelong dream to win a title like this,” Evers said. “Somebody said to me earlier ‘Well, if you don’t win, you did win an event,’ but I’d trade that event win in a heartbeat to win a Points Championship.” It was the culmination of one of the best seasons in recent history in professional bass fishing for Evers, who started the season with four consecutive Top 10 finishes (including a win), and entered Stage Eight with a three-point lead over Sprague.

HEAVY HITTERS

If ever there was a single day of competitive, tour-level bass fishing that qualified as “heavy,” it was the first Shotgun Round of the MLF Bass Pro Tour Stage Three on Jordan Lake near Raleigh, North Carolina. Heading into the March 26-31 competition – which Jacob Powroznik won thanks to a 63-pound, 4-ounce day on Shearon Harris Reservoir – MLF NOW! analyst Marty Stone had touted the quality of the largemouth fisheries around Raleigh, predicting that the 80 MLF pros would achieve numbers previously unheard of in tour-level bass events. And was Stone ever right. On the first day of competition, the 40 anglers competing in the Group A Shotgun Round rang up an astounding 975 pounds, 15 ounces of scorable northern-strain largemouth. Perhaps more impressively: that near half-ton of bass was caught on a fishery that the majority of the field had never even seen before their abbreviated practice sessions two days prior. “That was one of the best fishing days I’ve ever had,” said Mark Daniels, Jr., who put 12 fish on SCORETRACKER that day, to the tune of a whopping 52-1. “It got to a point where I was getting a little nervous every time I got a bite because I didn’t know how big it was.”

Evers Wraps Up Dominating Win of Bass Pro Tour Stage Two on Lake Conroe

In the immediate aftermath of the first MLF Bass Pro Tour event in Kissimmee, Florida two weeks ago, Edwin Evers’ dissatisfaction with finishing second was palpable. Ever the professional, Evers complimented his fellow competitors and smiled for photos at the Berkley Postgame Show, but no talk of Cup points could bring the 11-time tour-level winner any comfort. Sunday afternoon on Lake Conroe, Evers made sure that the only postgame talk would be of how he earned his first-ever MLF Bass Pro Tour trophy. Evers racked up 51 pounds, 12 ounces to outdistance Jeff Sprague, (40-8), Boyd Duckett (35-15), Brent Ehrler (34-13) and David Walker (34-7) and claim the win at the Bass Pro Tour Huk Stage Two presented by Favorite Fishing. The Oklahoma pro caught 24 scorable fish on the day, including an exclamation point with 9 minutes left in competition: an 8-1 that hit a drop-shot Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper. “You can’t imagine how good it feels to catch a fish like that,” Evers admitted. “I knew there were big fish in there, because I shook some big ones off the second day of the event. The big females just hadn’t gotten there yet, but they’re coming.” Evers’ winning area Evers’ pattern was to flip his way down the bank with a Black Blue Berkley PowerBait Pit Boss, picking out small indentations and grassy, undercut banks and flipping his bait as close to the bank as he could. He also caught some fish on a vibrating jig. The area that Evers fished – a canal that he found during the Elimination Round – was shallow at the entrance, but fell off into slightly deeper water the further back he went. “I feel like I know this lake as well as any lake I fish, but I’d never been in that canal before,” Evers admitted. “It looked right when I looked at it on the map, and I had it all to myself – I assume because it was probably pretty muddy in practice. The water was just a little warmer and a little bit cleaner on a couple of those key stretches.”

NEED TO KNOW: How to View, Attend Bass Pro Tour Stage One in Kissimmee

History will be made in Kissimmee, Florida Jan. 29-Feb. 3, when the MLF Bass Pro Tour B & W Trailer Hitches Stage One presented By Power-Pole is contested on the waters of the Kissimmee Chain. Viewers around the world will be provided unprecedented access to on-the-water action and expert analysis via the MLF NOW! live stream as the top 80 bass pros in the world compete for the first-ever Bass Pro Tour trophy and a $100,000 payday. In addition, fishing fans attending the MLF Midway and live Major League Fishing Postgame Show presented by Berkley at Big Toho Marina will be part of a historic on-site gameday experience that’ll include sponsor activities, giveaways, food trucks and interaction with Bass Pro Tour pros. Here are the things you need to know about the MLF Bass Pro Tour Stage One: BASS PRO TOUR STAGE ONE – Kissimmee Chain When Bass Pro Tour Stage One will be contested Jan. 29 to Feb. 3 Where Kissimmee, Florida will serve as the host city, with Big Toho Marina (hosting the MLF Midway and post-game show MLF NOW! live stream schedule MLF NOW! will go live daily at 10 a.m. on www.MajorLeagueFishing.com, and will continue until “lines out” at 3:30. MLF NOW! cameras will go live again on the MLF website at 5 p.m. for the official post-game show. Fans are encouraged to attend the post-game show! Competition waters The following lakes in the Kissimmee Chain will host Rounds 1 through 5 (Shotgun rounds through Sudden Death rounds): Lake Tohopekagila, Lake Kissimmee, Lake Cypress and Lake Hatchineha in Osceola County. The action moves to Lake Garcia for the Championship Round on Feb. 3 MLF Midway The MLF Midway will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 1 through Sunday, Feb. 3. Admission is free.

Major League Fishing Announces Dayton Venue as Bass Pro Tour Stage Four

Major League Fishing announced today that Dayton, Tennessee is the fourth destination of the 2019 MLF Bass Pro Tour schedule, with its famed big bass fishery Chickamauga Lake ready to play a significant role in who wins the event, April 9 - 14. The Rhea County region, anchored by county seat Dayton and including much of Chickamauga and Watts Bar lakes on the Tennessee River, has been a proud and prominent supporter of fishing and its economic impact to the area for several years. "We are thrilled to have this opportunity to bring the MLF Bass Pro Tour to our backyard in its inaugural season," said Dennis Tumlin, Executive Director of Economic Development for Rhea County and Director of Dayton's "Fish Dayton" brand. "It's a great matching of our exceptional bass fishing to the sport's most exciting competition in MLF's catch, weigh and immediate-release format." "Rhea County is proud to showcase our world-class fishery during one of the prime times of the season for giant double-digit bass. If you've never tried our legendary fisheries firsthand, I encourage you to make plans now to come and join in on the festivities and see if you can catch your own personal best!," commented Rhea County Mayor, George Thacker. Scenic Chickamauga will be familiar to most of the 80-angler Bass Pro Tour field because it has hosted many major bass tournaments over the years. In fact, living in the proximity of the 36,240-acre lake are a handful of pros who are nearing or have already surpassed the million-dollar milestone in career tournament earnings, including Michael Neal, Andy Morgan, Wesley Strader, Jacob Wheeler and John Murray. "It's one thing to have Toho, Conroe and the untapped fisheries like Falls, Jordan and Harris to start the season, but to have 'The Chick' in the cleanup position makes this early season lineup amazing," said Michael Mulone, MLF Senior Director of Events and Partnerships, in referring to the tour's season openers in Florida, Texas and North Carolina prior to Tennessee. "You're likely to see some big-time home runs coming from the best hammers in all of fishing at this Dayton stop." The sizable Chickamauga and its nearly 60-mile length seem to always make the lake a tournament wildcard because of its vastness, diverse cover and generous population of bass over 10 pounds. "Just this past weekend, we had a 14.2-pounder caught and released, and the lake has really been fishing well for the past several years. We invite everyone to come participate in the activities throughout the competition days to witness firsthand our fabulous fishing and Southern hospitality. Please put this Dayton visit on your calendars now," Tumlin added.

Pros on Pros: Edwin Evers

We asked some of the Major League Fishing pros to tell us about Edwin Evers.

Inside Access

Edwin Evers' Tips for Florida Fishing Major League Fishing Pro Edwin Evers explains how he strategizes when he’s fishing in Florida.

Anglers Announce Their Commitment to Major League Fishing

Edwin Evers Major League Fishing Pro Edwin Evers has been fishing with MLF since the very beginning. On Monday night he posted on Facebook, in part, “I hope my brothers in this fraternity we call pro fishing will realize that we’ve never had a greater opportunity than we have right now, and that I’veseen more positive change in the last two weeks than I have in the past 20 years. It’s a chance for us to finally control our own destiny, and at the end of the day, you have to decide whether you want to be the bass or you want to be the shad. I want to be the bass. I’m excited about 2019 and our future fishing Major League Fishing next year.”

Major League Fishing Announces 80 Anglers Set for New Bass Pro Tour

Major League Fishing (MLF) leadership today announced the official roster of the 80 anglers who have committed to compete in the new-for-2019 Bass Pro Tour and MLF Cup events. The final list was made public during an MLF meeting held this week at Big Cedar Lodge with several of its sponsors and anglers present to discuss plans in follow up to the league's recent announcement of significant expansion for the purpose of growing the sport. "We understand how difficult this decision was for pro anglers ... everyone who has faced a potential career-changing move can relate to it, but the deadline has passed for the invitees and we now proudly have 80 individuals who have committed to a dream that goes beyond just a tournament payday," said MLF co-founder and PBTAA Vice President Boyd Duckett. "Sure, higher payouts are part of it, but for us this is not a competition we're in against other trails. It doesn't matter what B.A.S.S. or FLW does; our goal is different. These anglers know that and we're ecstatic to have them on board with the new MLF plans." The full 80-man field includes Bassmaster Classic champions, FLW Forrest Wood Cup winners, Anglers of the Year and top tour performers from throughout the world of competitive bass fishing. The 2019 MLF anglers are: Casey Ashley, Justin Atkins, Adrian Avena, Josh Bertrand, Tommy Biffle, Zack Birge, Stephen Browning, Brent Chapman, Jason Christie, Luke Clausen, Gary Clouse, Dustin Connell, Brandon Coulter, Cliff Crochet, Mark Daniels Jr., Mark Davis, Ott DeFoe, Boyd Duckett, Brent Ehrler, James Elam, Paul Elias, Edwin Evers, Todd Faircloth, Shinichi Fukae, Shaw Grigsby, Greg Hackney, Roy Hawk, Brett Hite, Tim Horton, Randy Howell, Mike Iaconelli, Alton Jones, Alton Jones Jr., Kelly Jordon, JT Kenney, Gary Klein, Jeff Kriet, Jason Lambert, Bobby Lane, Chris Lane, Russ Lane, Jordan Lee, Matt Lee, Dave Lefebre, Jared Lintner, Justin Lucas, Aaron Martens, Mike McClelland, Cody Meyer, Ish Monroe, Andy Montgomery, Andy Morgan, John Murray, Britt Myers, Michael Neal, Takahiro Omori, Cliff Pace, Brandon Palaniuk, Keith Poche, Jacob Powroznik, Skeet Reese, Marty Robinson, Dean Rojas, Mark Rose, Fred Roumbanis, Bradley Roy, Terry Scroggins, Fletcher Shryock, Gerald Spohrer, Wesley Strader, Scott Suggs, Gerald Swindle, Randall Tharp, Jonathon VanDam, Kevin VanDam, Greg Vinson, David Walker, James Watson, Jacob Wheeler and Jesse Wiggins. "This is a new day in professional bass fishing, with MLF and its team of anglers and partners now on a fast track to elevate the sport to a level comparable to that of other major league sporting events," MLF Commissioner Don Rucks said. "Our game is played on a 'field," and we have celebrities, fast action, rules, officials, penalties and a clock. Our participants like being role models and giving autographs, and we're going to make it easier for anglers and fans to share the passion of fishing going forward." "I, we, are going into this new MLF venture with a different mentality," said Kevin VanDam, holder of many bass fishing titles. "To me, looking at this list is a very powerful statement about the future of the league. This group of anglers accepted the opportunity because they all believe in the vision and that we have the chance to do something very special for the sport of fishing. With all the anglers working hard for the same end goal, the future is going to be very exciting." MLF will continue its popular Cup events and World Championship, airing on Outdoor Channel and CBS, respectively. New are the Bass Pro Tour competitions and championship, and eventually ,tour qualifiers, all of which will use the same entertaining and conservation-friendly catch, weigh and immediate-release format.

TrueTimber® Announces First-Ever ICAST Attendance to Showcase New Fishing Line

TrueTimber invites attendees of ICAST, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show, to visit the TrueTimber booth (5446) to see an assortment of performance gear in some of the company’s most sought-after camouflage patterns. Exhibiting at the show for the first time, TrueTimber is pleased to showcase an exciting new product line designed specifically for the fishing and outdoor community. Attendees can also discuss licensing opportunities and meet professional bass angler and TrueTimber brand ambassador Edwin Evers. “ICAST is one of the most important trade events in the recreational fishing industry, and we’re excited to be exhibiting for the first time in our company’s history,” said TrueTimber CEO Rusty Sellars. “As we prepare to formally debut our fishing product line, we see this as an incredible opportunity to meet with trade professionals and begin introducing our products to the industry. We’ll be displaying several photorealistic camo patterns, including the soon-to-come Viper Aqua and new Rift—which has already begun to roll out to our partners. Plus, with an appearance by pro angler Edwin Evers, it’s shaping up to be a big event for TrueTimber.” Edwin Evers Evers is a 11-time Bassmaster Elite Series Pro, two-time Major League Fishing winner and the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic champion. During his professional career, he has placed in the top ten in 63 Bassmaster tournaments. Now entering his 21st season as a professional angler, Evers is on track to compete in several B.A.S.S. tournaments and three Major League Fishing tournaments by the end of the year. He is also an avid outdoorsman and hunter, primarily hunting deer, turkey and waterfowl.

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