Who's in the 2016 Classic?

2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic will kick off at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK.

Day on the Lake with Edwin Evers

Bassmaster’s reality series puts Edwin Evers to the test on a small lake with seven hours to locate and catch bass. This is the veteran pro’s second “Day on the Lake” — during his first outing on May 4, 2004, Evers overcame unusually severe cold front conditions to boat five bass weighing 13 pounds, 11 ounces. Here’s what happened on Sept. 2, 2014. If you’re among the legions of anglers who find the summer/fall transitional period a particularly tough time of year to catch bass, what follows should prove enlightening. 7:35 a.m. Shortly after launching on Lake H, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Edwin Evers hooks a small bass on a square bill crankbait.

The 2016 Elite Series travels familiar roads and a few new ones for the 2016 season. Here's a look at where you can find the best fishermen in the world next year.

Kelly Bostian: Tragedy, triumph in Edwin Evers' New York event illustrates best of the outdoors

A veteran's heroism, a child's death and a professional angler's pursuit illustrate the worst and the best of life and fishing.

Evers marks history with win

With his win at the Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite Series event on the St Lawrence River, Edwin Evers reached a pair of historic milestones.

For one, he became the first angler in the history of the Elite Series to win back-to-back tournaments. In 87 events, it had never happened before, though a few anglers — notably Aaron Martens, Derek Remitz and Kevin VanDam — came close.

For another, Evers claimed his 10th career B.A.S.S. victory, a double-digit milestone that only Kevin VanDam (with 20), Roland Martin (19), Denny Brauer (17), Rick Clunn (14) and Larry Nixon (13) have reached.

Undeniably the most accomplished angler in B.A.S.S. history who has yet to win a major title (Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year or the GEICO Bassmaster Classic), in 2007 Evers became the youngest ever to earn $1 million in B.A.S.S. prize money (his record was broken by Casey Ashley earlier this year), and he's the only angler ever to win B.A.S.S. events with catches of all largemouth bass (several times), all smallmouth bass (Lake Erie in 2007 and the St. Lawrence River in 2015) and all spotted bass (Alabama River in 2013).

But we're not talking about a guy who's fading into the sunset. At 40 years old, Evers is in his prime.

Evers doubles down

Confidence means a lot to a tournament bass fisherman, and Oklahoma pro Edwin Evers said his was sagging a bit after a couple of tough events earlier this year. A win last month at BASSfest made Evers feel much better — and with a renewed sense of confidence, he went out and claimed his second victory in a row in this week’s Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River. With a four-day total of 77 pounds, 10 ounces, Evers became the first angler to win back-to-back events in the 10-year history of the Elite Series. He cemented the victory with a Sunday catch of five smallmouth bass that weighed 17-8. Evers said the victory at BASSfest — and the automatic berth into the GEICO Bassmaster Classic that came with it — played a major role in his New York strategy. “Last time we were here, I went upriver every day,” said Evers, who chalked up his 10th career B.A.S.S. victory at Waddington. “But I didn’t think I could win there. I felt like this year coming back, everybody was going to try to go that way and get as close as they possibly could to where Brandon Palaniuk won the last time we were here (in 2013). So I went the other direction, and it was hard.” Evers said he fished extremely long days during practice, taking advantage of a northern sun that often stays out from 5 a.m. to almost 10 p.m. But despite the long hours, he only got seven bites the first day of practice, four the second day and seven the third day. He said he stuck with his decision, partly because his Classic berth is already in the bag. “It made it a lot easier to do what I did this week, because I was not getting many bites,” Evers said.

E2 has W2 in sight

With several distinct patterns still in play and nine anglers within 6 pounds of the lead, the Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River is setting up perfectly for a dramatic finish on Championship Sunday. Edwin Evers, who began Saturday’s semifinal round with a lead of more than 3 pounds, retained the top spot with a catch of 16 pounds, 6 ounces that pushed his three-day total to 60-2. But his cushion dwindled to less than 1 1/2 pounds, with Arizona pro Josh Bertrand (58-11), Texas angler Alton Jones (57-8), New Jersey pro Michael Iaconelli (57-0) and a suddenly red-hot Kevin Ledoux (56-5) of Oklahoma trailing close behind. Evers stayed on top despite some early-morning trouble with his batteries. “Last night, I set both chargers up at my boat — one for my trolling motor battery and one for my cranking battery,” Evers said. “I hooked up the trolling motor side, but I guess I didn’t hook the cranking side up. The batteries probably would have made it through the day, but everything was real slow.” The time it took to change the batteries didn’t hurt Evers nearly as much as missed opportunities with fish. “I lost a little bit of time, not much,” Evers said. “But while they were doing it, I lost a 5-pounder. That hurt me a lot more.” Evers catch of 16-6 was easily his lowest of the week and the first time in seven rounds of fishing — dating back to his victory last month at BASSfest on Kentucky Lake — that he’s failed to bring in at least 21-2. If he’s to become the first angler ever to win back-to-back events on the Bassmaster Elite Series, he believes he’ll need more weight Sunday. But between today’s round and the time he was able to spend practicing after he’d caught good limits Thursday and Friday, he believes he’s located the fish it’ll take to win.

A special autograph

Edwin Evers' son signs autographs just before dad's big win.


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