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.

Evers Catches An 8, Becomes First To 50

Things can happen fast at Kentucky Lake. Whether it’s first thing in the morning on the first spot of the day or in the waning moments of the afternoon, there are periods of time where the fishing can be absolutely unrivaled. During these feeding frenzies, it’s not uncommon to hook fish on multiple casts in a row. While most competitors who’ve fished Kentucky Lake in the past say the schools aren’t as numerous or voluminous as they’ve been in previous years, there are still opportunities to get groups of fish fired up. Timing is a big part of the equation. Luck accounts for the rest. Tim Horton had two occasions today where he caught three fish within five casts. Brett Hite had a four-cast sequence that netted him four keepers this morning. Brandon Lester said he had 19 pounds in four casts this morning, including a double on a crankbait. Edwin Evers also had a memorable sequence this morning, capped off by an 8-pounder that catapulted him into the lead after 2 days of BASSFest. It anchored his 27-02 stringer that made him the only angler to crack the 50-pound mark at the halfway point. “I’m super-excited,” said Evers, who has 51-02 heading into the off day. “That 8-pounder was a blessing. That goes a long ways.” Read more:

Bidding to compete against Evers still open

BassFans can bid through Thursday for an opportunity to fish against Edwin Evers in a Healing Heroes in Action event set for May 28 at Oklahoma's Grand Lake. Evers and longtime sponsor Optima Batteries are choosing combat-wounded Purple Heart veterans through Wounded Warriors In Action to fish on Evers’ boat and compete in head-to-head fishing contests. A two-man challenger team for each event is selected by an online auction held on Evers’ Facebook page. Read more:

Hooks and more hooks, part 1

When you get right down to it, we don't catch bass on lures or live baits. We catch them on hooks — single hooks, treble hooks, even double hooks. Without hooks, we simply don't catch bass. Which is why it's so surprising that otherwise good anglers don't put more emphasis on the hooks they use. For me and most of the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers, hooks are a big deal. If you’re an experienced bass angler, you know that you need to match the hook you're using with the application or method you’re fishing. Mismatched hooks are a sure way to lose fish — if you can even get them to bite. A lot goes into my choosing the right hook for the job, and I carry a lot of hooks with me when I fish a tournament. Few things are more frustrating than not having the right tool for the job, and hooks are among the most important tools an angler uses. Today's hooks are mostly a lot better than the hooks that were available on the market when I was just getting into fishing. Back then, every serious angler carried a hook hone or whetstone with him just to sharpen hooks as they were used throughout the day. Today's hooks are much sharper and much stronger than those of 20 or 30 years ago. In fact, they're so much sharper, that it usually makes more sense to throw away a dull hook than it does to try to sharpen it. If you take a premium hook out of the package today and run it over a hone a few times, you haven't sharpened it — you've dulled it! About the only time I try to sharpen a modern hook is when I've noticed something very minor that I think I can quickly and easily fix with just a couple of passes over the sharpening stone. Maybe I detect a burr or some little thing like that. If it's something more, the solution is simple. Throw that hook away and get a new one. Since today's hooks are almost all very sharp, it's usually other qualities I'm looking for when selecting a hook. One of the big factors is diameter. Basically, I want hooks that are thin and strong, but those two qualities are typically at the opposite ends of the spectrum from each other. Thin hooks are not the strongest, but they penetrate well on the hookset. Thick hooks are very strong, but it takes more to get good penetration. Generally, if I'm using light line or making long casts, I'm going to use a light, thin-diameter hook. If I'm using heavy line and fishing close, I can get away with a thicker, heavier hook. But there are exceptions to this general rule. Single hooks With soft plastic baits and jigs, we're generally using single hooks, and since most soft plastics don't come with hooks, it means we get to match the baits up with the hooks of our choice. No room for excuses here! I do a lot of pitching and flipping — close-range fishing with heavy line in heavy cover. For that kind of application, I want a really stout hook that won't bend or flex much. My choice is the Mustad Denny Brauer Grip Pin Max Flippin' Hook, and most of the time (about 90 percent), I'm using a 4/0 model. What I like about that hook is that it won't bend. A big reason for lost fish when flipping and pitching is that your hook "gives" just enough to pull free in heavy cover. It doesn't happen with this hook. Now I want to tell you something about my hook selection when flipping and pitching that may surprise you. When I'm pitching and punching heavy cover, I will drop down a size or two (my favorite size is 3/0) because the smaller hook will penetrate the cover better and is less likely to catch on something when I'm trying to pull a bass out of the mat. Most guys want the biggest hook they can get for this method, but not me.

Day 4 with Evers

Edwin Evers started in third place on Day 4 of the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Havasu presented by Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels event. And was looking for a big day to jump into the lead.

Fantasy: You should have chosen Evers

Edwin Evers earned big Bassmaster Fantasy Fishing bonus points on Day 1 of the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Havasu presented by Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, and then he went on finish in third place. Players who picked him did best. His 40-point big-bag bonus and his 5-point Day 1 leader bonus pushed him head-and-shoulders above anyone in his bucket. Here’s the perfect team: Bucket A: Aaron Martens, Clifford Pirch, 305 points B: Brent Ehrler, 251 C: Edwin Evers, 335 D: David Williams, 280 E: Takahiro Omori, 285 Total: 1,456 No Fantasy Fishing player achieved a score that high. A: Martens, Pirch Bucket A may have been the toughest Bucket A to choose from in the history of Bucket A. Thankfully for fans of Aaron Martens and Clifford Pirch, the two anglers tied at 305 points, putting Martens’ 20.3 percent of owners and Pirch’s 11.6 percent at the top. The most popular pick in the bucket was Dean Rojas, who was the next-highest-scoring angler. He earned 276 points for his 43.5 percent of owners. The next-best angler to pick was Justin Lucas. He was owned by only 2 percent of players, but he delivered 229 points. See how stacked Bucket A was? All four of those pros were in the Top 12. The bucket had a couple of other popular picks who disappointed. Three big names — Mike Iaconelli, Kevin VanDam and Skeet Reese — had middling ownership numbers (3.3 percent, 5.8 and 4.8, respectively) and middling Fantasy Fishing scores to go along with them (167 points, 159 and 131, respectively). B: Ehrler Very few people lost big points in Bucket B. In this case, the sheeple were right. Brent Ehrler was the pick by 42.9 percent of the bucket, and he was the best with 251 points. Other popular picks were Bobby Lane and Greg Hackney at 9.5 percent each. They scored 205 and 189 points, respectively. The hardest hit were owners of Todd Faircloth, 9.1 percent, at only 139 points and Mike McClelland, 7.8 percent at 119 points. Every other angler in the bucket was a low pick, around 3 percent or fewer owners. If you didn’t pick Ehrler, you would have done well with Jeff Kriet, 2.6 percent, at 237 points; Dennis Tietje, 0.1 percent, 227; or Randy Howell, 2.7 percent, 221. C: Evers Edwin Evers paid huge dividends for the Fantasy Fishing players who had faith in him.

Evers Pulls To Front With Lone 20-Pound Stringer

Local experts predicted that a 20-pound bag would come to the scale on each day of the Lake Havasu Bassmaster Elite Series. On day 1, that stringer was caught by Edwin Evers. The veteran from Oklahoma's 20-07 haul placed him just under a pound ahead of the 111 other anglers on the circuit's first visit to the desert impoundment that sits on the Arizona-California border. Despite winds that reached 30 mph at times, the lake lived up to its newly gained reputation as the prime bass fishery of the Desert Southwest, surrendering 20 sacks that weighed 16 pounds or more. Arizonan John Murray, who's competed on Havasu since 1985 and vividly remembers when 10 pounds was considered a superb day, grabbed the No. 2 slot with 19-08. Matt Herren, who had mechanical issues and never even made it to the scale on day 1 last week at the Sacramento River, caught 18-09 to settle into 3rd. Randall Tharp, trying to turn around a miserable season in which his finishes started out bad and have gotten progressively worse, sacked 18-03 and sat in 4th. Second-year pro Mike Kernan, bidding for his second Top-12 showing of the campaign, completed the Top 5 with 18-02. Here's a look at the early Top 12, with red numbers in parentheses indicating deficit margins from the leader: 1. Edwin Evers: 20-07 2. John Murray: 19-08 (0-15) 3. Matt Herren: 18-09 (1-14) 4. Randall Tharp: 18-03 (2-04) 5. Mike Kernan: 18-02 (2-05) 6. Shaw Grigsby: 17-15 (2-08) 7. Bobby Lane: 17-13 (2-10) 8. Kelly Jordon: 17-12 (2-11) 9. Cliff Pirch: 17-08 (2-15) 10. Kevin VanDam: 17-06 (3-01) 11. (tie) Stephen Browning: 16-11 (3-12) 11. (tie) Alton Jones: 16-11 (3-12) 11. (tie) Greg Vinson: 16-11 (3-12) The wind was the dominant story of the day, and it helped some competitors while hindering others. Havasu's water is mostly ultra-clear and the roiling surface undoubtedly aided the reaction-bait bite. Conversely, it limited the anglers' ability to move around freely and made proper boat positioning and precise casts difficult for those relying on slower-moving offerings. Angler of the Year (AOY) leader and Lake Havasu City resident Dean Rojas had a lackluster day, catching a 14-01 sack that left him right on the mark where the cut will fall after day 2 (52nd place). Skeet Reese's AOY hopes took a severe blow as he weighed just three fish for 6-00 and is mired in 105th. The wind is expected to subside significantly on day 2 – predicts that it'll blow at 13 mph out of the south/southwest. The air temperature will top out at only 72 degrees, which is unseasonably cool for May. Evers Surprised Read more:


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