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A year as Classic champ

I want to start by telling you that I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last column. The new Elite season and preparing for the upcoming GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods have taken up a tremendous amount of time. Now that the Classic’s just a week away, preparation becomes even more important, but so does this column.

I hope to write several columns over the next couple of weeks and even a few during the Classic on Lake Conroe. My mind never stops churning as I get ready for it. I’m feeling good about my preparation and I’m super optimistic about my chances. The Classic is an easy tournament to get “up” for, and I want to make the most of my time and energy between now and Day 1.

This seems like the perfect time to tell you that I have thoroughly enjoyed being your Bassmaster Classic champion. Thank you all for making the experience so great! Yes, the money was nice and it’s created some business opportunities for me, but the very best thing about it has been the chance to meet so many of you.

As an Elite Series pro, I had a certain level of recognition on the road and at events. That increased exponentially after winning the Classic, and it’s very humbling. I’ve done my best to take the time to speak with everyone I could and to say “yes” to as many requests as possible. It’s been a great and very humbling experience.

I was especially rewarded by my efforts with Wounded Warriors in Action, taking these heroes fishing and raising money and awareness for a great cause. These veterans have become my friends, and I hope to work with them and support them for a long time to come.

Second Chances

OPTIMA Batteries

47 things to do at the 47th Bassmaster Classic

There are far more than 47 things to do and see at the March 24-26, GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. But to celebrate the 47th annual world championship of bass fishing, this list stops at No. 47.

Fishing fans can also use this list as a set of reasons to attend the world championship, which features 52 of the world’s best bass anglers competing for more than $1 million on Lake Conroe, about an hour outside of Houston, Texas, plus the gigantic Outdoors Expo in the George R. Brown Convention Center and daily weigh-in festivities at the Houston Astros’ Minute Maid Park. All activities are family-friendly and free to attend.

Help cheer on your favorite competitor at morning takeoffs. Come to Lake Conroe Park (14968 TX-105, Montgomery, Texas 77356) at 7:20 a.m. CT each morning and send off some of the world’s best bass anglers.
Donut forget breakfast. Warm donuts will be available on-site from Shipley Donuts.
Ride like the wind. Want to know what it feels like to ride like the wind? Come to the take-off site at Lake Conroe Park to test out the latest boats and engines from Mercury, Nitro, Skeeter, Triton and Yamaha.
Experience the largest Outdoors Expo of its kind. Visit the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida de las Americas, Houston, Texas 77010). With more than 300,000 square feet of exhibit space, this Expo is the largest in Classic history. Expo hours areFriday, March 24, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, March 25, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, March 26, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. All events are free to attend.
Schedule your day. Use the online floor plan to find out which booths you want to visit and what new product introductions you don’t want to miss — available at Bassmaster.com/expoattend.
Meet anglers and win prizes. Check out the Miss GEICO racing boat –– and have the chance to play games, win prizes and meet anglers at the GEICO booth.
Search for deals. Find hot buys, deeply discounted closeouts and launches of many of the newest products for 2017 at the DICK’S Sporting Goods booth and the Academy Sports + Outdoors booth, among others.
Get into the drama of daily weigh-ins. The doors of Minute Maid Park (501 Crawford St., Houston, Texas 77002) will open each day at 3 p.m. for B.A.S.S. Life and Nation members and at 3:15 p.m. for the general public, Friday-Sunday. Find a seat, then sit back, relax and enjoy the slate of pre-weigh-in entertainment.
Get Hooked On Fishing. Bring your kids to check out the Shell Bassmaster Get Hooked On Fishing presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors area from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridayto Sunday. Activities include casting lessons, a kid’s fishing pond, a long-jump dog competition, animated character appearances and more. It’s free!

Conroe and the Classic record book

Tied record: Most Classic titles in field (12)

2017 Classic: Everything will be bigger

I’ll admit it. I rooted for the Patriots to beat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI held in Houston, Texas. I’m pretty sure I was the only person in the state of Alabama not cheering for the Falcons. After all, Atlanta’s Julio Jones (who I suspect to be a mutant with superpowers) was a former University of Alabama standout receiver, and is an avid bass angler. Still, I wanted to see history made. The fact that Tom Brady had the opportunity to win a record five championship rings as a starting quarterback was something I wanted to witness. It would be like watching Wilt Chamberlain score 100 points against the New York Knicks in 1962. Or like watching Nolan Ryan throw his seventh no-hitter. I wanted to say, “Yep, I watched that game!” Not only did Brady throw his way into the record books, but the game also was the first NFL championship to go into overtime. Houston was indeed historic. Well, in a few weeks, I believe the same sort of history will be made, again in Houston. Full disclosure: I am from Texas. And yes, we Texans are a proud lot, wont to believe that everything is bigger and better in the Lone Star State. But that is precisely why I think the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods in Houston (Lake Conroe) March 24-26 will break every attendance record kept for the world championship. Texans simply will not allow another state to claim the title of “most avid fishing fans.”

Edwin Evers on Targeting Smallmouth Bass Wolf Packs

For two-time Jack Links Major League Fishing champion Edwin Evers, there's nothing quite like hunting down a big-ole bass.

Unless, that is, he's hunting down a wad of big-ole bass, the kind of scale-busters that can win him a championship event like the 2013 MLF Challenge Cup in Istokpoga, Fla. and the 2015 MLF Challenge Cup in Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana.

Or the 2016 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake in northeastern Oklahoma, for that matter.

But as impressive as those signature wins have been in the career of Double E, they all came on the backs of largemouth bass, the predominant fish in those particular fisheries.

In northern Minnesota at the 2017 MLF Summit Cup, smallmouth bass undoubtedly play a pivotal role in who wins, perhaps even the renowned wolf packs of bass that the North Country is known for.

What's a wolf pack? In short, it's a huge group - a bronzeback gang, if you will - that roams around terrorizing local baitfish populations.

"Lots of them," said Evers. "That's what a wolf pack is, where there is lots of them."

GoPro: Edwin Evers previews Lake Texoma

Elite Series angler Edwin Evers gives a closer look at Lake Texoma's current condition.

Classic champion Edwin Evers partners with OPTIMA Batteries for Healing Heroes in Action Tour

The 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic champion Edwin Evers is teaming up once again with OPTIMA Batteries and a new partner, B.A.S.S., with live coverage on Bassmaster.com, to give deserving Purple Heart veterans a once-in-a-lifetime fishing experience in the OPTIMA Batteries Healing Heroes in Action Tour presented by General Tire.

Now in its second year, the Healing Heroes in Action Tour supports the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation, a national non-profit organization dedicated to serving the nation’s combat-wounded Purple Heart veterans through outdoor sporting activities.

“After a successful inaugural year, we’re honored to again bring these incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to veterans and fans nationwide in a way only OPTIMA Batteries can,” said Cam Douglass, director of marketing for OPTIMA Batteries. “The addition of new partners and sponsors, as well as our longstanding relationship with Edwin, only help extend the impact this program has on the lives of deserving veterans as well as the foundation.”

The tour is set to raise funds through a Facebook auction on Evers’ page, where fans can bid for a chance to fish against Evers and a Purple Heart veteran in one of four events across America. All money raised goes directly to the Wounded Warriors in Action Foundation.

The 2015 tour raised more than $12,000 for the Foundation through five local events, but new partnerships with B.A.S.S. and presenting sponsor General Tire bring the tour to a national audience via livestream and extended coverage on Bassmaster.com.

Texas police officer wins fish with Edwin Evers Sweepstakes

Mike Shurley, a police officer from Diboll, Texas, will get to share a boat with the reigning Bassmaster Classic champion next month as the winner of the Fish with Edwin Evers Sweepstakes.

“I still can’t believe this happened to me,” said Shurley. “If it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have much luck at all! But then I won this!”

Shurley doesn’t enter many contests, and he only buys a few lotto tickets when the pot gets really high. But this particular sweepstakes attracted him.

“Edwin Evers just seems like a genuinely nice guy,” said Shurley, “and after I entered the first time, it literally took me 30 seconds to do it every other time. I did it almost every day, but I was never really expecting to win. I just figured, why not enter?”

Then, when he got the email saying he had won, he thought it was a trick.

“As a police officer, I’m naturally skeptical of everything,” he said. “I figured it was just a way for somebody to try to sell me something. I called the number and the first thing I asked was, ‘Is this legit?’ And it was.”

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