The Alabama River tournament marked my first regular season Elite Series win with B.A.S.S. since the St. Johns River in 2011, and my eighth overall, along with a number of near misses. It’s a phenomenon that never grows old and each one is special in its own way. I’m very proud of this trophy partially because I rose in the standings every day from a tie for 4th to 3rd to 2nd and then I ended up in the winner’s seat. I never had a bad day. It was also kind of neat because now I’ve won an Elite Series event exclusively with spotted bass. I’d already won entirely on smallies at Erie in 2007, and of course I’ve done quite well on multiple largemouth-dominated lakes and rivers. Now I have the hat trick. A big key to my success was recalling my 3rd place finish in a Bassmaster Tour event on the river in 2003. We’ve been there since, but that was the one where the conditions most closely resembled the high water we faced this time. I remembered that Kenyon Hill won fishing way upriver in the canal I fished extensively this week and Jay Yelas also had a good tournament in the Coosa. I felt like I’d have to have multiple places to rely upon in order to manage four days of quality fish. On my first day of practice I went up and had 10 or 15 bites in the morning, a really good start, but I’m always kind of leery of success on Monday. You don’t want to get too much confidence in a single area or pattern, because by Thursday the current and water level can change dramatically. Heavy fishing pressure can also wipe out a great area pretty quickly. On the second day I went down and didn’t do too well, although I did find a single spot off of Cooter’s Pond that paid off with some key fish close to the end of the tournament. With middling success overall down there, I elected to go up again on Wednesday. Again, I didn’t have a great day, but I put a few more pieces of the puzzle in the right places. Unlike some of the competitors who banked their tournaments on running up to the dam, I was hesitant to do that. I wasn’t necessarily afraid to run Moccasin Gap or any of the other rapids, but if the water had dropped I’d be dead in the water. The areas where I fished you can access 365 days out of the year and that gave me a lot of confidence, regardless of what happened with the water flow or levels. The first day started off just like it was supposed to – focusing on little clear areas where current made an eddy, I had 17-15 in six flips with a Z-Hog Jr. I had all of my weight for the day in about 20 minutes, or however long it takes to make those casts, unhook the fish and get the livewells running. That gave me the opportunity to continue my practice, which helped substantially. Unfortunately, at some point I turned off my livewells and ended up losing four of my fish and suffering a one pound penalty. Luckily it didn’t bite me in the end. Those are the types of mental mistakes you can’t make if you want to win tournaments, let alone Angler of the Year. On the second day, fishing was a little bit more difficult. I ran more water trying to figure things out and eventually culled up to 17-12, which moved me up to 3rd in the standings. The next day I went straight for the canal and in 30 minutes I had 22-06 on a crankbait. Once again, I could practice for the rest of the day and I located another group of fish that I could rely on during the final day. That final day was almost like a blur.
On this week's episode of the The Livewell, Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona chat with Toyota Angler of the Year points leader Edwin Evers after his win on the Alabama River.
What a sad day in the town of Moore, Oklahoma. The BASS ZONE and BTL, BASS TALK LIVE are based in Moore, Oklahoma and we have spoken with Mark Jeffreys after the tornado destroyed the town of Moore."I have never seen anything like what I witnessed today," said Jeffreys. "The tornado was coming right toward our house and I was at a basketball meeting on the other side of town. My oldest son was home alone and as soon as I saw things were getting bad, I rushed home, picked him up and we headed south. As we got to the first intersection, there it was. A monster of a tornado and it was headed right for our house. We kept going south and watched the destruction back to our north. We had no idea how bad it was until we made our way back home. What a sad day for the people of Moore, Oklahoma. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people of Moore.""We have no power and there is debris everywhere, said Jeffreys. "The main path of destruction was less than a mile north of our house. The streets are full of debris. So sad. We are so thankful to be alive. My family is safe."
Edwin Evers, winner of the most recent Bassmaster Elite Series event at the Alabama River and the leader in the Angler of the Year race, has climbed to the top of the BassFan World Rankings presented by Livingston Lures. He holds an edge of a little more than 3 points over Todd Faircloth, who held the top slot earlier this year, with previous No. 1 Jason Christie dropping to 3rd.
20% off today only!The Alabama River Charge was not your typical Bassmaster Elite fishing tournament. If that wasn't obvious to casual observers, it became apparent when YouTube videos surfaces of tournament anglers running their boats aground in the rapids of the Alabama River, as water levels dropped by several feet from areas where they had plenty of room to operate just the day before. That left a lot of anglers scrambling and gambling to find the best spots and OPTIMA® sponsored angler, Edwin Evers, saved his best for last. Edwin had identified a great location at Cooter's Pond earlier in the week, but sat on it for much of the tournament. When he finally went to the spot on Sunday, the strategy paid off, with Evers hauling in 17 pounds and 12 ounces worth of spotted bass. This also marked the first time Evers won an event on spotted bass alone.Evers came into the Alabama River Charge with a narrow lead of just six points, over Kevin VanDam in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, but Evers' strong performance put some space between he and VanDam, the seven-time AOY, who now trails Evers by 37 points. In fact, Skeet Reese snuck past VanDam in the standings and now trails Evers by 25 points.We think Edwin's victory is a pretty big deal, so we're going to give you a pretty big deal to celebrate! All day Tuesday, BLUETOP® OPTIMA batteries purchased directly from OPTIMABatteries.com will be 20% off when using the promotional code "EDWINAL"
Edwin Evers' ultimate goal this year – as it is every year – is to win the Toyota Tundra B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year award. There's no better way to progress toward that objective than by winning tournaments.He collected his fifth career tour-level victory and extended his edge in the points race Sunday when he outlasted the field at the Alabama River Bassmaster Elite Series. The derby, which was the fifth on the eight-event schedule, was an especially challenging one as extremely high water that receded over the course of the event continually opened up new options while closing down others.Evers was in a tie for 4th place with Bobby Lane after day 1, then moved up one spot each day until he finally reached the top with a 17-12 stringer on day 4. He edged runner-up Brent Chapman, the reigning AOY who'd led the middle 2 days, by 1-12.Below are some details of how his week transpired.PracticeEvers, who'd come close to winning at the Alabama on several occasions in the past but had been unable to close the deal, began the 3-day practice period by traveling up the Coosa River to the Bouldin Dam Canal. He'd never turned a prop in that ditch previously, but knew it had been extremely productive in a 2003 Bassmaster Tour event won by Kenyon Hill (Chapman was 2nd and Evers 3rd).The canal runs for 3 miles or more, never getting more than about 50 yards wide. He found the portion closest to the river to be the most productive."The fish were on clean banks, with smooth clay or rock, in about 6 to 8 feet of water," he said. "My electronics were big – I was able to find some isolated rocks and some little shelves that stuck out."He went in the opposite direction (south of the launch site in Montgomery, Ala.) on the second practice day, and then back up north on the final day."I was able to find a few other things. Overall, my practice was decent, but not great."Competition> Day 1: 5, 17-15 > Day 2: 5, 17-12 > Day 3: 5, 22-06 > Day 4: 5, 17-12 > Total = 20, 75-13Evers came within ounces of the 18-pound mark on each of the first 2 days to put himself in the thick of things at the midway point. There was a critical juncture on day 1, however, when he nearly abandoned the canal.
For four days, Edwin Evers put a whipping on the fish during the Bassmaster Elite Series Alabama Charge presented by Star brite.On Sunday afternoon, while waiting in line to weigh in his final bag of the tournament, he was busy working on his boat.“I’m taking out my frustrations,” he said, all the while busily cleaning the exterior of his boat.Evers, the Toyota Angler of the Year points leader coming into this tournament, genuinely felt he had no chance to win this tournament — or at least he acted that way.He entered the final day with a three-day total of 58 pounds, 1 ounce and was in second place — only 1 pound, 3 ounces behind reigning Angler of the Year Brent Chapman. Evers said he thought he needed 18 pounds to put himself in position to win and indicated he had at least 3 pounds less than that. He was gracious in what he thought was defeat, though he did have a “hang dog” expression on his face.Well, it turns out he had almost 18 pounds, and it was enough for him to edge out Chapman for the win.Evers, as intense a competitor as there is on tour, wasn’t overly pleased with his performance … before he weighed in, at least. But, from a bystander’s point of view, he certainly worked for every ounce he caught. There was no lack of effort for sure.
“Man, you’ve got me,” Brent Chapman said to Edwin Evers.Evers was already in Sunday’s final-round hot seat of the Alabama River Charge presented by Star brite. Chapman, the leader for the two previous days, was the last of the 12 finalists to weigh in. He climbed the stage steps already knowing it was over for him.No one in the crowd under Montgomery’s historic Union Station Train Shed heard Chapman’s remark on stage. But that’s how Evers later told the story.“I didn’t realize until he said ‘you’ve got me’ that I had a chance,” Evers said after he’d hoisted the eighth trophy of his Bassmaster career and claimed his second regular-season Elite Series win. “I’m so happy. I can’t believe it.”Evers of Talala, Okla., got the best of Chapman by 1 pound, 12 ounces. Evers took home $100,000 and a win-you’re-in berth for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.He took over the Charge by weighing four limits of spotted bass for a total of 75-13. The Charge was the first time, Evers said, that he’d won on spotted bass alone. He also hit a career high by weighing 22 pounds, 6 ounces of spotted bass on Saturday, the largest sack of that species he’s ever caught.To win in Montgomery was special for another reason, he said. In the 2010 and 2011 postseason events out of Montgomery on the river, he ended up second to Kevin VanDam in the tournaments and in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year races.Evers began the tournament in fifth place, then rose into third place. After Day Three, heading into Championship Sunday, he was in second place, behind Chapman by 1-3.Evers said sticking to his game plan — and keeping a sweet spot in Cooter’s Pond in reserve until the final hours — “saved” him Sunday, when he weighed 17 pounds, 12 ounces.“I pulled up to that spot that I’ve been saving all week, and they were on fire,” Evers said.Evers said he ran more than 125 miles every day on the river system, hitting areas on the Coosa, Tallapoosa and in the canal that connects the Walter Bouldin Dam tailrace to the Alabama River.“I focused where the current made a direct hit on a vertical wall (bluff or cut in the bank) that was clean,” he said.The biggest challenges of the tournament were adapting to non-stop changes in the current and water level over the event’s four days. By Sunday with the dropping water, he had to relocate fish, finding them in slightly deeper water.Hook-ups with the strong spotted bass that live in the river systems were a big challenge, he added.“They’re so strong. They’re some of the hardest fish to hook. I’m flipping braid on a heavy-action rod and I’ll hit them as hard as I can, and it’s like I didn’t even touch them,” he said.His go-to lures were a War Eagle Spot Remover spinnerbait in a shad color, a Texas-rigged Zoom Z-Hog Jr., and various crankbaits. His flipping line was a Bass Pro Shops braid with a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader.Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., said he chalked up his second-place finish to being too conservative.“I didn’t run up to my best spot Sunday,” Chapman said. “I saw Steve Kennedy and David Walker go up, and I should have tried. You don’t get that many opportunities to win. I don’t know if I could have by going up there, but I would have felt a lot better finishing second if I’d at least have gone up there to fish my good spot.”His “good spot” was about 1/4 mile below Jordan Dam in the Coosa River. To reach it, he had to shoot the rapids over rocks. Chapman went up there other days, but decided he should not risk it Sunday after the water dropped 7 feet. Several other Elite pros ran the whitewater successfully in their bass boats during the Charge, but several tried and struck rocks, damaged their boats or got stuck, even in higher water.Evers’ win in the Charge helped him beef up his lead in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race. But instead of Kevin VanDam, now Skeet Reese is hot on Evers’ heals. The leader going into the Charge by just six points over VanDam, Evers now has a 25-point lead over Reese. VanDam trails Evers now by 37 points.“We’re a long way from the end, nobody’s out of this AOY thing yet,” Evers said. “I’m just trying to finish each event as high as I can.”
Photo GalleryDay Four with Edwin Evers