Leading the Toyota Angler Of the Year race heading into the seventh stop of the Elite Series season, Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers did enough to maintain his TAOY lead on Thursday, despite losing some ground to Kevin VanDam, who jumped into 2nd place in the TAOY standings and pulled within 29 points of Evers. Evers’ day one weight of 18-7 was good enough for a 25th place tie. Here’s what Evers told The BASS ZONE following Thursday’s opening round of competition: “Basically, I just survived.  It wasn’t what I was looking for, and it was a pretty rough day.  I had two fish at noon and I kept throwing keepers back because I didn’t want them to die.  I lost some big fish also, but I think that I kind of figured out what I was doing wrong.- See more at:

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An eye on Evers

Edwin has two 4s and three 3s. While some fisherman are catching one here and one there, he is finding little pockets of fish and says his bite is picking up. He's fishing off a big flat between Oak Point and Chippewa Point. We just watched him break off one, looked like it was because of zebra mussels. I didn't ask him what happened! Oops, he just lost another bait, probably to the sharp mussel shells again. It's gotta be frustrating, but he just whips the cutters out and reties.

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Edwin Evers going to work

Don't bet against Edwin Evers winning Angler of the Year. Here's a sequence taken by his Marshal of Mr. Evers digging deep to pull a smallie out of St. Lawrence River. 

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Palaniuk back on top

Brandon Palaniuk busted one of the largest first-day bags of the Bassmaster Elite Series season on Thursday. That was the second item of big news coming out of this Upstate New York town on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.Thursday’s first newsmaker was Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He made a rare visit to Waddington in the morning, touting the St. Lawrence fishery and other attractions of the region.As if to prove Cuomo’s point, Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, hauled 23 pounds, 9 ounces of smallmouth bass to the scales to lead the Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown.He wasn’t the only one to show off the river, and the big smallmouth that live there. Even to make the Top 12 Thursday, an Elite pro had to break the 20-pound mark. To be among the Top 50 (the second-day cut mark), a pro had to have more than 17 pounds.Among those turning in 20-plus were Yusuke Miyazaki of Forney, Texas, 22-2 for second place, and Dennis Tietje of Roanoke, La., with 21-9 for third place. Landing fourth place was a two-time St. Lawrence event champ, Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., who weighed 21-1. Fifth place was a tie at 20-15 between Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Ohio, and Randy Howell of Springville, Ala.Palaniuk — who also led Day 1 of the previous Elite event, which was on the Mississippi River — said he made a decision to make a hard run of 100-plus miles to a spot he’d found in practice. Allowing time enough for a return trip left him with just two hours of fishing time.“It took me almost three hours to get to my first spot today,” he said. “My first two casts I caught two 3 1/2-pounders. That gave me the confidence that I was going to be able to catch them.”And confirmation that he’d made the right decision to spend most of his competition time running to the fish rather than casting to them.“My goal was to catch 23 pounds a day. If I could do that, I felt I could put myself into contention to win,” Palaniuk said. “I’d caught that in practice, so I knew the potential was there.”Palaniuk makes no bones about it: He’s after a win to nail an instant qualification for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, one of the Showdown’s prizes. The winner also takes home $100,000.“I don’t care about the money, just give me the Classic berth,” Palaniuk said.He was heading toward that prize on the Mississippi River in June. He led the first day, but was disqualified after the second day when he inadvertently culled a fish in Minnesota, which is against the law.Palaniuk’s closest threat after the first of four competition days on the St. Lawrence was Miyazaki, who had two 5-pounders in his five-fish limit. Like Palaniuk, he had all smallmouth.And like Palaniuk, Miyazaki said he also committed to a longer than usual run to get back to the best fish he’d found in practice.“I find a good school of fish, I stay with it,” said Miyazaki, who, again like Palaniuk, had never before competed on the St. Lawrence.The Carhartt Big Bass of the day was a 5-pound, 8-ounce smallmouth by Brian Snowden of Reeds Spring, Mo.The full field will return to the St. Lawrence River Friday. The Top 50 will advance to Saturday’s round. Only the Top 12 will compete Sunday for the Showdown’s title and prizes.Also at stake at the Showdown are points in the 2013 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year competition. The top pro will take the AOY crown later this month after the season finale on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Points also determine qualifications for the postseason in September and the Classic in February 2014.The AOY race leader going into the Showdown was Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla. His biggest competition has come from Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., 44 points in back of Evers, and Kevin VanDam, trailing Evers by 50 points.

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Gov. Cuomo announces Bassmaster Elites Series will return to New York in 2014

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and B.A.S.S. today announced the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament will return to New York State in 2014. Under a partnership with B.A.S.S., the event will include the “Governor’s Challenge,” a fishing competition featuring the governor, other elected officials from New York and some of the biggest names in professional fishing.He said the events are intended to highlight and promote the state’s many fishing and vacation opportunities. Following the success of the Governor’s 2013 Adirondack Challenge, the Governor’s Challenge will feature a tournament, fishing demonstrations and a banquet to lure in New Yorkers and visitors from out of state.The governor and B.A.S.S. made the announcement today at the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown, which is taking place Aug. 8-11 on the St. Lawrence River in Waddington.  The Governor’s Challenge will be held next fall in the Finger Lakes to attract visitors to the Upstate region and boost the local economy. In conjunction with the Governor’s Challenge, B.A.S.S. will also hold a Bassmaster Elite Series event. The tournament waters will be announced, along with the rest of the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series schedule, at a later date.As part of the partnership, B.A.S.S. will provide a promotional media campaign that will feature these two events, as well as the many fishing opportunities and destinations all across New York state, Cuomo said.“From the Finger Lakes to the Hudson River to Long Island, New York is home to world-class fishing for all anglers and these destinations are waiting to be discovered,” said Cuomo.An avid and lifelong fisherman, Cuomo enjoys fishing with his daughters. He and his daughter, Mariah, went bass fishing together on the St. Lawrence immediately after the announcement.Bruce Akin, CEO of B.A.S.S., said, “B.A.S.S. is pleased to join with Gov. Cuomo and the state of New York in promoting the great fisheries and vacation destinations all across the state. We have held numerous tournaments throughout our 45-year history and look forward to increasing our presence in the coming years. Our partnership with the governor is a great way to showcase all of what New York has to offer to anglers from around the world, and with this announcement, we invite them to join us next year for what will surely be an exciting event in the Empire State.”

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9 ways to follow the St. Lawrence action

Everyone's hoping for a glance at huge smallies this week on the St. Lawrence River. In fact, Aaron Martens caught the biggest smallmouth of his life in pre-practice there in early July. Don't let the action from the event on the St. Lawrence pass you by! If you can’t be in Waddington, N.Y., for the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River to see the action for yourself, we’ve got you covered. You can keep up online in a way that will make you feel like you’re there for the action. Here are nine ways we’ll keep you informed: 1. Live weigh-insYou get a front row seat to the weigh-ins each day. From the comfort of your home, you can watch the pros weigh in right in front of you on your computer screen without delay. You’ll know who wins at the same time the winner finds out! Tune in to the live weigh-ins at 3:15 p.m. ET all four days of competition. 2. Lowrance War RoomListen to what B.A.S.S. officials hear from the water via the Lowrance War Room. We'll be doing things a little differently for this event with the War Room. Check throughout Saturday and Sunday for timed updates. Once they are recorded they'll appear on the War Room page so you don't have to worry if you miss one. If you have a question, just ask it in the comments box below the War Room video, and the producers will make every effort to get your question answered. 3. TwitterIn fewer than 140 characters apiece, you can read updates of the tournament as it is happening. From your laptop, phone or desktop, you can watch the event unfold, tweet by tweet. There are several ways to follow along on Twitter. You can follow the official B.A.S.S. Twitter account,, where you’ll get insider info provided by B.A.S.S.’s on-site staff, B.A.S.S. emcees and tournament officials. You can follow the official hashtag of B.A.S.S., #bassmaster. Anyone connected to or interested in the tournament can tag his or her posts with this keyword, and fans can read multiple perspectives on the tournament’s goings-on. Even the pros post with this hashtag, so you could get actual updates from contenders who have spectators on the water tweeting for them. To follow the hashtag, whether you have a Twitter account or not, just go to You can also follow the pros’ or insiders’ Twitter accounts. Click these links to follow the lists of Bassmaster Elite Series pros, including Kevin VanDam and Mike Iaconelli, or to follow B.A.S.S. insiders, including emcee Dave Mercer and host Mark Zona.

Evers under pressure

Skeet Reese has been in Edwin Evers' shoes before: Leading the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race as it winds down to the finish. He knows what Evers is feeling on the eve of the next to last tournament of the season, the Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at the St. Lawrence River, which begins here Thursday."It's just stress," said Reese, the 2007 AOY champion. "Everything about it is heightened right now. He knows he's got to catch 'em. If he has a bad tournament, it just opens the door. Forty points can go away real quickly."It's new territory for him. If he says he's not feeling it, he's full of s***."Evers' AOY margin is 44 points over Reese and 50 points over Kevin VanDam and Aaron Martens with two events remaining. This is the big one. Evers can shut the door on his closest competitors or, as Reese mentioned, leave it wide open going into the final tournament on Lake St. Clair in two weeks.Evers is trying to keep things simple – one day at a time, one number in mind. That number is 20."Twenty pounds (Thursday) and I'll be in good shape," Evers said.Twenty is a big number in any tournament that has a five-bass daily limit. It seems especially big on a smallmouth bass-dominated fishery like the St. Lawrence River, which forms the U.S. border with Canada here in upstate New York.But 20 is the number every Elite Series angler has in mind going into this event.

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Pros picks: St. Lawrence

This is the first time a Bassmaster tournament has been held on the St. Lawrence River out of Waddington, N.Y. That means that no Elite Series angler has an edge from previous experience.However, the river here is deep, swift, gin-clear and grows heavyweight smallmouth bass. These conditions favor some pros more than others. Here are the top picks of the Elite Series pros.Ott DeFoe 1. Jonathon VanDam. He’s a Yankee with a lot of experience with northern smallmouth bass. This tournament will be dominated by smallmouth bass. Jonathon won with smallmouths last year at Green Bay. 2. Aaron Martens. I’ve been catching smallmouths as deep as 62 feet on a drop shot, and Martens is an expert with that technique. He’s sure to catch them. 3. Terry Scroggins. He likes fishing finesse baits and he likes fishing deep.Ish Monroe 1. Brandon Palaniuk. He is going where no man has gone before.  2. Aaron Martens. He’s the best drop-shotter in the world.  3. Me. I’m in the hunt for the Angler of the Year title.John Crews 1. John Crews. You always have to bet on yourself.  2. Ish Monroe. He is always good when we fish up North.  3. Michael Iaconelli. Mike is the champion of the North.Bernie Schultz 1. Jason Christie. He’s just a tough competitor.  2. Aaron Martens. Martens is a deep-water specialist and the bass are going to come deep at this one.  3. Kevin VanDam. This is his cup of tea. KVD has won tournaments before on the St. Lawrence River.Britt Myers 1. Timmy Horton. I saw him practicing by me today. He’s a really good fisherman.  2. Ott DeFoe. He’s just good.  3. Edwin Evers. Edwin is usually good on smallmouth water and he’s focused on winning the AOY.Brian Snowden 1. Kevin VanDam. This will be a smallmouth tournament and VanDam always does well with them.  2. Aaron Martens. Fishing deep with a drop shot will score big here.  3. Edwin Evers. He always does well with smallmouth bass.Fletcher Shryock 1. Aaron Martens. This tournament is right up his alley. He is great at reading electronics and finding deep bass.  2. Jonathon VanDam. The fish are scattered, so you can’t sit in one spot and load up on them. This kind of fishing is JVD’s thing. He grew up doing this.  3. Edwin Evers. He’s been on a roll all year with all three species of bass and he has put in his time.

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Fishing derby to bring bright experience to children in Oklahoma

Organizers of the Moore Fishing Derby hope to enable children in their community, located on the outskirts of Oklahoma City, to replace nightmares of killer tornadoes with fond memories of fishing.Families are invited to bring their children to Buck Thomas Park’s pond on Saturday, July 27, from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. for a morning of fishing. Rods, reels and bait will be provided. The pond is being stocked with fish to ensure youngsters will have good opportunities to catch something.Residents in the state of Oklahoma have been hard hit by record-setting, weather-related tragedies this year. Just 11 days after the city of Moore was struck by a deadly EF5 tornado, the area of El Reno, also just outside Oklahoma City, was hit with another EF5 storm that set a record width of 2.6 miles. Moore has twice been hit by EF5 tornadoes — most recently in May 2013 and previously in 1999 with a storm that had recording-breaking wind speeds of 302 mph.The fishing derby has been coordinated by Tackle the Storm Foundation in conjunction with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Fisheries Division, with the support of volunteers from the Oklahoma B.A.S.S. Nation, the North Oklahoma City Bassmasters, the Sooner Bassmasters and the Oklahoma City Junior Bassmasters clubs. Members from each of these organizations, along with several Bassmaster Elite Series anglers and representatives from the Moore Parks and Recreation Department, will be on hand to give children new fishing poles and help them fish.The brainchild of writer Don Barone, Tackle the Storm Foundation aims to establish a sense of normalcy in a child’s life in the aftermath of a natural disaster, such as the devastating tornado that hit Cullman, Ala., in April 2011. That event, an EF4 storm, was the inspiration for Barone’s initiative.

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Elites tackle ICAST

Edwin Evers

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