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SETTING THE TABLE IN LA CROSSE

With the sixth stop of the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season kicking off this week in La Crosse, Wisconsin, The BASS ZONE breaks down five stories to follow on the Mississippi River:EVERS AND THE AOY Entering this week on the Mississippi River, Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers holds a 25 point lead in the Toyota Angler Of the Year race over Skeet Reese, who currently sits in 2nd place. There is a total of 70 points separating the top 10 in the TAOY.  If Evers is able to turn in a solid performance this week, he can dash the AOY hopes of many of his closest competitors and enter the final two tournaments of the season in August dueling with a select few for the AOY. When the Elite Series visited the Mississippi River in 2012, Evers finished in 38th place.  Incredibly, he hasn’t finished lower than that in the seven Elite Series tournaments since then, and last year’s 38th place finish on the River is Evers’ fifth worst finish on B.A.S.S. competition since June of 2009.

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SEND A LIMIT - A WAY TO HELP THE FAMILIES IN MOORE, OKLAHOMA

Nearly a month after a devastating tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, leaving 24 dead and completely destroying upwards of 2,500 homes in the Moore area, there’s still an enormous need for support and donations for the victims beginning the long process of piecing their lives back together.  Mark Jeffreys, founder of The BASS ZONE, has spent over half of his life living in Moore, Oklahoma, and currently lives in Moore, where The BASS ZONE headquarters are located.    While his home and office were unaffected by the EF5 tornado that ripped through Moore on May 20th, Jeffreys saw the devastation first hand.    “These families have lost everything,” said Jeffreys. “The outpouring of support for Moore, Oklahoma has been incredible, but there’s still a huge need for certain donations.  When I saw the opportunity for The BASS ZONE and the bass fishing community to get involved and help in a small but very important way, it was a no-brainer.” Of the thousands of families just beginning the rebuilding process, conservative estimates are that 30% of those who lost everything in the tornado did not have any homeowners insurance.   The concept behind the “Send A Limit” campaign is simple.  Donate a limit (five items) to The BASS ZONE headquarters by June 30th, and The BASS ZONE will load up a truck and hand deliver the donations to the Catholic Charities of Oklahoma in Moore.  The biggest need is for nonperishable canned food items, but monetary donations will also be accepted

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Evers Ready for AOY Run

When pro bass fishing fans look back on some of the most epic showdowns over the last 20 years it's tough to beat the Kevin VanDam and Skeet Reese toe-to-toe efforts in pursuit of the Angler of the Year (AoY) title. Especially the two seasons where Reese arguably won the title, but lost it due to a quirky post-season experiment that ultimately proved to be a failure for the organization. However, one angler who has been in the mix for the AoY title for several years is Edwin Evers. He has won several Bassmaster events, including the latest offering at the Alabama River.Right now, Evers has a 25-point lead over Skeet Reese and a 37-point lead over Kevin VanDam in the overall AoY standings.So, how is Evers holding up under the increasing pressure? According to him, just fine."I'm feeling good and taking one day at a time," said Evers. "Right now there are three events left. It doesn't matter that I am leading now. It only matters if I am leading at the end of the season."

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Evers starts strong, stays strong

When Edwin Evers won on the Alabama River, it no doubt gave him a boost – to his confidence, to his bank account and to his chances of winning the Toyota Angler of the Year race. In my mind, though, the most impressive part of his victory was that his catch consisted of spotted bass, those oddball reform-school brothers of the more common largemouths and smallmouths.With that win, he’s now won an Elite Series tournament on each of the three major species. He won with brown fish on Erie in 2007 and with big green fish at the St. Johns River in 2011.To the best of my knowledge, that’s a feat no one else has accomplished. That’s partially the result of math. Including Edwin, only six current Elite Series pros have won three or more regular-season Elite Series events since the trail was formed in 2006: Evers, Skeet Reese, Kevin VanDam, Todd Faircloth, Mike McClelland and Tommy Biffle. They’re all frequently in the hunt, but none of them has done what Evers accomplished. For those pros for whom Top 12 finishes are once a year or once in a career achievements, equaling his achievement is pure fantasy. They’d be happy to win with any species.How hard is it to win on the Elite Series? Mike Iaconelli, a superstar with a Classic win and an AOY title to his credit, has only one regular season Elite Series victory. Stars like Terry Scroggins, Randy Howell and Gerald Swindle have never won one. Steel-trap lock first ballot Hall of Famers Gary Klein and Rick Clunn haven’t won in B.A.S.S. competition since 2003 and 2002, respectively.Even among the limited crew of multiple-time winners, it’s hard to predict when someone will claim a victory. Aaron Martens, the guru of finesse, has won on the Cal Delta and Guntersville, not venues where you’d ever expect his wheelhouse skills to dominate. Steve Kennedy won at Clear Lake, setting records in doing so, with his swimbaits fresh out of the package. Dean Rojas has won twice, once in New York, once in Louisiana, never out west.In other words, betting your mortgage on a single angler to win an Elite Series tournament is a fool’s errand.

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Running marinas for postspawn bass

It’s early morning on a warm May day, and a big black Labrador on the marina walkway is barking his head off. Edwin Evers wishes he’d shut up and go away. He’s going to wake up the neighborhood.The dog is barking at Evers, who is fishing down a line of slips where cabin cruisers and fancy pleasure boats are moored. On many, their owners are asleep inside, or they were. Evers tries to be inconspicuous as he eases along, casting in one slip after another, beside the boats, over ropes, around ladders.“It’s tricky casting,” Evers remarks. “I remember once I made a bad cast at a marina on Lake Texoma, and I banged my jig against a big yacht. The owner was inside, and he stuck his head out the window. It was the guy who owned the convenience store where I worked! I think he was mad, but when he saw me, he just asked if I was having any luck.”After the spawn, when he’s fishing marinas, Evers usually does. This Bassmaster Elite Series angler from Talala, Okla., has the fish dialed in. Fish boat slips in marinas where shad are schooling. Work from one slip to the next to the next, casting a spinnerbait, jig or plastic tube. And expect to catch “gazillions” of bass when things are clicking. That’s all there is to it. Well, almost.“It really is a simple deal,” Evers affirms, “but there are a few tricks and subtleties that make this pattern produce better for some than for others.” Graciously, he shares his secrets so fellow anglers can experience the same success he enjoys.“First thing is picking a marina in the mouth of a good spawning pocket,” Evers begins. “After the bass drop their eggs and start moving back to deeper water, they will collect around floating marina docks, and there’s a good reason for this.

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AOY leader Edwin Evers answers fans' fishing questions

Edwin Evers has been called the best angler to never win a Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. Now he's on point, leading the AOY points race and with a win already under his belt for the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season.He took control at the Alabama River Charge and took home the trophy. And now, he says, his strategy for the next tournament is to catch more than all the rest of the anglers at La Crosse, in hopes of holding on to that AOY lead.Below is a transcript of the chat, lightly edited for spelling and clarity. You can also check out Twitter chat transcripts from other pros here.Keep up with Twitter chats, tournament news and bass fishing advice by following B.A.S.S. on Twitter at @BASS_NationBassmaster ‏@BASS_nationThanks for joining us for the Twitter chat today, @edwinevers2 and congratulations on your recent victory! Edwin Evers‏@edwinevers2Glad to be here and can't wait for all the questions from the fans!

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Ask Evers anything

Edwin Evers has been called the best angler to never win a Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. Now he's on point, leading the AOY points race and with a win already under his belt for the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season.He took control at the Alabama River Charge and took home the trophy. And today, he'll be taking your questions live during the B.A.S.S. Twitter chat. You can ask him about his Alabama River victory, his success as a pro or what techniques to use in certain conditions.To participate, ask your questions with hashtag #basschat today from noon to 12:30 p.m. ET. 

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Edwin Evers Tournament Blog: Alabama River 2013

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.

Edwin Evers visits 'The Livewell'

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.

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