Edwin Evers was several pounds shy of the lead going into the final day of this year’s Bassmaster Classic, held last weekend at Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees in his native Oklahoma. Fellow Oklahoman Jason Christie was in first place with 37 pounds, 9 ounces; Evers, 31, 4. That’s when the amazing happened, with Evers bringing a hefty 29 pounds, 3 ounces to the boat on the final day of competition.
Evers started the weekend with a measly 13 pounds, 12 ounces from four fish. He worked a crankbait along shallow rock structures Friday — a smart move in practice, but a failure in the actual event.
“That pattern was really strong in practice, but it was going away,” Evers said. “The water was warming, and it just was not happening. I knew I had to do something different, and I feel like I made a really good decision that second day.”
He switched to spinnerbaits on the Neosho River Saturday, calling the move “damage control.”
“I went in there just to try and get a couple of big bites,” Evers said. “I caught a couple of 7-pounders there in practice. But it was real windy and blowing when I caught those fish, and it had to be that way to catch them in there.
“You could have a hundred Classics on Grand, and 99 times out of a hundred it wouldn’t be won with what I did the second day. It just helped me get back in it, as tough as things were.”
The move led to a five-fish haul of 17 pounds, 8 ounces, putting Evers in third place. Even with the comeback, he still trailed by 6 pounds, 5 ounces heading into Sunday.
The weather had been unusually calm at the outset of the Classic, with none of the windiness that makes bass fishing great. The doldrums continued Friday and Saturday, causing Evers to overlook Elk River — an area he had been successful at in practice when the winds were up.
Fortunately for Evers, the winds returned Sunday. The change sent him back to Elk River with a 5/16-ounce jig where, although the rest of the lake was heavily stained, the river’s clear water worked well with the lure’s brown, green, and orange coloring.
The cumulative advantages resulted in Evers’ biggest day of the Classic — 29 pounds, 3 ounces — and the win.
“It hasn’t quite hit me yet,” Evers said. “I don’t know when it will. But I know 29 pounds on the last day of the Classic is big.”
Evers’ win landed him a cool $300,000 for his efforts. It was his eleventh win with B.A.S.S., but his first Classic championship. He is the third-straight angler to win the event in his home state (Casey Ashley, S.C. — 2015; Randy Howell, Ala. — 2014).
Watch Evers’ reaction to the win in this video he posted on Facebook Monday.
LIVE Classic Recap from the lake
Posted by Edwin Evers on Monday, March 7, 2016