B.A.S.S. Reporter’s Notebook: ‘Ed-WIN’ Evers on the hunt in Alabama; DeFoe has a new challenger in rookie race; Some extra bling at the Diamond Drive
Jun 14th, 2011 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Jun 14th, 2011 at 12:00 AM
“Ed-WIN” Evers on the hunt in Alabama: Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., scored last Sunday, and he wasn’t even competing.
At the Sunday conclusion of the Diamond Drive in Little Rock, Ark., Evers officially moved from fourth into second place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race. He’s now 55 points behind the leader, and it’s a new leader: Kevin VanDam, who has positioned himself to close on his fourth consecutive title.
But Evers wasn’t on site in Arkansas to celebrate his two-place jump. After not making the final-day cut on Saturday, he had headed to Alabama’s Wheeler Lake so he’d be ready Monday for the first day of practice for the all-important June 16-19 Dixie Duel, where the title will be decided.
Coming off stage Saturday, when he knew he was out of it, he lamented the loss of a chance to earn more points on Sunday.
“I did all I could here, but I was disappointed,” said Evers, who ended with an 18th-place finish. “It was lack of execution on a few fish I didn’t get into the boat. You start noticing those fish when points are on the line.”
But he’d seen the preliminary points standings, and he knew he’d end up in second place. He said he was encouraged by his two-place move.
He didn’t get to fish on Sunday, but the day was not wasted. By not making the Diamond Drive final-day cut when VanDam did, Evers had an off day that he spent traveling to Alabama. So, on Sunday night, when VanDam still had that same 350-mile trip in front of him, Evers was relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep.
Monday evening after his first day of practice on Wheeler Lake, Evers said he was rested, had plenty of energy and felt very optimistic about overtaking VanDam.
“I think I can catch him,” Evers said. “If he falters a little bit, I’ve got a chance.”
Contingent on doing very well himself, Evers figured that if VanDam landed a Top-5 finish, he could sew up the title. But if VanDam gets only as far as 20th or even to 15th, it would not be enough.
Much depends on the fishability of the Tennessee River impoundment on the four days the Elite Series field will face it. Evers said the bite Monday was as slow as the current.
“Normally here, you catch the numbers, but I didn’t catch many today,” he said. “I think that has to do with the fact that there’s hardly any current at all. I don’t foresee that changing unless there’s a monsoon of rain between now and Thursday. We’ll all have to figure out how to catch them with the amount of current we have.”
As expected, a pattern that keys on vegetation isn’t going to happen.
“I haven’t found one sprig,” Evers said when asked if he’d seen any grass as he ran up and down the river Monday, eliminating water.
Another non-surprise: The Decatur Flats will be covered by competitors.
“The Flats houses as many bass as anywhere on the whole lake,” he said. “There are always numerous pros who figure out how to catch them there. I’m looking there – and trying to find stuff everyone else isn’t hitting.”
DeFoe has a new challenger in rookie race: After the Bassmaster Elite Series Arkansas River event, Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., was still ranked as the top rookie, but Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, made a move on him.
Combs climbed from fifth place to second place in the Bassmaster Rookie of the Year race. He’s now 127 points behind DeFoe.
DeFoe lost some of his cushion after ending in 58th place in Arkansas. Combs shot through that open door with his 15th-place finish.
Some extra bling at the Diamond Drive: Bassmaster Elite Series pros once again mopped up on bonuses.
Jonathon VanDam won two bonuses at the Diamond Drive. One for $3,000 comes through the Toyota Bonus Bucks contingency program that awards the two highest finishers (among those eligible). His second bonus was $500 from Berkley for weighing the Berkley Big Bass of the Tournament, a 5-0 on Day 3.
Tim Horton will collect $2,000 in Toyota Bonus Bucks. Eighth in the Diamond Drive, he was the second-highest finisher enrolled in the Toyota program.
Kevin VanDam won a $1,000 bonus for leading the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race after the Diamond Drive. A six-time AOY winner, VanDam is leading the race for the first time this season after starting out in fourth place, then hovering in third and second place.
Diamond Drive winner Denny Brauer landed an extra $1,000 from Power-Pole through its Captain’s Cash program.
On stage at the Diamond Drive, three commemorative bonus checks were presented for awards earned on Lake Murray at the previous Elite Series event. Terry Scroggins got the $1,000 award from Toyota for leading the points race after the Murray competition. Casey Ashley won $1,000 in Power-Pole Captain’s Cash. Jami Fralick took the $500 Berkley bonus for the Lake Murray event’s biggest bass, a 6-9.
A Day on the Lake Live presented by Z-Man on tap online: Bassmaster Elite Series pro Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark., will be featured June 28 on A Day on the Lake Live presented by Z-Man, on the Arkansas River from 8 a.m. (CT) to noon (CT).
The Bassmaster.com live webcast will offer visitors four hours of on-the-water action and the opportunity to post questions and comments through the live chat module. There’s no cost to watch or participate.
On June 27, the day before the webcast, Browning will be the featured guest in a one-hour Bassmaster University presented by Z-Man segment at 1 p.m. (CT), hosted by Tommy Sanders.
David Walker will be the star of an August presentation of A Day on the Lake Live presented by Z-Man.
B.A.S.S. chats with Salazar: B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Noreen Clough was one of more than 360 individuals from organizations all over the country who participated in the June 10 online chat with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.
The discussion centered on the Interior’s activities in support of President Barack Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative. June is Great Outdoors Month.
Clough said questions to the secretary touched on conservation of rivers, protection of farm and ranch lands, development of alternative energy sources, global climate change and expansion of the National Park and National Wildlife Refuge systems.
“B.A.S.S. Conservation has been a supporter of the AGO initiative because it is important to us as anglers,” Clough said. “It is based on the tenet that lasting conservation solutions start with the American people, and that nobody knows better which places are most important to American communities than do the people who live, work and recreate in them. And not many people spend more time recreating and working to conserve and protect places to fish than anglers do.”
Spoken at the June 9-12 Diamond Drive:
* “The river will bite you in the butt; it doesn’t matter who you are.” – Kevin Short of Mayflower, Ark., an old hand at Arkansas River fishing. He ended in 36th place, out of the final-day cut.
* “It was unfortunate for all of us today, but if I had it to do over, I’d do the same again.” – Billy McCaghren of Mayflower, Ark., finishing ninth after losing all his Day 4 weight to a late penalty after he and nine others were delayed at a lock.
* “Those guys who knew they were going to zero let the guys with fish leave the lock first.” – Gerald Swindle, with enough weight on the final day for 7-12 to the good. He took third place despite a 6-pound late penalty due to a locking delay.
* “I came into this wanting to make the Classic, so I gambled and locked up one lock.” – Ish Monroe who took a 3-pound hit on Day 3 after being delayed at a lock. He was one of only two pros who did not get caught by a lock on Day 4.
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