The 2016 Bassmaster Classic Completes Story

As one of the few remaining Charter/Life members of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and one of the early national bass fishing competitors, I’m still a super fan of the sport and its growth. Attending and covering big events, interviewing contestants and learning the leading tools and techniques, and sharing them with you, is a dream come true.

For the first time in many years, the Classic was moved to later in the year following iced-up coves the year before. This conflicted with my longtime commitment to have our “Historical Fishing Display” at the Milwaukee Sports Show. Now, with live internet broadcasts, blogs, leader boards and weigh-ins, we can follow the contest as never before.

It does give us a thrill that someone who honed his skills as a teen in Illinois has reached a pinnacle. As a boy, Edwin Evers lived in Texas, and then his father’s work brought him to Illinois. During his teens, Evers played high school football and worked at Bedford Sales, a Ranger boat dealer in Morris, Ill. He told the owner once that he would be a top employee, as he really knew bass fishing and could sell.

Edwin’s childhood dream was to learn more about bass fishing to achieve the success that he’d longed for. Top appearing pros came to the Ranger dealer to give seminars. And young Edwin drove them from airports to the store, restaurants and hotels while interviewing and retaining their advice like a sponge.

His father, who he says is his hero, and employers, Sam and Pat Rosefsky, insisted he graduate from college before entering tourneys. Playing football in college near Lake Texoma, Okla., his competitive skills developed even more.

He would go on to a career in which he’d win 10 B.A.S.S. tournaments, qualify for 13 Bassmaster Classics and was a three-time runner-up for Toyota “Angler of the Year.”

But the Classic title had eluded him.

I kept telling him in numerous visits, “I had the story; all you have to do is win.”

For many years, no local had won the Bassmaster Classic. They would stick to old patterns, run around to many familiar spots or succumb to the pressure and fail to win contests, even on their home lake. And, the saying goes, “You can’t win the Classic on the first day, but you sure can loose it!”

Evers only captured four fish on the first day. His regular Tournament roommate, angler Jason Christie, led both the first and second days, committing to a 1-ounce spinnerbait—most thought it was Christie’s tournament to lose.

The final day
Checking the weather, Evers decided to make a run up the super-clear Elk River to get a couple of big fish. Another contestant had fished the exact spot the day before and had seen big bass, but they wouldn’t bite in the calmer clear water. Evers thought the high winds would provide cover, and night temperatures were 10 degrees warmer than recent nights to keep fish shallow—and he was right.

He used relatively light 17-pound-test fluorocarbon line and a 5/16-ounce Andy’s E Series Finesse Jig with a Zoom Little Critter Craw trailer. It’s hand-tied with old-school living rubber for better action.

In only a couple of hours, Edwin was returning bass to the water, as he had a limit of bass with the smallest weighing in at 4 pounds. His final catch weighed just over 29 pounds for five fish, and he went on to take the victory by 10 pounds.

These tournaments are great proving grounds for tackle and techniques. It’s great to know that even the best anglers, with the latest equipment on great waters, can have a hard time catching fish. Despite our knowledge and equipment, many times the fish win. Then, something changes and heroes emerge and make great catches.

It’s a challenge to capitalize on when it all comes together. Were so proud and happy for the 2016 Bassmaster Classic Champion, Edwin Evers. He represents the sport so well.

 

    Dan Basore is a fishing historian and steward of the history of the sport. In his efforts to preserve fishing history, Basore is always on the lookout for information about early lure makers, old lures, pre- level wind reels, manufacturer catalogs, tournament casting items and the like. If you possess information or materials that can help, please contact Dan Basore, Historical Fishing Display, at 630-393-3474 or 1-800-347-4525.