MONTGOMERY, Ala. – When the eight finalists in the Bassmaster Toyota Trucks All-Star Week were asked to pick the winner of this event, Edwin Evers was the overwhelming choice. The Talala, Okla., angler’s experience in finishing second last year on the Alabama River was the most frequently cited reason. And even Evers himself admitted that history is important.
The Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championships begins Friday at 7:30 a.m. when the eight pros will be paired in a match-fishing format. The four winners will be paired Saturday, then the two winners that day will go one-on-one Sunday for a winner-take-all first prize of $100,000.
“It’s really important,” Evers said of his experience here. “Some of that stuff I caught fish on last year was just little hidden subtleties. I probably spent a week here before it went off limits last year, fishing daylight ‘til dark, turning over every rock I could turn over. I think that makes a big difference.”
It was a two-day, total-weight format in 2010 when Evers finished second to Kevin VanDam with a total of 24 pounds. Evers may have been the runner-up, but he had the most consistent two days – catching 11 pounds, 6 ounces on Day One and 12-10 on Day Two.
That consistency will be even more important this year in the match-fishing format.
Evers received four of a possible seven votes Thursday when the finalists were asked the following: Other than yourself, who would be your pick to win this tournament?
Elite Series Rookie of the Year Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., received two votes; Gerald Swindle of Warrior, Ala., and Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., garnered one vote each.
Here are the All-Stars’ picks and the reasons why they made them:
No. 1 seed Casey Ashley: “Gerald Swindle knows this river, and he’s a good junk fisherman. Unless the water comes up tonight, this is going to be a trash fishing tournament. You may catch one on a square bill (crankbait), catch one flipping, catch one on a topwater and catch one deep cranking. He’s the best in the business at junk fishing.”
No. 2 seed Ott DeFoe: “I’ll pick Edwin (Evers), No. 1 because of his experience here. It’s the kind of fishing he likes to do, and he knows how and where to go. There’s a lot of water, and there’s a lot of it that isn’t any good at all.”
No. 3 seed Aaron Martens: “Probably Ott (Defoe) because he’s been fishing really good, and it’s the type of fishing where he’s done really well. It’s just his style. I’m sure he has practiced both days fishing shallow, and he probably knows where there are some fish.”
No. 4 seed Terry Scroggins: “Edwin Evers is going to be strong. He did well here last year. But in this format, it might shake out crazy. A guy that might not win a regular tournament could win here.”
No. 5 seed Gerald Swindle: “Ott DeFoe is a shallow-water fisherman, and the deep-water fish aren’t biting. Plus, he doesn’t have any preconceived notions about this place, so that’s working in his favor.”
No. 6 seed Edwin Evers: “If I don’t win it, Aaron (Martens) will. He’s got the most experience, and he’s an excellent spotted bass fisherman.”
No. 7 seed Mike Iaconelli: “Edwin (Evers) has got the experience here, and he’s coming off a great tournament here last year. He’s also one of the guys I saw out here from dark to dark both days (of practice), him and Aaron (Martens). I think those are the things you’ve got to do to win this tournament.”
No. 8 seed Skeet Reese: “I’ll go with Edwin (Evers). Edwin is fishing strong, and this fits his style. He likes shallow water, and he’s got a little bit of history here.”