2011 Elite Series - Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship
Alabama River - Montgomery, AL, Jul 29 - 31, 2011

Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship Live Blog

Final Day - Alabama River

3:50 p.m.

I'm resigned to the fact that we probably won't get any more information from the water today. For the most part, this event is over and we won't know the outcome until the meat hits the scales. There's less than 10 minutes left and both guys are probably as nervous as Swindle's uncle on his parole date.

But it will be an exciting weigh-in for a lot of reasons.

Auburn and Alabama will be weighing in at about 4:15 p.m., followed by the Legends, which I'm told had some great fishing. And then the results our head-to-head match.

Unless someone is late or some other outlandish news hits us, this will be the last blog of the day.

See you at the weigh in.

-- Steve Bowman

3:28 p.m.

The afternoon is just dripping by in this last hour, at least it is for those of us looking at a keyboard and hoping for something to happen.

My guess is, it's rushing by for those two on the water.

It always works that way when you need to put something together and catch that one, meaningful fish. The only time it slows down is when you have a decent sack and you wish the day would hurry up and get over with.

No such luck for our two heroes. No such luck for us.

Either way, we expect both to be headed back our way. We just wonder if either will attempt to stop and hit Swindle's pipe from the last two days.

-- Steve Bowman

3:06 p.m.

Yesterday about this time Edwin Evers caught a 4-pounder that he really didn't need. He wound up winning his match by about 6 pounds.

With things so close today, he may be wishing he had that 4-pounder today. The same could be said for DeFoe who caught a spotted bass that big on Day One. He really didn't need that one that day either.

I can only imagine both of those replaying those catches in their mind as they make similar casts in this last hour of the day.

Neither has a very special stringer Both of them know that. Both of them are feeling the pressure. Both are probably thinking they have to have one big bite to win. And at this point, both of them would be right.

-- Steve Bowman

 

2:50 p.m.

One relevant thing we can look at is their fish catch info from yesterday. Here are the noon - 4:00 p.m. catches:

Edwin:
12:07 - 2-00
1:16 - 1-00
1:45 - 2-04
3:01 - 4-00

Ott Defoe:
1:01 - 2-00
1:52 - 1-00
2:31 - 1-00
3:21 - 1-00

Ott did most of his damage in the morning hours yesterday.  As it stands right now, Edwin has the advantage.  If Edwin catches a 4 pounder, like he did yesterday, then it could be over.  If they are pulling water in the canal for Ott, he can pull up there and catch two three pounders in a row like he did on Day One. This thing is far from over.

-- Hank Weldon

2:43 p.m.

We are headed back to the ramp to get ready for the weigh-in. The college teams from Alabama and Auburn have been fishing on Lake Jordan and will weigh in before the pros. If you are an SEC fan or even just a fan of good rivalries, you won't want to miss it. Alabama got the best of the matchup the last time these teams squared off two years ago, but Auburn is fresh off a runner-up finish in the Mercury College B.A.S.S. Championship in July. Should be a good battle.

As for DeFoe, if anything else happens on the water, his cameraman will let us know. Time is ticking down, but still plenty left.

-Rob Russow

2:25 p.m.

An hour and a half away from the end of this event and we believe it's too close to call for what we know.

Evers and DeFoe have been out of sight for some time, but going on what we know we expect these guys to be pretty tight.

DeFoe likely has more than the 7-4 that BASSTrakk has him on. Not much more, but more. And we think Evers may have a little less than the 8-4 BASSTrakk has him on.

Either way, it still looks like it will come down to that one big bite. DeFoe has had it every day. Evers had better quality.

With each of them neck and neck at the moment, one little 3-pounder would be like a torpedo.

We had a couple of those show up in the last hour and a half on Day One.

-- Steve Bowman

2:17 p.m.

No sign of Evers yet, but at least the rain and lightning has subsided. The hairs on my neck were on end for a few minutes.
According to those who were on him yesterday, Evers was running all over this part of the river. In other words, it's going to be tough finding him again.
--David Hunter Jones

2:07 p.m.

Without an eye on DeFoe we put a call in to his cameraman to find out if anythings happening. He said DeFoe has not upgraded yet, but apparently there are fish chasing bait around them.

A lot of times the small ones get the bait first because they are more aggressive. We saw that happen this morning.

We're going to hang around for awhile, but it sounds like the Tallapoosa might be where he's laying his cards down.

-Rob Russow

1:57 p.m.

KVD and Zona have come out of the dark ages. They have been on DeFoe but out of service range to send in BASSCams. A good number just uploaded so see how DeFoe's morning went now on BASSCam. Skeet Reese and Tommy Sanders hit some spots with coverage early and their videos of Evers serve up some good information.

1:49 p.m.

Sean Graves is fishing a tournament today, but doesn’t care if he catches another fish. He’d just as soon have any and all his fish-catching powers transferred to Edwin Evers.

“At this point in time, I’d rather have Evers catch a toad,” said the Spofford, N.H., man who would get a $30,000 Triton 18XS with a Mercury 150 OptiMax engine if Evers wins.

Contacted in the middle of fishing a B.A.S.S. Federation Nation fund-raiser on the Connecticut River, Graves, 43, and son, Tanner, 9, have half of their 8-fish limit, but it’s Evers’ fish that interest him more.

“I hope Edwin is doing better than me,” Graves said. “How’s he making out?”

Last he checked on his phone, Graves saw DeFoe was leading 7 pounds to 2, but he was told Evers is now neck and neck.

“That would be so amazing, I couldn’t even tell you. I don’t know if I’d cry, laugh or giggle, I’d be very excited,” he said. “We were joking at boat ramp today -- I wouldn’t care if I caught a fish today, just rather win the boat … It would be a nice upgrade in boat.”

Graves gave kudos to B.A.S.S. getting fans involved and felt oh-so fortunate he was selected out of those who registered to vote in the Toyota Trucks All-Star Fan Favorites.

“To be picked out of 31,482, that’s pretty cool. I was really excited. I jumped up and down,” he said. “When I filled out the paper and found I got Edwin, I was pretty excited. When KVD got knocked, I got even more excited.

“If it wasn’t KVD, Evers was my choice.”

He’s found following every fish catch on Bassmaster.com rather enjoyable, if not stressful.

“I’ve been following it every day up until today,” he said. “It’s absolutely nerve-racking. Then they shut BASSTrakk off early yesterday, that was terrible. I sat there for two hours worrying.

“I think the idea behind this is pretty neat. You almost have a second Bassmaster Classic type of thing.”

- Mike Suchan

1:43 p.m.

Apparently, because of storms on one end and extreme shallow, rocky conditions on the other, we've lost sight of both of our anglers. Both our bloggers are sitting and waiting, trying to stay dry.

Hopefully when they get hooked up with Edwin and Ott we will get a report. Till then we are as blind as it gets.

-- Steve Bowman

1:40 p.m.

DeFoe ran up the Tallapoosa and in doing so crossed a treacherously shallow sandbar. By the time we got there it was too late to follow so we are camped out here waiting for him to return. He's all alone up there, which will add a little drama since we won't have a BASSTrakk on him until he comes out.

Lightning and thunder are immediately downriver from us, but we haven't been touched yet. I guess we will just have to hang around here in the shade for a bit.

Big fish certainly live up there and at this point; all DeFoe needs is one of those.

-Rob Russow

1:24 p.m.

We lost track of Edwin as he left the idle zones in Prairie Creek, and we're waiting for him up the river near Pintlala Creek. The rain's coming down pretty steady now.
--David Hunter Jones

1:15 p.m.

The storm has hit Montgomery and brought with it an old-fashioned gully washer. Strong winds are playing havoc with the flags, tents and blow ups at the weigh-in venue. According to the weather map, it may not be the last one.

We knew there would be fireworks on the final, but we didn't expect them to come with lightning, too.

Our Legends are staying dry for the moment. They have about 10 or 15 minutes left to fish and then they will head back to Montgomery.

From reports that was a special day on the water for all of those guys.

Should make for a fun weigh-in.

As to Evers and DeFoe, action has been slow this last hour or so, but the weights are still really close.

Both of them searching diligently for that bigger bite. Whoever gets it should shape this event. At the moment, it's too close to call, despite what BASSTrakk says.

-- Steve Bowman

1:04 p.m.

There is a thunderstorm bearing down on us in Montgomery. It may have actually hit Evers, or it could have slipped by him. Either way, the weather is a little unsettled in this part of the country

I went to WeatherChannel.com to check out how bad it might be. These words were highligted in red:

"Thunder""Dangerous heat index. Outdoor exposure should be limited."

It also said it was 91 degrees and the heat index is around 105.But no one expects a rain or heat delay in this event.

-- Steve Bowman


12:57 p.m.

We have some photos from Edwin Evers day on the water up on the site. You can see that photo gallery here.

 

12:51 p.m.

DeFoe eases backward down the rapids, making it look easy. He turns and casts at the bottom of the rapids with a creature and a crankbait, but gets no takers.

"That one up there is going to cost me," DeFoe said. "This was the area I have caught all my big ones."

We've got some photos coming in from DeFoe's exciting morning, so be sure to check those out when they come in.

He's on his way to the Tallapoosa and we're about to follow. Thunder is rumbling in the distance and we might be headed for a repeat of yesterday. He's still in good shape though. His plan revolves around a big bite. It's still out there somewhere and he's got three more hours to find it.

-Rob Russow

12:45 p.m

BASSTrakk update:

Angler Fish Total
     
Edwin Evers 5 8-04
Ott Defoe 5 7-04

-- Hank Weldon

12:30 p.m.

Evers is back to his old ways. He missed a fish just now and is picking up his trolling motor. He's had enough of this spot.
--David Hunter Jones

12:22 p.m.

DeFoe’s virtually paired fan, Cynthia Bryan, is on Interstate 65 making her way up from Orange Beach, Ala., to Montgomery.
 
“I’m about 83 miles from Montgomery,” she said. “I got the Train Shed on my GPS.”
 
If Ott wins, Bryan will receive a $30,000 Triton 18XS with a Mercury 150 OptiMax engine.
 
“I would be so excited,’ she said. “Like my son said, he said you need to get that thing and learn to fish. I’m not a good fisherman but I like it a lot.”
 
Friends and family are keeping her apprised of the action on the water, texting and calling with updates they’re reading right here and on BASSTrakk.
 
“Your guy just did this, he went back here did that,” she said. “My guy is kind of leading right now, but it’s going to be close.”
 
Of course, since she’s in the final two, she’d say the promotion is a big hit, but anybody would.
 
“This is awesome,” she said. “They let the fans get involved. It’s just a really neat thing they’ve done.”

-- Mike Suchan

12:21 p.m.

Guido Hibdon and Bobby Murray are struggling a little. They have a 4-pounder and four small keepers. At the moment, they might be bringing up the rear in this derby, but it's hard to say since most of the teams are as closed mouthed as the bass and the fishing's certifiably tough.

-- Ken Duke

12:19 p.m.

Evers is sticking it out in one "pond" within Prairie Creek, and he's trolling back and forth along one 100-yard stretch of bank. It's littered with downed trees, and he's flipping into every opening of each one. Seigo's now got The Beatles playing, a nice change of pace.
--David Hunter Jones

12:16 p.m.

The big fish that got away is still on DeFoe's mind.

"That one I lost back there was a 5-pounder," DeFoe said. "It was every bit as big as the one I caught the first day. I know they live up here."

Not far down the bank, a 3-pounder swirls on his topwater and misses. The fish continues to follow and swirl on his bait back to the boat but never hooks up.

DeFoe's best shot of beating Evers was to catch a big fish - his average size just can't compare - and it just hasn't happened yet.

He worked all the way back to the rapids to where a big eddy swirled and had a giant log in the middle. Pulling out his flipping stick, DeFoe works over all the cover there without a nibble.

Now, he's pulling up the trolling motor and heading back up to where he lost those fish.

"I've gotta give my fish another try."

-Rob Russow

12:09 p.m.

At 70 years old, Tommy Martin still has not lost his competitive drive.

“I fish about 15 tournaments a year, including some of the (Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster) Opens,” he told me. “Out of nine tournaments this year, I’ve earned a check in all but one.”

He may be participating in the Legends tournament for fun and fellowship, but winning is paramount.

“Rick and I have winning on our minds,” he said. “We’re going to be disappointed if we don’t catch ’em.”

Martin and Clunn plan to start out fishing with “great big bass baits” in hopes of catching bigger bass. “If that doesn’t work, we might try some other things just to catch something. We’ll fish hard,” he said. “Nobody wants to be last.”

—Dave Precht

11:57 a.m.

There are little shade pockets on the bank from where the trees block the sun. DeFoe is making very precise casts with a topwater walker and then working it back from the bank, past wood and rocks.

Things have slowed down considerably and then all of a sudden a big spot crushes DeFoe's lure near shore. He sets the hook and the fish explodes out of the water and the bait goes flying. DeFoe whips his rod in disgust, but it's too late, the bass is gone.

He has been able to get one or two of those quality bites up here each day. Losing them is not part of the plan.

If Evers should come back to win this thing, that bass jumping off is going to be haunting.

-Rob Russow

11:55 a.m.

Evers just got his limit as he added a 1 1/2-pounder to his livewell,
giving him slightly more than 8 pounds. He just snatched up a short. He's got a lot of water to work with, and he's using a lot of it.
-David Hunter Jones

11:50 a.m.

We'll get reports soon from our bloggers and BASSTrakk, but all of the sudden this race has tightened up considerably.

Evers has jumped up with 8-4 and DeFoe measures in with 7-4.

The roles have switched. things are getting exciting in this race as we approach halftime.

-- Steve Bowman

11:42 a.m.

The video boat has left Dance and McKinnis, so we're headed over to check on them. Dance caught the first bass of the day so they were on the board early. Eaker and Cook were catching fish sporadically, but they were all small. It'll be interesting to see how how big that lunker of theirs is, though we probably won't find out until the weigh-in.

Dance retired from competitive fishing on 1980, but it's clear his competitive spirit is still there. He's in the front of the boat, on the trolling motor and could match many of the Elite Series young guns cast for cast. He just caught one on a shallow crankbait that weighed a little better than 2 pounds. It went in the well and upgraded their catch by something less than a pound.

-- Ken Duke

11:40 a.m.

Evers is looking for another bite since his last keeper. The monotony of the heat out here has been broken up by photographer Seigo Saito's Japanese pop music (funky stuff). 

Evers just set the hook but missed once again. These must be short fish pecking at his bait, because when he does get one, he usually tosses it back immediately.

I take that back: He just boated a 1 1/2-pound keeper, giving him roughly 5 1/2-pounds out of four fish, maybe bumping 6.
--David Hunter Jones

11:31 a.m.

If you haven't checked out BASSCam, you should. Skeet Reese is on the water with Tommy Sanders and they are serving up some good information.

When Zona and KVD get into cell service, you can expect to see some of their videos there as well.

 

11:29 a.m.

BASSTrakk update:

Angler Fish Total
     
Edwin Evers 3 5-00
Ott Defoe 5 7-04

-- Hank Weldon

11:27 a.m.

Rick Clunn and Tommy Martin have steered clear of McKinnis and Dance today.

'We figured they'd be talking  about us," Clunn said. "That's why we've stayed  away."

Getting serious, Clunn said, "Those are the two best ambassadors for our sport."

Martin and Clunn have gotten serious on Black Water Lake this morning. Martin caught a 3-pounder while we were there. They've got  four more in the boat just about  like it. They've figured out a shallow crankbait pattern - a Lucky E Strike Series 3 in copper shad - around the abundant wood cover in this lake.

"These fish don't seem to be on the bottom," Clunn said.

"I started off with big stuff, but I think I was fishing under them," Martin said.


- Steve Wright

Dance and McKinnis have a limit, but they say it only weighs about 10 pounds. Of course, these guys are already playing mind games with the rest of the field. Who's to say they're not sandbagging us? Dance is casting a shallow running crankbait around wood cover while McKinnis is pitching and flipping a soft plastic bait behind him. It's a likely 1-2 punch to put fish in the boat, but it may not be getting them the size they think they'll need to win.

--Ken Duke

11:24 .m.

The photo gallery from this morning's take-off is now on the site. Check it out.

 

11:21 a.m.

We have had an interesting few minutes. After not catching anything flipping, DeFoe pulled up the trolling motor and headed to a set of rapids. A kayak and a jet boat were driving around, but surely DeFoe wouldn't go.

He plunged into the minor rapids without hesitation, leaving us to follow. After a short deliberation, our boat driver decided to give it a try. We made it by following closely and didn't hit anything, at least not until we got into the pool.

As we were pulling up on DeFoe, he was fishing some bridge pilings and hooked up with a small fish. It was his first one in some time but won't help cull what he already has. He's changing between a topwater and a spinning rod with what looks like a wacky rig.


The water is pretty back here, good clean water and shoals on the bank.

-- Rob Russow

11:12 a.m.

Evers' luck may be changing. He just flipped up a 2 1/2-pounder into his boat, putting him one step closer to DeFoe. This is already becoming an exciting race. Evers' persistence is paying off as he picks apart trees and other visible cover.
--David Hunter Jones

11:00 a.m.

The sound of Ever's screaming motor resonated off of the trees as he tried to slug his way through a shallow spot in Prairie Creek. There was a piece of wood that he wanted to fish, but it's not going to happen today.

"It deepens up back there, but I don't guess I'm getting there today," he said.

The low water presents Evers with a double-edged sword: The low water is what he needs for his bite to pick up, yet it's also denying him access to certain pieces of cover that he'd otherwise like to fish.

-David Hunter Jones

10:56 a.m.

Dance and McKinnis are keeping up the banter and the fish catching. McKinnis caught a 3-pounder on a crankbait. That give them a limit in the boat, anchored by Dance's 5-pounder.

They were glad to know that Kevin VanDam has started working on his second career - as a photographer.

"He needs something," McKinnis said. "I think  it's  all  hype, that bass fishing. He's got that fancy name and those fancy initials, KVD."

"Yeah, it sounds like some sort of disease," Dance said. "I can't fish today, Jerry, I've got a bad case of the KVDs."

- Steve Wright

10:40 a.m.

DeFoe finally decided to pull up and leave the canal and head toward Wetumpka. This is the part of the Coosa that comes out from Lake Jordan. The river here is totally different with current, eddies, big shoals and an old lock we just went through.

It's still pretty warm water, about 84 degrees, but the current around the bridges and rocks is what positions the fish.

For the first time today, Defoe has picked up the flipping stick and a green pumpkin creature bait and is casting around the rock and wood cover along a current-swept bank. No bites yet.

-Rob Russow

10:36 a.m.

Bill Dance can’t walk the streets of Montgomery, Ala., for more than a few steps without somebody yelling out his name. Thanks to his television series, he’s easily the most popular man in the sport of bass fishing. He doesn’t fish tournaments very often, though. He competed in the 25th Anniversary B.A.S.S. Tournament on Beaver Lake, Ark., in 1992, finishing second in the “old-timer’s division.” As I understand it, this is his second tournament since retiring from the bass wars.

So why did he fish it?

“I came for Jerry McKinnis,” he told me. “This is important to him, and I owe him. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today without Jerry.” Dance went on to explain how McKinnis helped him get started in television, mentoring him as the fledgling Bill Dance Outdoors show got off the ground. “Getting to fish in a tournament with Jerry again is extremely special.” There were strings attached, however. For Dance to agree to participate, McKinnis had to accept an invitation to appear on an upcoming episode of Dance’s show.

There’s another connection between the Legends and Dance’s television career -- his first show was about fishing Toledo Bend Reservoir with a young guide named Tommy Martin, along with Martin’s mentor, Ralph Giesow. Martin, the 1974 Bassmaster Classic winner, is fishing today with former fellow Texan Rick Clunn.

—Dave Precht

10:28 a.m.

Guy Eaker and Ken Cook have a limit. We just watched them put number 5 in the boat. Apparently Eaker is doing most of the catching, which isn't unusual since he's fishing from the front of his boat. When I asked about the size of their fish, Eaker said "Shhhhhh," and Cook said they had "four little ones and one not little one." I pressed, but he wouldn't tell me just how big their big one is, so I'm guessing it must be 7 or better.

-- Ken Duke

10:26 a.m.

Evers' batting average hasn't improved any. He's missed two more and is getting flustered about it. He's slowly working along a bank and just worked across to a sunken tree. The heat down here is stifling and there's lots of sighing coming from the crowd.
--David Hunter Jones

10:25 a.m.

Expect nostalgia to play a huge role in the Legends tournament today. Especially for Bobby Murray. “I was putting together my little tacklebox for this, and I came across an original Big O,” he said. “That’s the first thing I’m throwing in the morning.

“People talk about all the square-bill crankbaits that are the rage right now – well, they started with Fred Young and his Big O.” Murray was instrumental in putting together Fred Young and lure maker Cotton Cordell. Until that time, Young hand-carved his crankbaits out of wood, but Cordell managed to mass-produce them. Also involved in the project was Young’s friend Bill Nichols, whom Bill Dance and Jerry McKinnis both say may have been the best smallmouth bass fisherman of all time.

Murray told me: “I called Bill Nichols as I was packing and told him I was going to start out with the Big O. Bill said, ‘Do that. Please run it through one more time. Give it one more chance.’ It would be a shame to be here at the Legends and not give The Original one more chance. And besides, I know nobody else is going to be fishing an Original Big O!”

 —Dave Precht

10:17 a.m.

Dance and McKinnis are having their fun with the rest of the field by implying that they've been on the water before. In fact, they haven't. But why let the others know when it might irritate them and take them off their game? We're leaving Clunn and Martin in search of another team. As we troll away, they had three in the well that would weigh about 7 pounds and had thrown back several keepers that wouldn't have helped much if they couldn't cull them by the end of the day.

-- Ken Duke

10:14 a.m.

Its hard to describe the feeling when those bass come up. You just go crazy. The most sane and composed men lose their mind when bass hit the surface.

Through all that, DeFoe has kept his calm and is fishing like it's just another day on the water. Earlier, he filled out his limit and culled a few more times after catching two nice 1.5-pound spots. That puts him in the 7.5- to 8-pound range.

Both those fish came after we thought the schooling action had died off. All of a sudden, they were everywhere again, busting around the boat and in the distance.

The big fish continues to elude him. DeFoe said he caught a 3-pounder here yesterday and is giving himself a chance at an upgrade before he moves towards Wetumpka.

-Rob Russow

10:13 a.m.

McKinnis and  Dance now have four fish in the boat and have returned
three small ones to Black Water Lake. Their last two came at the same
time - a double - near the dock, which has a fish pellet feeder on it.

"These other guys aren't smart enough to fish near the feeder," McKinnis said.

The smack talk has been even better than the bass fishing.

"I don't like any of these other guys in this tournament, do you?" Dance said.

"Guy Eaker," McKinnis replied. "He's got good chicken."

That got a laugh from Dance, who said, "Yeah, he serves some good yard
bird doesn't he?"

- Steve Wright

10:07 a.m.

VanDam has picked up one of Overstreet's cameras and is snapping off shots left and right like a real pro. If he keeps this up, he'll have his own gallery. He certainly didn't plan on being on the sidelines here, but he's enjoying it.

It has been weird for DeFoe too, having one of his biggest competitors looking over his shoulder and analyzing his fishing.

"This was never in my wildest dreams," DeFoe said. "To have him commentating I never even thought about that when I started the year."

A nice layer of clouds this morning likely extended the schooling action. The past few days haven't been anything like today and I bet its because of the clouds. They are gone now and it is brutally hot.

-Rob Russow

VanDam doing Overstreet's job

 

10:02 a.m.

The first quarter of our head-to-head contest is over and DeFoe, like yesterday against Swindle, has jumped out to a goodlead. Comparable to yesterday, DeFoe has a limit at the same time. It's a little smaller than yesterday, but he does five.

On the flip side, Evers has one. He had two yesterday at this time for about 5 pounds. They were good quality fish. Today, his first keeper isn't near that size. But as yesterday showed us, both of these guys put together bites all day.

-- Steve Bowman

10:00 a.m.

To a man, every one of the Legends anglers was looking forward to renewing friendships, even competitive ones. At a special reception for the Legends anglers last night, I asked Bobby Murray why he decided to participate. He was quick to respond: “You can’t have this fire in your belly for 35 years and then lose it. We have to compete.  And what’s great is we’re competing with our buddies. We all have that common bond with one another. I’ve been away from tournaments for 30 years. This sure gets the juices flowing. I’d have come just to see everybody.

 Murray and the others stayed up until way past their bedtimes reminiscing about tournaments of long ago, of pranks played on one another, and of fellow fishermen who are no longer among them. It was honor and a special treat for me to listen in on their conversations, and to relive with them what they consider to be the glory days of bass fishing.

—Dave Precht

9:58 a.m.

Evers just set the hook, which sent a bass flying into the air. Luckily, it landed next to his trolling motor bracket and Evers was able to hang on to it as he untangled the line around himself. It looked small so he measured it, but it wasn't big enough. Back it went. He just reared back again, but all he hauled was water "Dang it!" he said.
--David Hunter Jones

9:53 a.m.

We found Evers in Prairie Creek, which is huge and all idle-only. Evers' plan is very time-consuming, but he's made it
work for him so far. Evers said that he needed the water to be down for his bite to really excel, and Tindol believes it's about the same as it was yesterday. Reports are that he's still got one keeper. he's doing largely the same thing as he was upriver: flipping soft plastics.
--David Hunter Jones

9:52 a.m.

To a man, every one of the Legends anglers was looking forward to renewing friendships, even competitive ones. At a special reception for the Legends anglers last night, I asked Bobby Murray why he decided to participate. He was quick to respond: “You can’t have this fire in your belly for 35 years and then lose it. We have to compete.  And what’s great is we’re competing with our buddies. We all have that common bond with one another. I’ve been away from tournaments for 30 years. This sure gets the juices flowing. I’d have come just to see everybody.

 Murray and the others stayed up until way past their bedtimes reminiscing about tournaments of long ago, of pranks played on one another, and of fellow fishermen who are no longer among them. It was honor and a special treat for me to listen in on their conversations, and to relive with them what they consider to be the glory days of bass fishing.

—Dave Precht

9:50 a.m.

BASStrakk update:

Angler Fish Total
     
Edwin Evers 1 1-12
Ott Defoe 5 7-04

-- Hank Weldon

9:44 a.m.

Here's a look at where our anglers are located at the moment.

A closer look at Edwin Evers

Closer look at Ott DeFoe

9:42 a.m.

Fossil fuels are getting burned today, folks. We're now down at Jones Bluff dam, but Evers is nowhere to be found. We understand that he's been in Prairie Creek, so we're looking into it now. As soon as we find him we'll report back.
--David Hunter Jones

9:35 a.m.

Two more stops as Edwin goes downriver, one at a tiny creekmouth with water pouring out of it.  Barely wide enough for a boat , he tries and tries to get over the sand hump at the mouth.  Can't do it. "I wAs counting on that one, he says---"it's got big ones in it ."
Now we've run all the down to Prairie Creek, still just one small keeper.

-- Tommy Sanders

9:24 a.m.

Blackwater Lake at Coon Hop Hollow doesn't get a lot of fishing pressure, so when Rick Clunn, Tommy Martin, Guido Hibdon, Bobby Murray, Ken Cook, Guy Eaker, Bill Dance and Jerry McKinnis descend upon it, it's a red letter day .. Unless you're a bass. We're with Clunn and Martin, and they're catching them, but only one's been good enough for the livewell so far-- about a 4 pounder.

-- Ken Duke

9:19 a.m.

Bill Dance caught the first bass in the first B.A.S.S. tournament ever - in 1967 on Arkansas' Beaver Lake. Dance  borrowed a boat with a 60-horsepower motor  on it, jumped out ahead  of the field at the takeoff and landed a first on the first cast.

Dance caught the first bass Sunday morning in the Legends event on a private lake about an hour northeast of Montgomery. Takeoff time was 9 a.m. and Dance reeled  in a five-pounder as the four-boat field was leaving the dock. Dance caught it on a crankbait and had it in the boat by 9:04.

Dance's partner, Jerry McKinnis, lipped the fish and held it up for the other competitors to see. The other  pairings are Guy Eaker and Ken Cook, Tommy Martin and Rick Clunn and Guido Hibdon and Billy Murray.


- Steve  Wright

9:13 a.m.

One reason Ken Cook wanted to attend the Legends tournament  being held near Montgomery, Ala., is that this is the site of the first Bassmaster Classic for which he qualified. A former fisheries biologist in Oklahoma, Cook was the overall winner of the B.A.S.S. Federation Chapter Championship on Grand Lake, Okla., in 1980, and went on to win the first $100,000 paycheck in the Super B.A.S.S. tournament.

He recalls that the Alabama River was every bit as stingy during that Classic, held in October 1981, as it is today. He was in seventh place after one day, he recalls, with only 6 or 7 pounds. He finished 12th with 11-7. Back then, competitors in the Classic were limited to 10 pounds of tackle. If they packed too much, B.A.S.S. Founder Ray Scott would start removing lures until it weighed 10 pounds. Cook didn’t pack enough of the right stuff.

“I learned that you couldn’t fish a three-day tournament with 12 worms,” he said. “I only had one bag of Snatrix worms, and that’s what the fish wanted. I went through the whole bag the first day and was trying to melt them back together with matches.” Now, fishermen can bring all the lures they want, and they pack their boats to the brim, he added.

—Dave Precht

9:11 a.m.

We caught up with Evers again, this time further down river. We're having to take it easy as we run because of some very real fuel issues: At full throttle, Tindol is concerned that we won't have the gas necessary to get back to the ramp, especially with a fully-loaded boat with three people.

At the moment, Evers is throwing a square-billed crankbait, presumably an XCalibur XCS 100. Evers still
has his life vest on, indicating that he's on the move a lot. Such as right now. I'll report back with a fish catch update.
--David Hunter Jones

8:54 a.m.

BASSTrakk update:

     
Angler Fish Total
     
Edwin Evers 1 1-12
Ott Defoe 5 6-00

-- Hank Weldon

 

8:42 a.m.

Even though he had knee replacement surgery (his second) only six weeks ago, Ken Cook drove 14 hours from his home in Oklahoma to participate in the Legends tournament. Why go to all that trouble when no money is on the line?

“I miss these guys,” he said. “I miss the camaraderie. And I didn’t want people to think I disappeared from the face of the earth.”

Cook is fishing today with Guy Eaker, who retired recently from competitive fishing after a long and steady career. Cook and Eaker were both inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame this year during ceremonies at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans.

—Dave Precht

What Precht failed to mention in that blog was that Dave Precht was the third part of the three-man class inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. All three very deserving.

-- Steve Bowman

8:40 a.m.

Defoe is throwing a Zoom Super Fluke weightless and is fishing it across the surface quickly with sharp snaps of the rod tip. Another blowup near the boat and after a quick cast to the spot, a bass swirls on it but doesn't hook up.

A few casts later and Defoe hooks up with his third keeper, but they are getting smaller. This one will go a pound and again came on the fluke.

The action on the surface has slowed down, but Defoe has been able to pick off a keeper here and there. As I type, he boats keepers four and five, giving him a small limit around 6 pounds.

He's throwing the fluke on braided line and a spinning rod with a swivel and a leader for the clear water.

"Braided line lets him cast farther and get better hookups," VanDam said. "The days of throwing flukes on baitcasters and heavy line are over now that we have braid."

-Rob Russow

8:39 a.m.

My previous blog was interupted by Rob Russow, who is following DeFoe. The fish are schooling all around DeFoe. Russow calls it exciting. So exciting that DeFoe has filled out a limit. They are small and we'll get a better report from Russow and BASSTrakk soon. But for now, DeFoe has started off fast.

-- Steve Bowman

8:36 a.m.

While Ott and Edwin each have a keeper, our Legends will soon begin fishing in their own tournament. It will be an epic event. We will soon have some blogs from there and some reports from Dave Precht on last night's festivities.

-- Steve Bowman

8:25 a.m.

Evers is in super-shallow water throwing a buzzbait and flipping a Yum flipping bait in and around laydown trees. We've got a small flotilla following us which Evers' was half worried about in this shallow water. However, they're keeping
a respectful distance.
--Davis Hunter Jones

 

8: 25 a.m.

As soon as we pulled up on Defoe, he was battling a fish into the boat. It looked to be a small keeper and was his first of the day.

Mark Zona and Kevin VanDam are right on Defoe doing BASSCam analysis and they should turn out great because in Zona's words, "there is a frenzy going on under the surface."

Bass are schooling everywhere in this channel, blowing up huge sprays of water as they blast shad on the surface.

"Most of those are stripers," VanDam said. "The spotted bass are in there competing with them for food, but those stripers will just hit at the bait to try and kill it first. If they were spotted bass they would be getting the bait in their mouth."

Defoe has boated two keepers, both small, and both came in a huge group of bass, likely spots. He's hoping next time, one of the bigger spots in the group will eat it.

-Rob Russow

8:23 a.m.

BASSTrakk update:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angler Fish Total
     
Edwin Evers 1 1-12
Ott Defoe 1 1-00

 

-- Hank Weldon

 

8:14 a.m.

 

In a creek across from Catoma Creek watching Evers work the shallows.  The water seems to be pulling out of here.  I'm with Skeet who says that falling water in these creeks can help a shallow fishing strategy in that oxygen levels will fall and fish will seek more favorable water right up near the bank.  At 8 a.m. Evers boats his first small keeper in a few inches of water.

-- Tommy Sanders

8:10 a.m.

Evers started his day in a shallow-backwater that's filled with stumps. He's worked along along one bank and and has rounded a bend out of sight. Skeet Reese is on the water today chauffeuring Tommy Sanders and they followed him in. Look for BASSCam updates from Reese and Sanders (once they pick up a cell signal, of course). We'll get an
update from Evers once we catch up with him.
Evers said that he needed the water to fall for it to position the fish. "If it's not low they scatter everywhere," he said. My boat driver Kyle Tindol reckons that the water may have risen a tad since last night, which would not play into Evers' hands.
--David Hunter Jones

 

8:03 a.m.

This time yesterday we were talking about how tough the fishing was. Ott and Edwin found out a way to put together a nice limit of fish for late July in the South.  No angler had a fish catch this time yesterday.  Here is a look at what Edwin and Ott caught on Day Two up until 10:00 a.m.

Edwin:
9:30 a.m. - 2-00
9:52 a.m. - 2-04

Ott Defoe:
8:15 a.m. - 1-00
8:27 a.m. - 1-00
8:54 a.m. - 2-00
8:56 a.m. - 2-00
9:00 a.m. - 2-00

Ott found him a little something in the 8 o'clock hour yesterday. I'm sure he is hoping that same thing happens today as well.  Also, there was a small current this morning accompanied with some cloud cover.  That might make these fish want to cooperate a little more today.  Should make for an exciting day of fishing.

--  Hank Weldon

7:50 a.m.

The winner today will be the angler that adjusts best to the changing conditions. On the Alabama River, each day brings something new as the generation and water levels fluctuate.

Both Edwin Evers and Ott DeFoe talked at takeoff about how different each of the first two rounds have been. Yesterday, Evers caught his big bag when the current was running in the morning down south, which dropped the water and put the bass in predictable places once he figured it out.

DeFoe might be happy to hear that the conditions won't be ideal for Evers two days in a row. The generation won't start until this afternoon, which means it has been filling up and will be high when Evers arrives.

Yesterday, there wasn't much current for DeFoe but he still managed to rope in a good bag by changing a few lures in his arsenal. He caught them on a topwater and a soft jerkbait up the river.

As for the conditions up the river today, I will report back more when we get there, but you can bet more adjustments will have to be made if DeFoe is going to take home the All-Star trophy.

-Rob Russow

7:42 a.m.

We are underway for the final day. It doesn't take long with two anglers. One thing quickly noticed is that water levels have dropped overnight on the Alabama River. It is at the lowest level we've seen all week.

That could play havoc on our two finalists or play right into their hands. We'll see.

And we will see. These guys each have a team, one blogger and one photographer, on their tail all day.

Add to that are special spectators as well. On Evers, Tommy Sanders and Skeet Reese will be bringing us some on-the-water analysis on BASSCam. And on the other end, Mark Zona and Kevin VanDam will be doing the same with Ott DeFoe.

It should provide an interesting look all day. And Ken Duke will be sending us some reports from the Legends event.

A lot to watch today, so stay tuned.

-- Steve Bowman

 

 

7:30 a.m.

Evers has checked in and Swindle is taking it to the last second. Unless he boats a giant, that will be it for the blog today. We will be back in the morning, following our last two anglers, with some coverage of our Legends fishing as well.

The weigh in starts in a lttle more than hour.

- Steve Bowman

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