Looking for Lunkers

One big bass can make all the difference at Clarks Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bassmaster.com Exclusive

 


 

 

 

Paul Elias did something on Lake Falcon that nobody, including himself, thought possible. He averaged nearly 7 pound bass over four days to capture the all-time heavyweight record.

See, for the first time, every bass he pulls into the boat (and some he missed), including an interview with Elias that walks you through the emotions of the final day.

 

 

 

Did he think he had enough to win? What did Aaron Martens tell him before the weigh-in? Find out in the full-length, Bassmaster.com exclusive show that debuts Tuesday at Noon ET on the Bassmaster.com home page.

 It's something we'd never seen before and might never see again: Paul Elias, 132 pounds, 8 ounces. Don't miss it.

 EVANS, Ga. — Edwin Evers is a good example of why it's almost impossible to handicap the 50-man field remaining after two days of the Bassmaster Elite Series Pride of Georgia tournament presented by Even Williams Bourbon.

 Evers jumped from 12th place Thursday to first place Friday with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 13 ounces. It included a 6-pound, 7-ounce fish that earned Evers the daily Purolator Big Bass award. That one fish separated Evers from everybody else "Without that big fish, I've got a mediocre stringer," said the 33-year-old Talala, Okla., pro, who has a two-day total of 33-14.Either a positive or negative version of that story has been the case for every Elite Series angler competing on Clarks Hill Lake this week."It's like Florida in a way," said Dean Rojas, who is ninth with 28-2. "You've got a bunch of pound, pound-and-a-half fish. Then you might stick a seven- or eight-pounder."

 During the first two days at Clarks Hill, when the full field of 108 anglers was competing, there were 75 five-bass limits caught that weighed less than 10 pounds."Even though I'm 5 pounds back, I still have a shot," Rojas said. "You can do so poorly so easily here. And you can also do so well just as easily, too. It could go either way."The temperature was in the 60s and the sky was partly cloudy when the 50 Elite Series anglers launched at 6:30 a.m. ET Saturday. The high today is expected to reach 80-plus degrees, and there is a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon.With the warming weather this week, there have been daily predictions of a massive blueback herring spawn that would trigger a bass feeding frenzy. But that hasn't happened yet.Rojas, who entered this event in fourth place in Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points, would gladly accept some cloudy skies. That change in the weather would allow him to throw his signature SPRO Bronzeye Frog topwater lure."I had a really good sack one day in practice with it," Rojas said. "But it was mostly cloudy that day."Even at this highest level of competitive bass fishing, there's a luck factor involved: Evers admitted he was lucky to catch that lunker Friday."I probably didn't deserve that fish," he said. "I was bringing (a lure) through some rocks. I thought I was caught up for a second. Then I was like, 'Oh, crap, that thing is swimming off.' I set the hook, and that big ol' fish jumped out of the water."Denny Brauer, the Day One leader with 22 pounds, could have weighed closer to 30 pounds Thursday if he hadn't lost a 7-pound-plus bass that he was able to touch.Right as I'm getting ready to belly the fish, he opens his mouth and the jig came out," Brauer said Thursday. "Then I'm chasing him down the side of my boat with my hand underneath him. I got pretty wet out of that deal, but the results weren't pretty."Everybody loses fish, but when you've got your hands on one, that's pretty damn frustrating."

 Rojas has tried a couple of times to catch a bass in the 7-pound class that his co-angler hooked and lost right at the boat Thursday."I went back there (Friday)," Rojas said. "I threw a (shaky head) worm up there and started shaking it."Here he comes, about that far away," said Rojas, as he held his right thumb and index finger a short distance apart.

But Rojas explained that the 7-pounder never got any closer to his lure.It's a game of inches," Rojas said. "All he had to do was suck that thing in and I would have had another 16-pound bag yesterday."Instead, the 36-year-old Lake Havasu, Ariz., pro finished with 11-5 Friday and dropped from sixth place to ninth.Clarks Hill Lake probably will produce plenty more of those stories this weekend. The top 12 anglers after today's weigh-in will compete for the $100,000 first place check on Sunday. The weigh-ins will be held at Wildwood Park beginning at 3 p.m. ET both days.

 

 

Visit Bassmaster.com for full coverage of the Elite Series' Pride of Georgia., May 1–4, 2008. Daily weigh-ins with live streaming video and real-time leaderboards start at 3:00 p.m. ET, and watch for "Hooked Up," a live Internet pre-game show, at noon and 2:15 p.m. ET on Sunday.

advertisement

advertisement