Evers Outlasts Field at Lake Norman

CORNELIUS, N.C. — It's been a tough year for locals. First, Peter Thliveros snatched a victory away from central Florida native Jim Bitter at the Harris Chain of Lakes in February. Today, Oklahoma's Edwin Evers took a win away from local top gun Jason Quinn at the $618,000 CITGO Bassmaster Tour stop at Lake Norman. Evers' 10-pound, 3-ounce catch gave him a four-day total weight of 46-6, just 13 ounces better than Quinn.

To add insult to injury, Evers managed to land a 3-pound, 6-ounce largemouth on his last cast of the day to take Purolator Big Bass honors and $1,000. That last fish was certainly the difference between his catch and Quinn's.

"I was concentrating on docks that were in pockets," explained Evers. "I was flipping a jig hoping to get a big bite. I made a real big flip into a back hole and that's when I got it!"

Evers caught his 5-fish limit flipping that jig and casting a crankbait in water 5 feet deep or less.

"I started by casting a Rapala Shad Rap on points in really shallow water, catching spotted bass," said Evers. "I had my limit by 10 a.m. and caught 8 or 9 keepers for the day."

Evers' game plan included fishing smaller pockets and the backsides of boat docks.

Quinn, a Clover, S.C., pro and sometime Lake Norman fishing guide, took second place after leading the previous two days of the tournament. In the final round, Quinn managed to bring in just four bass weighing 6 pounds, 14 ounces for a total weight of 45-9.

"I had been watching a six- or seven-pound largemouth sunning the last few days and had been waiting for her all week," said a disappointed Quinn. "I missed her on the first cast, and on the second cast I nailed her. I set the hook, and she was coming at me, but then she broke me off."

Quinn caught most of his bass on a bronze Luhr-Jensen Speed Trap, running and gunning from one boat dock to the next and fishing as many docks over the course of the day as he could.

Four-time Classic champion and Greatest Angler Debate semi-finalist Rick Clunn moved up from fifth to third on the final day with a limit catch weighing 12 pounds, 5 ounces, bringing his tournament total to 45-8. Clunn's big bag made him the Busch Heavyweight winner of the day, earning him an additional $1,000.

Clunn fished a bait of his own design to finish third. He was casting a Lucky Craft Rick Clunn 1.5 crankbait in copper green shad in one to three feet of water.

"I've been committed to the area where I caught my 15-pound bag [on Day 1]," said Clunn. "The fish finally started hitting around 9:30 a.m., and I was looking for one big kicker but never found her."

Louisiana's Greg Hackney, the 2004 Toyota Rookie of the Year, claimed fourth position with an 11-pound, 8-ounce catch on Sunday, bringing his total weight to 45 pounds.

"I went to one boat dock and caught five right off. Once you stir them up, you can catch them without your bait ever hitting the bottom."

Hackney used a 4-inch, green pumpkin straight-tailed plastic worm to catch his bass, running boat docks the entire four days.

Kotaro Kiriyama fell from second after Day Three to finish fifth overall. He began the event with what proved to be the biggest catch of the tournament, but could only bring two fish weighing 3-13 to the scales in the final round.

"Today, I had a bad day," said Kiriyama. "All week I was fishing in a current in the middle of the dam by rocks and stumps. Today, I fished with no current, and the fish really needed it."

California pro Ishama Monroe rounded out the Super Six with a catch of 9 pounds, 4 ounces and a total weight of 40-14. Monroe threw Zoom Baby Brush Hogs to brush piles scattered around the lake.

The CITGO Bassmaster Tour event on Lake Norman will be telecast on The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, March 26 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).

Local Sponsors include the Lake Norman Convention & Visitors Bureau.