Evers Leads REDCREST Tournament on Lake Norman

March 9, 2023
Major League Fishing (MLF) Archive

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 9, 2023) – Pro Edwin Evers of Talala, Oklahoma, caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 15 ounces, to pace the Qualifying Round field and advance to the weekend at the Major League Fishing (MLF) REDCREST 2023, the Bass Pro Tour championship. Also advancing with Evers was pro Casey Ashley of Donalds, South Carolina, who weighed in 10 bass for 28-8 to end the round in second place, and California’s Brent Ehrler, who boated 10 scorable bass for 27-3, good for third.

Carolina pros Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, South Carolina (18th), Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina (19th), and Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, South Carolina (11th) also advanced inside the top 20 cut.

The 40-angler field is now trimmed to 20, and weights are zeroed as competition moves into the Championship Round. The top 20 anglers will compete Friday, the field is cut to 15 on Saturday and then the final 10 anglers compete on Championship Sunday. The five-day event, hosted by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Visit Lake Norman and the Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation Department, features anglers competing to become pro bass fishing’s newest world champion, and a top cash prize of $300,000.

“For these first two days, I’ve pretty much just put the trolling motor down and fished everything in front of me,” said Evers, who won the inaugural REDCREST Championship event in 2019. “This lake is one of those lakes where you try to duplicate your patterns, and I’ve spent a lot of time really just narrowing down where the bites are coming from. It’s been pretty random – from the back of a pocket to a point, and everything in between – but the more days on the water, the more pieces to the puzzle I get.

“Today it got a little bit clearer, where the better fish were,” Evers said. “I’ll know more tomorrow when I really start running that water again, but I’m not really sure how the spotted bass are going to react to the cloudy conditions (being forecast), so that’s going to be kind of interesting to see what happens.”

Evers caught nine bass Thursday – all spotted bass – with his largest going for 3½ pounds. Evers caught some on a big glide bait, some on a boot-tail swimbait and some on a topwater wake bait.

“I’ve been getting it narrowed down as the tournament goes on,” Evers said. “I’ll have three or four baits tied on  tomorrow to do what I need to do.”

When asked about his history on Lake Norman, Evers spoke highly of the fishery.

“I love this lake,” Evers said. “I’ve got some history here – I’ve won two major events on this lake. I relate to it really well, and it fits with how I grew up fishing. Lake Norman is just a fun lake to fish.”

Evers went on to predict what the winning weight on Sunday will be.

“The lake is fishing good – it’s going to take every bit of 45 pounds over the next three days,” the Oklahoma pro went on to say. “I think a 15-pound-a-day average is going to do it. And I’m excited to get back out there.”

The top 20 pros that made the cut and will advance in competition on Lake Norman:

1st:          Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 10 bass, 29-15
2nd:         Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 10 bass, 28-8
3rd:         Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 10 bass, 27-3
4th:         Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 10 bass, 27-3
5th:         Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 10 bass, 26-12
6th:         Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 10 bass, 26-9
7th:         Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 10 bass, 26-7
8th:         Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 10 bass, 25-15
9th:         Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 10 bass, 25-15
10th:       Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 25-12
11th:       Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 25-12
12th:       Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 10 bass, 25-11
13th:       Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 25-10
14th:       Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 10 bass, 25-9
15th:       Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 25-9
16th:       Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 25-6
17th:       Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., 10 bass, 25-6
18th:       Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 10 bass, 25-6
19th:       Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 10 bass, 25-3
20th:       Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 10 bass, 24-5

Finishing in 21st through 40th are:

21st:       Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 10 bass, 24-2, $5,000
22nd:      Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 10 bass, 23-15, $5,000
23rd:      James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 10 bass, 23-10, $5,000
24th:       Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 23-2, $5,000
25th:       Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 22-14, $5,000
26th:       Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 10 bass, 22-3, $5,000
27th:       Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., nine bass, 22-1, $5,000
28th:       Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 10 bass, 22-0, $5,000
29th:       Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 10 bass, 21-10, $5,000
30th:       Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 10 bass, 21-7, $5,000
31st:       Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 21-7, $5,000
32nd:      Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 21-3, $5,000
33rd:      Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 20-12, $5,000
34th:       Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 19-12, $5,000
35th:       Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 18-9, $5,000
36th:       Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., eight bass, 18-4, $5,000
37th:       Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, six bass, 15-12, $5,000
38th:       David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., seven bass, 14-8, $5,000
39th:       Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, eight bass, 14-2, $5,000
40th:       Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., eight bass, 13-10, $5,000

Overall, there were 336 scorable bass weighing 698 pounds, 10 ounces caught by the 40 pros Thursday.

Pro Casey Ashley of Donalds, South Carolina, won Thursday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 4-pound, 9-ounce largemouth during Period 3. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $1,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.