Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers was the last to weigh in during the second day of the Bassmaster Classic, and when the scales settled he had claimed the lead of the so-called Superbowl of Fishing — but just barely.
Emcee Dave Mercer announced Evers needed 20 pounds, 9 ounces to claim the lead, and that’s exactly what the scales read.
The stringer brought Ever’s two-day weight to 47 pounds, 6 ounces.
Tharp weighed 19-13 to edge his total to 47-5.
Tennessee’s Ott DeFoe was in third with 43-5, Jason Christie of Oklahoma was in fourth with 42-14 and Connecticut Federation Nation member Paul Mueller was in fifth with 41-13 on the strength of a 32-pound, 3-ounce stringer that set the Bassmaster Classic record for heaviest five-fish limit.
Evers said it wasn’t easy building his five-fish limit.
“I struggled today,” Evers admitted. “I threw back 14-, 15-inch fish early, and by 2 o’clock I think I had three fish.”
In fact, even his biggest fish — one that broke the 7-pound mark — presented difficulties.
“I hate to admit it, but I caught that big fish in the tail,” Evers said. “I didn’t think it was a bass, and when I saw it I didn’t know if I would be able to catch it.
“When I saw it was finally a bass, I thought my chances of landing it were slim to none.”
The fish was stuck in the tail by only one hook on his crankbait’s treble hook.
“It took a long time,” Evers said. “And I had it on light line.”
Yesterday, the Elite Series pro said he was fishing a pattern that he thought he could repeat in different areas of the lake.
However, he said after the weigh-in that changing conditions on the water hurt him.
“It was definitely different today,” Evers said. “The water cleaned up. I’m not getting a lot of bites.”
He managed the bites by expanding from a couple of lures yesterday to three or four lures — with a combination of crankbaits and lipless crankbaits being key.
However, he admitted that the pattern and areas he identified yesterday didn’t hold together.
“I did expand today,” Evers said. “I definitely caught some fish where I didn’t catch them yesterday.”
He said tomorrow is going to be a slugfest, and predicted winning will require a stout sack of fish.
“I think you’re going to have to catch them tomorrow,” Ever said. “Whoever wins this thing will have a monster bag.”