Finding just one reliable way to catch keepers on a clear-water impoundment in late summer can be a severe challenge. If you've got more than one, then you've got a recipe for victory.
Edwin Evers used a two-pronged attack – shallow shoreline cover and relatively deep brush around docks – to win the Norman PAA Tournament Series in North Carolina.
He caught bags that exceeded 15 pounds (although one was reduced to slightly under that mark due to a 1-pound penalty for being late to check-in) on 2 of the 3 days and prevailed by nearly 6 pounds.
The Oklahoman began the final day about a pound and a half out of the lead, but caught a 15.70 sack (the best single-day net weight for the event) to win handily. It was his second victory at Norman – he topped a springtime Bassmaster Tour event there in 2005.
Here's how he did it.
Evers' theory about fishing Norman – which seems to be valid no matter the season – is to cover as much water as possible until you find some quality fish. That's not quite as simple as it might sound, though.
"You can go miles and miles without a bite and then get three or four bites in one place," he said. "There are a lot of areas of dead water."
He focused on deep water during his first practice day, without a lot of success.
"I caught a couple of good (spotted bass) – 2 1/2- to 2 3/4-pounders, and that had me thinking that it was going to be won deep. I never really got on them, though.
"I saw a lot of fish, but it was hard to get them to bite, and I caught a lot of little fish. It wasn't consistent and I couldn't duplicate anything."
He went shallow the next day and found some quality, and then spent the third day searching for similar areas. Toward the end of that day he began keying on brushpiles placed at the ends of docks that were off the main lake.
By the time practice was over, he'd learned that he could catch fish in water from 6 inches to 2 feet deep around overhanging trees and steep riprap on a buzzbait or a jig, and also dock-oriented brushpile fish from 12 to 22 feet on a Yum Dinger.
> Day 1: 5, 14.96
> Day 2: 5, 10.05
> Day 3: 5, 15.71
> Total = 15, 40.71
If you disregard the fact that Evers misjudged the distance back to the launch and incurred the 1-pound penalty, day 1 couldn't have gone much better for him.
"It was just a fun day and one of those days I won't forget," he said. "I actually saw a lot of those fish I caught. One was cruising and I threw a buzzbait out in front of it and he had it right on his nose. I had about 10 feet of line left when he sucked it in.
"Another one came out of the docks chasing the bait and I slowed it down, and he engulfed it right at the boat."
He was in a tie for 1st with Shinichi Fukae after the penalty adjustment, but fell to 2nd the next day when he managed just slightly over 10 pounds.
"I think those shallow fish just got used up – the pressure got to them big-time. I didn't get off that until 12:00, then I went deep and caught three keepers and then came back shallow. I didn't realize that a lot of those deeper fish were bigger than I thought."
He again started shallow on day 3 and caught two keepers, one of which was a 4-pounder. He moved to the deep brush at about 11:30 and loaded up over the next 2 hours – a haul that included a 5.19-pounder that took big-fish honors for the day. By the time he'd made his final cull he was pretty sure he'd done enough to win.
"I knew Shin was going to need 14 pounds, and anybody below him would've had to catch a really big sack."
Worm gear: 7' medium-heavy Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier rod, BPS Pro Qualifier casting reel (6.4:1 ratio), 14-pound BPS XPS fluorocarbon line, unnamed 1/4-ounce weight, unnamed 4/0 hook, 5-inch Yum Dinger (green-pumpkin/purple).
Jig gear: Same rod and reel, 50-pound BPS Magibraid Spectra braided line (main line), 20-pound XPS fluorocarbon (3' leader), 3/8-ounce Booyah jig (green-pumpkin), Yum Chunk trailer (green-pumpkin).
Buzzbait gear: 7' medium-action BPS Pro Qualifier rod, BPS Pro Qualifier casting reel (7:1 ratio), 50-pound Magibraid, 3/8-ounce BPS Lazer Eye buzzbait (white).
The Bottom Line
> Main factor in his success – "Just the amount of water I was covering and not being locked down and adjusting to fish the deeper brushpiles."
> Performance edge – "Without a doubt my Optima batteries. I had the trolling motor on 9 the entire time I was jumping around the docks or moving as fast as I could to the next shady spot, and they held up the whole time."
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