Day 2 of Toyota Trucks All-Star Week looked a lot like Day 1 when Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., and Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., jumped out to big leads while the rest of the field struggled on Lake Shelbyville.
The goal of each of the 12 All-Stars was to finish the first two rounds in the Top 4 and advance to the Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship on Lake Decatur. Evers and DeFoe held onto the top spots easily with 23 pounds, 1 ounce, and 22-15, respectively. Aaron Martens stayed in third with a two-day total of 10-13, and Gerald Swindle rounded out the Top 4 with 10-6.
DeFoe and Evers have been here before. In 2011 at the inaugural All-Star competition, they finished first and second, respectively. In the championship rounds, the anglers will be seeded and paired in a match fishing format. Evers, the No. 1 seed will be fishing against Swindle, the No. 4 seed. DeFoe (No. 2) will be up against Martens (No. 3).
The winners of those two matches will advance to the finals on Sunday where the champion will earn a $60,000 payday. With Evers and DeFoe in different brackets, the stage is set for a rematch.
Evers was the only angler in the field to catch a five bass limit on each of the first two days. He fished two patterns — one shallow and one offshore — for his catch.
“I caught four of the 10 bass I weighed on an XCalibur Xr50 One Knocker lipless crankbait (chrome with a blue back),” Evers said. “I was targeting isolated stumps in the middle of flat, shallow pockets — 1 1/2 to 4 feet deep. The bass were suspended and eating shad, and they wanted the bait moving fast.”
Evers’ other pattern involved a 5-inch green pumpkin Yum Dinger fished on a Yum Pumpkin Ed standup jighead and a Booyah Finesse Jig. He fished the Dinger around isolated rockpiles and caught two of his best bass with the bait. He used the Finesse Jig around isolated stumps.
DeFoe caught almost all of his bass fishing shallow with a flat-sided, square-bill crankbait of his own design. He calls the bait “Butch,” and he fished it around laydowns and stumps for most of his catch. He caught one keeper largemouth on a spinnerbait.
“I fished Butch in pearl white and chartreuse with a black back,” DeFoe said. “I was casting it with a Revo Premier baitcasting reel and 7-foot medium-heavy rod on 15-pound-test Trilene 100% fluorocarbon line. It dives about 2 feet and has really done well for me. It’s definitely a bait I’ll be throwing in the next round on Lake Decatur.”
Martens was third after the first day with 7-7; he held on to finish in the same spot, though he managed only 3-6 on Day 2. Swindle made the biggest move of any angler in the tournament. After the first round, he was mired in eighth place with just one bass weighing 3-12. In the second round, he came on strong with four bass totaling 6-10 — good enough to advance to the next round. Skeet Reese finished just out of the cut with 9-2.
Michael Iaconelli, the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion and top vote-getter in the All-Star balloting, got “the call” a little after 3 p.m. CT today. He and his wife, Becky, are expecting their second child, and she called to tell Ike that she was heading to the hospital in labor. Iaconelli failed to catch a keeper bass during the day and left immediately for the airport, bypassing the weigh-in stage.
Image courtesy Bassmaster