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Edward Evers Claims CITGO BASS Central Texas Open
By Patty Lenderman

Jasper, Texas-- Mannsville, Oklahoma pro angler Edwin Evers claimed the 2004 CITGO BASS Texas Open championship on Lake Sam Rayburn on the strength of a 22-pound Day 3 stringer for a three-day-total of 52-pounds and 7 ounces. Houston pro angler Brian Penso took the runner up honors with 48-pounds and 8 ounces, while Hemphill Texan Tommy Martin claimed the #3 spot with 45-pounds and two-ounces. Courtney Harris of Ruston, La. claimed the top place for the non-boater division with 34-pounds and three-ounces, most fish caught with a bait he had a premonition to use.

The competition began with a full field of 192 boaters & 192 co-anglers. After the first two days, the field was cut to the top 50 in each division, with the top 55 in each receiving checks. On the boater side it took a two day total weight of 19 lbs 1 oz to make the cut and on the co-angler side 8 lbs 4 oz.

Ever's victory was the best finish on the Rayburn water for the Team Nitro Angler, having placed in four top-ten finishes in the past four outings at Rayburn BASS tournaments. The 29-year-old bachelor has qualified for four Bass Classic appearances and counts Lake Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend Reservoir as his favorite lakes in the country.

Evers landed in 34th spot at the end of day 1, only coming in with 11 lbs 13 oz. He had a lot of making up to do, and by day 2 came up in the standings to 3rd place with an 18 lb 10 oz catch. Evers concentrated at mid-lake and used several baits to catch his winning stringers, beginning with a topwater bite in the shallow water in the early mornings. He would catch his limit and then go to his bigger fish spots, in deeper water, to use Carolina rigged plastic baits and two crankbaits; a Bass Pro Shop Orien and a Bill Norman Deep Little N, each dive 8-10 feet. Evers used a steady retrieve with his Bass Pro Shop Pro Qualifier rods and reels, spooled with Bass Pro XPS Flurocarbon line; 14 pound test for the crankbaits and 20-pound test for the Carolina rigs. He used a steady retrieve for the crankbaits in stump filled areas. On the final day he brought in the stringer that pushed him over the top weighing in 22 pounds for a three day weight of 52 lbs 7 oz.

Brian Penso of Texas, whose boat was first to hit the shoreline at the weigh-in site at Twin Dikes Marina on Day 3, weighed in 12-pounds and 4 ounces. He also had a lot of catching to do after starting on day 1 in 21st place. Penso concentrated his efforts using a grass frog and flipping in 2-foot deep areas up river. "I would motor along and look for areas that held large shad," Penso told the spectators at Saturday's weigh-in. "I would locate them swimming a large Tiki worm and then use a grass frog or flip once they were located."

Tommy Martin, the venerable pro, stayed in the top 10 range all three days. Hmanaged but four fish on the final day which was enough for Martin, holding second place after Day 2 of the competition, to take home third place honors. "I had a choice to fish for a limit or fish to win," Martin told the spectators at the final weigh in, "I fished to win." Martin used Zoom trick worms (junebug, green pumpkin and red blood line- colors) in 12-22' depths. Martin rigged the worms Texas-style with a ¼-ounce weight. He targeted brush piles and stumps, where he found the fish holding tight to cover and slow to bite. Martin claimed the Puralator Big Bass honors on Day 2 with a 6-pound-14-ounce bass.

David Curtis of Trinity, Texas took fourth place with 43-pounds and 8-ounces. Lake Sam Rayburn pro Bud Pruitt managed to claim 5th spot, a 4-pound-7-ounce bass anchored his final day catch. "I had a great week," said Pruit, winner of the 1996 and 2000 Texas Invitationals on Rayburn. "I didn't run out of fish, but getting the right bite was tough."

Pruit said that he fished "all over the lake." He used Berkley Power Tubes in the shallows, 3-4 feet depths. He pitched and flipped using Castaway Grassmaster rods and Tuoron reels-spooled with 80-pound test Stealth line. He used a 1-ounce weight for the tube bait.

Rounding out the top ten finishers were:
6th Tommy Durham, Waxahachie, Tx.(39-08) $9,000
7th Mike McClelland,Vella Vista, Ark.(39-06) $6,000
8th Paul Ferguson, Arp, Tx. (39-02) $5,500
9th Cliff Pace, Petal, Miss. (39-01) $4,500
10th Rick Skidmore, Lumberton, Tx., (38-05) $4,000.

Non-boater winner Harris led the division from start to finish starting with a Day 1 sack weighing 16-pounds and 12-ounces. He weighed 8-pounds and 1 ounce on the final day for a three day total of 34-pounds and three-ounces. On stage he credited his pro partners for helping him catch fish. "People may think I'm crazy but I saw the bait in a dream three weeks ago," said the winner of a Triton boat and motor package valued at $24,000. The bait he dreamed of was a blueblood Culprit worm. He credits the not-often-used bait for his victory.

Second place in the non-boater division went to Jasper angler, Bill Rogers, with 29-pounds and 5-ounces. Rogers won the non-boater division of the Texas 2002 Open at Lake Sam Rayburn. Rogers earned $8,000 for his fishing efforts.

Other local pro top 50 finishers included Jasper's Todd Faircloth - 22nd; Sam Rayburn pro David Wharton-47th, Yusuke Miyazaki (42nd) and Joey Shelton (44th) both from Mineola.

Top 50 local non-boater finishers included Jasper anglers Bill Guillory (19th) and in 20th place, Adrian Coble.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Central Open presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Toyota, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.

"Pro Evers of Oklahoma wins 1st place in the Pro division with a 3-day weight of 52 lbs 7 oz

Pro Brian Penso of Houston, TX steadily moved up to finish 2nd place with a total weight of 48 lbs 8 oz
< photos by Patty Lenderman >

Local Pro Tommy Martin of Hemphill, TX brought in just what he needed on the final day to secure a 3rd place finish

Courtney Harris of Ruston, LA won the Co-Angler division with 13 bass weighing 34 lbs 3 oz

Jasper, TX angler Bill Rogers finished 2nd in the Co-Angler division with 29 lbs 5 oz

Photo by Don Gervais

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