12 Ways to Hunt Down Big Bass
From wearing camo while bass fishing to the five top lures to use anytime. MLF pro Edwin Evers offers great advice for bass anglers everywhere
One of the most successful anglers of all time, Edwin Evers is one of only five competitors in history to pass the $3 million mark in career winnings. Evers has recorded 11 wins and 118 Top 20s in his 22-year career, and won the 2016 Bassmaster Classic. Outdoor Life recently caught up with Evers in order to help your catch more big bass.
1. Outdoor Life: Any lure choices that you’d recommend for bank anglers?
Edwin Evers: In my mind, there is not a better bait than a weightless stick worm, like the Berkley General. It really works anywhere you are —in ponds, lakes, rivers, creeks. It’s a versatile bait for somebody fishing from the bank.
If I had to choose one other bait, I would choose the Bullet Pop from Berkley—size 60, matte finish bluegill pattern. Bass eat bluegills all across the country and it’s really fun to fish because you can see the strike.
2. OL: What are your 5 favorite, go-to baits?
- 1. Berkley 5-inch General;
- 2. Berkley Squarebull crankbait in chartreuse with a blue back
- 3. 3-inch black-blue Pit Boss
- 4. Berkley J-Walker in bone color, size 120
- 5. Andy’s E series custom finesse jig in brown/orange natural, paired with a 3-inch Chigger Craw green pumpkin trailer
3. OL: What do the majority of bass fishermen get completely wrong?
EE: I would have to say that many bass fishermen misunderstand the depth at which the bait is running or the depth at which they will receive a bite. Fish don’t always relate to the bottom and when they’re not relating to the bottom, it’s important to know where the line was in the water column when you got the bite, or didn’t get the bite. Fish relate to different zones of water when they’re feeding. Some folks only want to fish the bottom; but they can get a whole lot more bites if their bait is up in the water.
4. OL: What knots do you use on which lures?
EE: I use a Palomar knot on anything over 20-pound test and a Trilene knot on anything under 20 pounds with the only exception being a loop knot on walking topwaters.
5. OL: How long will you fish a particular pattern or lure before switching up things?
EE: This is kind of two different questions: the wrong lure in the right place will catch them. For me covering the water and finding the fish is priority one.
As far as a pattern, I will fish a pattern without a bite for about 15 to 20 minutes. If I don’t get any bites after that timeframe, that’s when I will change to different technique, different cover, possibly a different bait. But you have to find ‘em first.
6. OL: Do you ever use scents or dyes?
EE: Yes, I use both. I use dyes all the time. Anytime you see a bluegill in the water, its tail is chartreuse. Also the crawdads have bright orange pinchers. That’s where I use JJ’s magic to imitate live bait.
I experiment with scents—they’re very important especially in smallmouth fishing. Berkley naturally has the best scent; they spend a ton on research and development. For example, I was using their Pit Boss that has the Berkley Powerbait scent in it when I won Redcrest in Wisconsin last summer.
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7. OL: Any tips for fishing small ponds?
EE: Make a cast before you even get up to the water’s edge. In small ponds, fish will relate to the bank. The bass in ponds gravitate toward the shore looking for bait. Imagine a bass sitting a little deeper—he uses the pond bank as a backstop to pin his prey. So I cast parallel to the bank, walk lightly, and it never hurts to wear camo.
8. OL: What dictates your choice of lure colors?
EE: Water clarity—The dingier or more stained the water, the more solid or darker color lure I use. The cleaner or clearer the water, the more transparent lure I want.
When we get to Florida for the Bass Pro Tour, the water is darker so I will use a June bug worm bait. Then later this summer when we fish Lake Champlain, it will depend on what end of the lake I’m fishing in. Closer to Ticonderoga, the water will be darker or more stained while up lake, the clearer water will dictate a more transparent lure.
9. OL: How do I get better hook sets?
EE: Focus on increasing the gear ratio on your reel. If I had a worm or any type of soft plastic, a faster gear ratio allows me to get my line tighter faster to set the hook.
It’s also important to understand the line stretch. Monofilament has a lot, fluorocarbon has a little, and a braid has no stretch. A braid or fluorocarbon offers you little to no stretch and will get you a really good hook set. I hardly use mono anymore.
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10. OL: What would put in a beginner’s tackle box?
EE: I recommend a Berkley 5-inch General in green pumpkin; a PowerBait® Power® Swimmer – a 3.3-inch swimbait; a chartreuse and white spinnerbait; and a chartreuse and white Buzzbait.
11. OL: What’s your guide for soft-plastic bait sizes?
EE: The dingier the water and the less pressure in the water, the bigger the bait – 4 to 5-inch bait. The cleaner the water, I want to downsize to a 3 or 3.5-inch bait
12. OL: How do I find and catch bigger bass?
EE: Big bites are generally a very random thing. I think you should focus on generating bites. The more bites you get, the more chances you have to get a bigger bite. It’s more about getting bites and then figuring out what they’re feeding on to try to get a bigger bass.
You can increase your odds by being stealthier and making better casts. The quieter you are on the boat and the more accuracy and distance you get with your casts can add up to bigger bites.