HENDERSON, N.C. – When Larry Evans of Southpoint, Ohio, qualified for the 20th and last spot in the Stren Series Northeast Division semifinals Thursday afternoon, many folks hardly took notice.
Evans, however, got their attention Saturday afternoon as he took home the Stren Series victory on Kerr Lake, winning a fully rigged Ranger boat and $10,000 cash.
“Have you ever heard of heaven on Earth?” Evans asked Chris Jones after being declared the winner. “Well, I’m there right now; this is heaven on Earth.”
After the weights were cleared Friday morning, Evans got mired in a three-way tie for the lead that occurred during Friday’s semifinal round, when three pros caught identical weights of 15 pounds, 10 ounces. Today, he separated himself from the pack with five bass weighing 13 pounds, 12 ounces to win with a two-day total of 29-6.
Evans attributed the win to the good fortune of having a large school of 4-pound bass swim into his area both Friday and Saturday.
“I was fishing along yesterday, looked up and saw this large school of 4-pounders just swimming down the bank,” he recounted. “It was as if God said, ‘There they are, Larry; all you have to do is throw out there and catch them.’ And that’s exactly what I did.”
He experienced the same phenomenon today when another school swam by him, and he made hay while the sun was shining.
Evans was fishing around the biggest island in the mouth of Nutbush Creek when the bass windfall occurred.
“I was flipping stump rows down there with a 3/4-ounce Stacey King casting jig, teamed with a Net Bait Paca Craw,” Evans reported. “Once the schools showed up, the fish positioned themselves on the stumps, and I could catch them with ease.”
This marked Evans’ first victory in an FLW Outdoors event.
Tindall finishes second
Tindall used the “stay close and just fish” approach this week.
“I probably didn’t burn 20 gallons all week,” he said. “I stayed right here in Nutbush. I’d just put my trolling down and fish. Sometimes I’d fish a couple of miles before I made a move with the big motor.”
Tindall concentrated his fishing efforts on visible stumps at the ends of main-lake points. He used his trolling motor to follow along the primary breaklines, looking for any dark shadows or stumps beneath the water.
He pitched a 1/4-ounce Booyah jig, teamed with a 5-inch Yamamoto twin-tail trailer, and a Bass Pro Shops green-pumpkin tube, teamed with a 1/4-ounce Tru-Tungsten weight, to the stumps.
Auten powers his way to third
Auten stayed in the Nutbush area all week, fishing a buzzbait, a Splash-it popper and a 1/2-ounce Outlaw jig, teamed with a Zoom Ultravibe trailer.
“I was mostly fishing docks with the jig,” he said. “But in between the docks, I’d throw the buzzbait and popper to cover water, and that produced a few of my keepers as well.”
Montgomery takes fourth
Montgomery also power-fished shallow along small creeks and cuts between Butcher’s Creek and Nutbush Creek.
In the mornings, he would swim a white 3/8-ounce Outlaw jig with a white Zoom Superchunk along stumps and docks. In the afternoons he switched to a brown 1/2-ounce Outlaw jig, teamed with a Zoom Salty Chunk.
“I had mostly been fishing docks and stumps this week,” he said. “But today I picked up on a pattern on pontoon boats and started skipping a jig around those.”
Park takes fifth
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Stren Series Northeast event on Kerr Lake:
6th: Tim McDonald of Hagerhill, Ky., with a two-day total of 24-2, $6,450
7th: Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va., with a two-day total of 23-8, $5,450
8th: Ray Griffin of Henderson, N.C., with a two-day total of 22-7, $4,950
9th: Cavin Young of Prince George, Va., with a two-day total of 19-0, $4,450
10th: Keith Monson of Burgin, Ky., with a two-day total of 14-12, $3,950