You want to talk about who's the hottest professional bass angler on the planet right now? Edwin Evers has to be part of that discussion.

The quiet Oklahoman is still hindered in the BassFan World Rankings by a sub-par 2009 season and a couple of bombs on the FLW Tour last year, but "Steady Eddie" has been spectacularly consistent over the past 11 months. Today he notched his fourth career tour-level victory in a state that's never been particularly kind to him as he caught a 19-00 bag for a 77-01 total at the St. Johns River Bassmaster Elite Series in Florida.



His effort foiled Alton Jones' pursuit of a wire-to-wire win and spoiled what would surely have been a wild victory party for hugely popular Palatka-area resident Terry Scroggins. It was Evers' 10th finish of 22nd or better in his last 11 tour-level events (including last year's Toyota Texas Bass Classic) and his fifth Top-10 showing during that span.

Scroggins caught the day's biggest bag (20-04) to finish as the runner-up with 74-03. Jones, the 2008 Bassmaster Classic champion who's still seeking his first regular-season Elite win, caught 13-02 and fell to 3rd with 73-12.

Todd Faircloth boxed 14-12 today and finished 4th with 73-12, and Steve Kennedy rounded out the Top 5 with 16-12 today for a 68-13 total.

Here's a look at the final numbers for the 12 anglers who fished today:

1. Edwin Evers: 77-01
2. Terry Scroggins: 74-03
3. Alton Jones: 73-12
4. Todd Faircloth: 68-13
5. Steve Kennedy: 65-01
6. J Todd Tucker: 61-08
7. Kelly Jordon: 58-14
8. Dustin Wilks: 58-12
9. Keith Combs: 57-13
10. Casey Ashley: 57-12
11. Kevin VanDam: 52-14
12. Billy McCaghren: 47-04

As expected, the first strong winds of the event swept the area today. Coming from the east, they shut down the sight-bite on the west side of Lake George by mid-day. That's where Jones, Faircloth and others had made their hay over the first 3 days.

Evers began the tournament right alongside them on the big eelgrass flats that were hosting the tail end of the Florida spawn. However, the congestion caused him to make a move to Lake Crescent on day 2, and big, bed-minded female fish kept coming to him over the final 3 days.

The event was the second on the eight-tournament circuit. Following a 2-week break, the series will resume at Alabama's Lake Pickwick April 6-9.

Evers a Bit Surprised

> Day 4: 5, 19-00 (20, 77-01)

Evers, who opened the Florida swing with a 22nd at the Harris Chain, topped off his best-ever trip to the Sunshine State. The victory also gave him an automatic slot in the 2012 Classic.

"It's awesome, it feels great," he said. "I don't know how to describe it. These things are hard to win.

"The Classic (berth) is a great, great deal. That's one less thing I have to worry about."

His bag today was extremely strong for the conditions, but he didn't think it was going to be enough.

"I thought I'd be a pound or so short. I kind of knew what Alton had, and when Scroggins weighed 20 pounds, I thought maybe I'd have a chance. I thought he had more weight than that.

"I feel kind of bad for Terry, having an opportunity like that to win in front of his home crowd. He's a great guy and a great angler and I almost hate to beat such a good friend."

His sack was topped by an 8 3/4-pound spawner that he'd had pinned down for 2 days. He'd caught the accompanying male then and could have made a cull with it, but released it with the hope that it would keep the female around.

He alternated between two baits a Yum Money Craw and a Yum Wooly Bug, both injected with the company's new F2 formula. Full details of his winning pattern, as well as those of the other top finishers, will be posted soon.



B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina
Photo: B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina

Terry Scroggins caught today's biggest bag, but it wasn't quite big enough to secure a win in front of his hometown crowd.

2nd: Near-Miss for Scroggins

> Day 4: 5, 20-04 (20, 74-03)

Scroggins put up a valiant effort to snatch the win on his home water, but several lost bites on day 3 (when he weighed just 13-15) were his undoing.

"Losing those two (4-pounders) and a 3 yesterday cost me the tournament," he said. "When something like that happens, then you need a lot of other people to stumble, and not everybody's going to. I knew I was in trouble."

"Second place is always a little bit of a disappointment, but it was a good tournament."

He went through about a dozen keepers today and his bag was headed up by a 7 3/4-pounder. He found it after he'd searched for a big bed-fish in the same vicinity that Casey Ashley had told him about.

"It was a fun day. I just wanted to catch five decent ones and then go sight-fishing, and that's what I did."

3rd: Jones' Sight-Bite Blown Away

> Day 4: 5, 13-02 (20, 73-12)

The west side of Lake George, where Jones had caught his big bags on each of the first 2 days, was pummeled by the easterly wind. It forced him to switch from sight-fishing to swimming a ribbon-tail worm.

"Sight-fishing wasn't an option for me today," he said. "Edwin and those guys had canals that were protected, but it was impossible out on those exposed flats. I don't know how hard it actually blew, but it was well over 25 (mph) at times."

It took him about half the day to figure out the worm pattern, but he ended up catching about 15 keepers. They weren't the right gender, though.

"It wasn't a good way to catch females. Just about everything I caught was males and fry-guarders.

"I finished where the Lord wanted me to finish and I'm not going to second-guess Him. I'm grateful for every fish He provided for me."

B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina
Photo: B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina

Alton Jones couldn't nail down a wire-to-wire win, but he leads the Angler of the Year race after two events.

As a sort of consolation prize, he heads back to Texas with the lead in the Angler-of-the-Year (AOY) race and has a hefty 18-point advantage after a pair of single-digit finishes in Florida and 3 days worth of leader status in this event. To see the new standings, click here.

4th: Faircloth Short on Quality

> Day 4: 5, 14-12 (20, 68-13)

Faircloth was satisfied with his finish and his Top-10 standing in the AOY race.

"It was a good tournament," he said. "I really felt I had a shot at winning today and I got off to a real good start this morning. I ended up catching a lot of fish after that, but I was never able to upgrade much.

"The second day just killed me. You can't catch (10-05) and expect to win against this caliber of guys."

He stuck it out in George despite the wind, but didn't even attempt to sight-fish.

"I caught every one just fishing today. My bank stayed good all day, but it was just kind of hard to catch the bigger ones."

5th: Kennedy Finally Caught On

> Day 4: 5, 16-12 (20, 65-01)

Kennedy expected to have a good tournament, but things weren't looking too rosy when he was in 39th place after day 2.

"I thought I'd do pretty well with the way practice went," he said. "I found all kinds of fish on beds, but it was pretty obvious everybody else did, too. I was surprised that I couldn't catch a big one on the first 2 days."

Today's bag was topped by a 7-pounder that he caught by waking a swimbait.

"I couldn't see them very good today it was much harder. I missed a couple on the swimbait and I saw one that was 5-plus and I played with her a while, but I never got her to go.

"I wouldn't say it was my greatest day, but it was a lot better than my (8-13) day."

Notable

> Day 4 stats 12 anglers, 10 limits, 1 three, 1 two.

> VanDam moved backward (9th place to 11th) on a Sunday, which is a rare occurrence. "It was a tough day and I knew I should've gone to (Lake Rodman)," he said on stage. "With the wind out of the east, it really muddied up the outside edge (on George). I scrambled around and threw frogs and stuff in the grass, but they just wouldn't eat it. I knew I had to have a big stringer to have a shot and it just didn't work out."

> McCaghren (12th) told the weigh-in crowd that he caught the largest bass of his life on the first day of practice a 13-plus.

Day 4 (Final) Standings

1. Edwin Evers -- Talala, Okla. -- 20, 77-01 -- 305 -- $101,000
Day 1: 5, 16-08 -- Day 2: 5, 22-05 -- Day 3: 5, 19-04 -- Day 4: 5, 19-00

2. Terry Scroggins -- San Mateo, Fla. -- 20, 74-03 -- 295 -- $25,000
Day 1: 5, 17-03 -- Day 2: 5, 22-13 -- Day 3: 5, 13-15 -- Day 4: 5, 20-04

3. Alton Jones -- Waco, Texas -- 20, 73-12 -- 305 -- $21,000
Day 1: 5, 26-09 -- Day 2: 5, 22-13 -- Day 3: 5, 11-04 -- Day 4: 5, 13-02

4. Todd Faircloth -- Jasper, Texas -- 20, 68-13 -- 285 -- $15,000
Day 1: 5, 23-10 -- Day 2: 5, 10-05 -- Day 3: 5, 20-02 -- Day 4: 5, 14-12

5. Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, Ala. -- 20, 65-01 -- 280 -- $14,000
Day 1: 5, 13-08 -- Day 2: 5, 8-13 -- Day 3: 5, 26-00 -- Day 4: 5, 16-12

6. J Todd Tucker -- Moultrie, Ga. -- 20, 61-08 -- 276 -- $13,500
Day 1: 5, 20-08 -- Day 2: 5, 21-05 -- Day 3: 5, 12-00 -- Day 4: 5, 7-11

7. Kelly Jordon -- Palestine, Texas -- 18, 58-14 -- 272 -- $13,000
Day 1: 5, 15-10 -- Day 2: 5, 16-01 -- Day 3: 5, 15-14 -- Day 4: 3, 11-05

8. Dustin Wilks -- Rocky Mount, N.C. -- 20, 58-12 -- 268 -- $12,500
Day 1: 5, 18-07 -- Day 2: 5, 9-05 -- Day 3: 5, 21-07 -- Day 4: 5, 9-09

9. Keith Combs -- Huntington, Texas -- 20, 57-13 -- 264 -- $12,000
Day 1: 5, 19-08 -- Day 2: 5, 14-09 -- Day 3: 5, 12-12 -- Day 4: 5, 11-00

10. Casey Ashley -- Donalds, S.C. -- 20, 57-12 -- 260 -- $11,500
Day 1: 5, 20-09 -- Day 2: 5, 12-03 -- Day 3: 5, 11-06 -- Day 4: 5, 13-10

11. Kevin VanDam -- Kalamazoo, Mich. -- 20, 52-14 -- 257 -- $11,000
Day 1: 5, 17-03 -- Day 2: 5, 17-13 -- Day 3: 5, 12-02 -- Day 4: 5, 5-12

12. Billy McCaghren -- Mayflower, Ark. -- 17, 47-04 -- 254 -- $10,500
Day 1: 5, 20-11 -- Day 2: 5, 15-11 -- Day 3: 5, 7-14 -- Day 4: 2, 3-00