Edwin Evers on Targeting Smallmouth Bass Wolf Packs

By Lynn Burkhead - February 14, 2017

For two-time Jack Links Major League Fishing champion Edwin Evers, there's nothing quite like hunting down a big-ole bass.

Unless, that is, he's hunting down a wad of big-ole bass, the kind of scale-busters that can win him a championship event like the 2013 MLF Challenge Cup in Istokpoga, Fla. and the 2015 MLF Challenge Cup in Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana.

Or the 2016 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake in northeastern Oklahoma, for that matter.

But as impressive as those signature wins have been in the career of Double E, they all came on the backs of largemouth bass, the predominant fish in those particular fisheries.

In northern Minnesota at the 2017 MLF Summit Cup, smallmouth bass undoubtedly play a pivotal role in who wins, perhaps even the renowned wolf packs of bass that the North Country is known for.

What's a wolf pack? In short, it's a huge group - a bronzeback gang, if you will - that roams around terrorizing local baitfish populations.

"Lots of them," said Evers. "That's what a wolf pack is, where there is lots of them."

Evers conceded that largemouths will play a role here - he pointed to the weedy bays and such on his electronic mapping - and that a MLF pro will be able to choose what he wants to target in the epic waters surrounding Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

"You can go largemouth frog fishing or smallmouth drop shot fishing," he replied with his trademark grin, the one that he has flashed after his two MLF titles and his 10 B.A.S.S. victories.

That being said, Evers knows that meeting up with a few wolf packs would certainly be one way to make the SCORETRACKER LIVE! leaderboard sing. Especially since they tend to be loaded up with scores of smallmouths weighing in the one to three-pound category.

"Oh yeah, that could definitely happen here," said Evers, a runner-up for B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year honors three times to go along with his more than $2.9 million in career earnings.

"That's one thing about these fish up north, they hunt in wolf packs and there could be a group (here) that is huge."

How big a group are we talking?

"I've seen some groups of smallmouths up north that are in the thousands," said Evers. "I felt like there (were) thousands, at least. It may not be like that here, but you can expect to find groups of 50 to 100 and it would be a lot of fun to light that leaderboard up right off the bat (this morning) and get everybody (reeling) back."

For the MLF fan who might venture north to sample the prized smallmouth fishing in and around the Grand Rapids area, how would one actually go out and target such groups of marauding bronzeback bass?

"You can look at pinch points, you can look at humps, just something that would be able to harbor a lot of fish," said Evers. "You're not going to generally find that in back of a bay or the back of a pocket. It's going to be - more typically - main lake oriented. And they'll be feeding more on bait than crawfish, so it will tend to be a little deeper."

As noted above, wolf packs orient themselves to groups of baitfish, so keep that in mind when choosing a lure.

For schools of bass that aren't active at first, the standard jig, tube and/or drop-shot can work, particularly when they mimic the colors of local baitfish.

But when a big group of smallmouth bass gets fired up and catching them seems to happen on every other cast, be especially mindful of having some moving baits on your front deck like jerkbaits, medium to deep-diving crankbaits and even spinnerbaits.

In fact, the first and the last of those three lures came into play during Kevin VanDam's record setting smallmouth bass beat-down a few years ago as he won the 2014 MLF Summit Cup in Alpena, Michigan.

And don't forget topwater lures - especially walking baits - that can produce some viscous smallmouth surface strikes like those found that same week in Alpena by MLF champ Brent Ehrler.

The bottom line is that big groups of feeding smallmouths are a lot of fun to target, even more fun to find and an absolute blast to cast a lure towards.

Which might explain why Evers is so keen on finding a few big groups of blitzing bass this week. In fact, he notes that it might be an especially useful strategy for him as he arrives in northern Minnesota.

Why is that? Because Evers is a two-time MLF Challenge Cup champion - not to mention the current Classic champ as this event was contested - and everybody wants a piece of him as one of the best and hottest bass fishing pros on the planet.

"I'm just behind the eight ball everywhere I go," laughed Evers. "I haven't been able to spend the time on my equipment and my tackle (this summer), at least like I normally would.

"In fact, just prior to getting here, I was filming a commercial for Optima for a couple of days and I flew in here and I wasn't able to work on my tackle a bunch this week," he added.

"I've enjoyed every second of it, though. It's just that my preparation is a big part of my game and I feel like that's one thing I'm lacking in this year."

Maybe so, but that doesn't mean that Evers has suddenly found himself lacking in knowing how to catch bass.

And with any luck - and a big wolf pack or two of Minnesota smallmouths - he's eager to prove to the field and the fishing world that Double E is still the man to beat.

Adequate prep time or not.

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