Oklahoma Pro Edwin Evers Paces Top 20 Anglers That Advance to Weekend at Major League Fishing’s REDCREST 2023 Presented by Shore Lunch on Lake Norman

Carolina Pros Casey Ashley (2nd), Andy Montgomery (17th), Bryan Thrift (19th) and Anthony Gagliardi (20th) all Advance in Top 20 – Weights Now Zeroed for Three-Day Weekend Shootout

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 9, 2023) – Pro Edwin Evers of Talala, Oklahoma, caught a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 29 pounds, 15 ounces, to pace the Qualifying Round field and advance to the weekend at the Major League Fishing (MLF) REDCREST 2023 presented by Shore Lunch, the Bass Pro Tour championship. Also advancing with Evers was pro Casey Ashley of Donalds, South Carolina, who weighed in 10 bass for 28-8 to end the round in second place, and California’s Brent Ehrler, who boated 10 scorable bass for 27-3, good for third.

Carolina pros Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, South Carolina (18th), Bryan Thrift of Shelby, North Carolina (19th), and Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, South Carolina (11th) also advanced inside the top 20 cut.

The 40-angler field is now trimmed to 20, and weights are zeroed as competition moves into the Championship Round. The top 20 anglers will compete Friday, the field is cut to 15 on Saturday and then the final 10 anglers compete on Championship Sunday. The five-day event, hosted by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, Visit Lake Norman and the Mecklenburg County Park & Recreation Department, features anglers competing to become pro bass fishing’s newest world champion, and a top cash prize of $300,000.

“For these first two days, I’ve pretty much just put the trolling motor down and fished everything in front of me,” said Evers, who won the inaugural REDCREST Championship event in 2019. “This lake is one of those lakes where you try to duplicate your patterns, and I’ve spent a lot of time really just narrowing down where the bites are coming from. It’s been pretty random – from the back of a pocket to a point, and everything in between – but the more days on the water, the more pieces to the puzzle I get.

“Today it got a little bit clearer, where the better fish were,” Evers said. “I’ll know more tomorrow when I really start running that water again, but I’m not really sure how the spotted bass are going to react to the cloudy conditions (being forecast), so that’s going to be kind of interesting to see what happens.”

Evers caught nine bass Thursday – all spotted bass – with his largest going for 3½ pounds. Fans watching live on the MLF NOW! livestream watched Evers catch some on a big glide bait, some on a boot-tail swimbait and some on a topwater wake bait.

“I’ve been getting it narrowed down as the tournament goes on,” Evers said. “I’ll have three or four baits tied on  tomorrow to do what I need to do.”

When asked about his history on Lake Norman, Evers spoke highly of the fishery.

“I love this lake,” Evers said. “I’ve got some history here – I’ve won two major events on this lake. I relate to it really well, and it fits with how I grew up fishing. Lake Norman is just a fun lake to fish.”

Evers went on to predict what the winning weight on Sunday will be.

“The lake is fishing good – it’s going to take every bit of 45 pounds over the next three days,” the Oklahoma pro went on to say. “I think a 15-pound-a-day average is going to do it. And I’m excited to get back out there.”

The top 20 pros that made the cut and will advance in competition on Lake Norman:

1st:          Edwin Evers, Talala, Okla., 10 bass, 29-15
2nd:         Casey Ashley, Donalds, S.C., 10 bass, 28-8
3rd:         Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 10 bass, 27-3
4th:         Dustin Connell, Clanton, Ala., 10 bass, 27-3
5th:         Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 10 bass, 26-12
6th:         Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., 10 bass, 26-9
7th:         Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., 10 bass, 26-7
8th:         Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 10 bass, 25-15
9th:         Ott DeFoe, Blaine, Tenn., 10 bass, 25-15
10th:       Randy Howell, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 25-12
11th:       Zack Birge, Blanchard, Okla., 10 bass, 25-12
12th:       Cody Meyer, Star, Idaho, 10 bass, 25-11
13th:       Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 25-10
14th:       Alton Jones, Jr., Waco, Texas, 10 bass, 25-9
15th:       Matt Lee, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 25-9
16th:       Fletcher Shryock, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 25-6
17th:       Andy Montgomery, Blacksburg, S.C., 10 bass, 25-6
18th:       Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 10 bass, 25-6
19th:       Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 10 bass, 25-3
20th:       Anthony Gagliardi, Prosperity, S.C., 10 bass, 24-5

Finishing in 21st through 40th are:

21st:       Greg Vinson, Wetumpka, Ala., 10 bass, 24-2, $5,000
22nd:      Shinichi Fukae, Osaka, Japan, 10 bass, 23-15, $5,000
23rd:      James Elam, Tulsa, Okla., 10 bass, 23-10, $5,000
24th:       Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 23-2, $5,000
25th:       Justin Lucas, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 22-14, $5,000
26th:       Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 10 bass, 22-3, $5,000
27th:       Mark Davis, Mount Ida, Ark., nine bass, 22-1, $5,000
28th:       Jared Lintner, Covington, Ga., 10 bass, 22-0, $5,000
29th:       Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 10 bass, 21-10, $5,000
30th:       Mark Daniels, Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 10 bass, 21-7, $5,000
31st:       Kevin VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., 10 bass, 21-7, $5,000
32nd:      Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 21-3, $5,000
33rd:      Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., 10 bass, 20-12, $5,000
34th:       Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 10 bass, 19-12, $5,000
35th:       Chris Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 10 bass, 18-9, $5,000
36th:       Randall Tharp, Port Saint Joe, Fla., eight bass, 18-4, $5,000
37th:       Alton Jones, Lorena, Texas, six bass, 15-12, $5,000
38th:       David Walker, Sevierville, Tenn., seven bass, 14-8, $5,000
39th:       Todd Faircloth, Jasper, Texas, eight bass, 14-2, $5,000
40th:       Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., eight bass, 13-10, $5,000

A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

Overall, there were 336 scorable bass weighing 698 pounds, 10 ounces caught by the 40 pros Thursday.

Pro Casey Ashley of Donalds, South Carolina, won Thursday’s $1,000 Berkley Big Bass Award, weighing in a 4-pound, 9-ounce largemouth during Period 3. Berkley awards $1,000 to the angler that weighs the biggest bass each day, and a $1,000 bonus to the angler who weighs the largest bass of the tournament.

All 40 Anglers competed on Days 1 (Wednesday) and 2 (Thursday) of the event. Now, after two days of competition, the field is cut to just the top 20 based on two-day total (10 bass) cumulative weight. Weights are zeroed, and the top 20 anglers compete on Day 3 (Friday). The field is trimmed to 15 anglers on Day 4 (Saturday), then the final 10 anglers compete on Day 5 (Sunday). The winner is determined by the heaviest three-day total (15 bass) cumulative weight with the winner earning the top prize of $300,000 and the REDCREST 2023 trophy.

The General Tire Take Off Ceremony Presented by X2 Power will begin at 6:15 a.m., Friday and Saturday, and 7:15 a.m. on Championship Sunday, at Blythe Landing Park, located at 15901 N.C. 73 HY, in Huntersville, North Carolina. Anglers will depart at 7 a.m. on Days 1-4, and 8 a.m. on Day 5, and return after competition ends at 4 p.m. on Days 1-4 and 5 p.m. on Day 5. Fans are welcome to attend all launch events and also encouraged to follow the event online throughout the day on the MLF NOW!® live stream and SCORETRACKER® coverage at MajorLeagueFishing.com.

In conjunction with the event, the FREE, family-friendly General Tire Outdoor Sports Expo Presented by Shore Lunch will also take place throughout the weekend, March 10-12 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day at The Park Expo and Conference Center, located at 800 Briar Creek Road, in Charlotte. Fishing and outdoor enthusiasts will have the opportunity to visit numerous booths and vendors, showcasing the latest and greatest in fishing, boating and the outdoors. The biggest names in the outdoor industry will be on hand, including the professional anglers that compete on the Bass Pro Tour and fishing legends like Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin and Hank Parker.

Throughout the day there will be giveaways and prizes, including signed MLF angler jerseys, rods and reels, gift cards, and more. On Friday evening one lucky fan will win a Toro 42-inch TimeCutter Zero Turn Mower, on Saturday night one lucky attendee will win a Tracker Off Road 300 ATV, and on Sunday one lucky attendee will walk away with a brand new 2023 Toyota Tundra SR5 Crew Max. Fans must be present to win the Grand Prize drawings. For more information on the General Tire Outdoor Sports Expo Presented by Shore Lunch, visit REDCRESTExpo.com.

The 2022 Bass Pro Tour featured a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country. The top 40 anglers in the Angler of the Year (AOY) standings after the seven events qualified to compete in REDCREST 2023 Presented by Shore Lunch.

The MLF NOW!® broadcast team of Chad McKee, Marty Stone and J.T. Kenney will break down the extended action from 7:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the first four days of competition, and from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Championship Sunday. MLF NOW!®  will be live streamed on MajorLeagueFishing.com and the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) app.

Television coverage of REDCREST 2023 Presented by Shore Lunch will be showcased across two, two-hour episodes, premiering at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, July 1 and July 8 on Discovery Channel. Starting in July 2023, MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery Channel, with re-airings on Outdoor Channel.

Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, Ark Fishing, ATG + Wrangler, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, Daiwa, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Ferguson, Fox Rent A Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Humminbird, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Power-Pole, Rapala, Star tron, T-H Marine, Toro, Toyota, U.S. Air Force, Yellowstone Bourbon, Yo-Zuri and Zoom Baits.

For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and  YouTube.