Evers Recommends Slowing Down and Swinging Big at Conroe

Published on 02-21-2024

 By Pete Robbins 
The question every time that the Big Bass Tour visits Lake Conroe in February or March is not whether big fish will show up, but rather how big and how many. It’s one of the few fisheries that can succeed our typical season-opener in Florida without paling in comparison. If anything, it just keeps the momentum rolling. 
That’s evidenced by the numbers. There’s been at least one double digit bass weighed in at every early season Conroe BBT. Some years, the giants show up in droves, like in 20018, when there were three over 11 pounds, three over 10, and another nine that pushed the scales past 9 pounds. You might think that 2021, which produced only a single double digit, would be a disappointment by comparison, but that may have been one of the greatest events in BBT history, as Scott Stephens caught a record-setting 14.25 pound giant to claim top prize and historical bragging rights. 
Typically, the only question is whether you stand a chance to win top honors with a fish under 11 pounds, and what kind of weight it’ll take to claim an hourly check. Veteran Bass Pro Tour competitor Edwin Evers has spent a bunch of time on the big impoundment north of Houston, and he’d assess the weather before committing to a pattern or a section of the lake, but beyond that he’d keep it relatively simple. 
“They’ve gotten a ton of rain lately,” he said. “So I would suggest a few different ways to attack that scenarios. On the upper end, those fish will be coming up to spawn, but it should be pretty muddy, so I’d throw either a half-once chartreuse and white Berkley Slobberknocker or slow roll a ½ ounce Berkley Power Blade spinnerbait. The goal this time of year is to catch giants, and both of those lures allow you to cover a lot of water and generate a great big bite.” 
The beauty of Conroe is that there are a lot of big fish in every section of the lake. Accordingly, anglers who find the upper end intimidating or who merely prefer staying closer to the dam have an equal shot of winning the whole deal. “I’d focus on staging areas in 5 to 9 feet of water,” Evers said. “Secondary points coming in and going out of spawning areas are the key.” He’d look for brush on those points as natural stopping spots, but because anglers on Conroe are so sophisticated, and the fish receive ample educated pressure, he said that “the smaller and more isolated the brush pile the better. Everybody fishes the big ones, so find something off to the side, maybe a little PVC pile.” 
Once he’s on the juice, he’d likely use a ½ ounce football jig (green pumpkin/orange) paired with a Berkley Powerbait Crash Craw – again, green pumpkin with the pincers dyed orange. 
“That’s a big fish bait,” he said. “The key is to work it slow.” 
For anglers who want to cover a little bit more water, or to fish in between the isolated brush, he’d recommend a Berkley Dime 6 or 10 crankbait in chartreuse with a blue back. 
“It’s very subtle coming through the water,” he said. “It’ s a quiet bait that deflects really well. I’d throw it on 10 pound test because you’ll be fishing around a lot of pressure.” 
Despite all of that pressure, he’d fish with a positive mindset. 
“Don’t get discouraged,” he explained. “Those fish are moving all the time. Just because someone fished right in front of you doesn’t mean they caught what lives there.” 
As a final “wild card” technique, he’d have an 8-inch Berkley CullShad on the deck – either in Sight Flash or in Hitch -- and he’d make long casts and slow roll it down the side of docks. Some fish spawn on the docks in the very backs of coves, where there’s flatter, harder bottom, but he’d also examine the docks on secondary points, particularly if they’re standing all by themselves. 
“I almost won the Classic on those types of places the last time we were there,” he said. 
As in all BBT events, strategy is key. There’s no use “wasting” a giant fish during an hour when it won’t compete to be top dog. Pay attention to the live leaderboard and keep focused on the monsters that live there.