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Mississippi Miles….Recap of BFL All-American angler Gary Edwards
By: Glenn Walker


I had the opportunity to chat with recent All-American angler Gary Edwards who hails from Milton, Kentucky.  Edwards finished the 2009 BFL All-American in 9th place with a three day catch of seven fish for 15 lb. 11 oz.  Gary, who is a retired aluminum fabrication operations manager, now focuses his time on fishing and running a small construction company.

Edwards qualified for this All-American through the Wildcard event and has had a lot of success in this event.  Of the four times he has fished this event he has finished 6th, 10th and 11th

Gary prepared for the All-American by spending nine days pre-fishing pools 13, 14, 15 and 17 of the Mississippi River.  Gary would like to thank Gordon Coon, owner of RC Tackle for giving him a map and some ideas of where to start his search on the Mighty Miss!  The friendships that Gary developed with Gordon, Keith Cripp and Bob Willis in Bettendorf is ones that “I will never forget and was the coolest thing about fishing the All-American” said Gary.

Following his nine days of practice what were your thoughts heading into the event?  “I found the bass to be post-spawn and positioning themselves in backwater sloughs, that was close to deep water.”  By the time I returned to the Quad Cities after the off-limits period the water had dropped, so I had to relocate these fish.  It didn’t take me long to find them set up on main river wood and rock.” 

Heading into the first day of the tournament Gary had one key stretch of bank on pool 14 that he would get three hours to fish, because of the lock times that he had to make each day.  Edwards did say he had some secondary areas, but didn’t have as much time to fish those as he would have liked.  These bass were sitting in 1 to 3 feet of water and activity was greatly dependent on the current.

The first day of the tournament Edwards and his co-angler were the only boat to bring in two limits of bass.  The fishing on day one was the best Gary said, “The flow was just perfect that day and the following two days the flow just wasn’t the same.”

Before making his venture to Bettendorf, Gary had never fished a swimming jig.  Talking with Gordon and other BFL competitors Gary figured he better give this lure a try.  Over the course of the past few weeks, “I have caught over 400 fish and bought over four dozen RC Tackle swimming jigs.  I am a firm believer in these jigs and can’t wait to use them on my home water (Ohio River).”

Besides relying on the ¼ oz. black and blue RC Tackle swimming jig with a sapphire blue grub, Gary used an RC Tackle black neon tube that was rigged on a 4/0 wide gap hook and since he was fishing in current he had a 3/8 oz. weight on it.  A chartreuse crankbait rounded out the trio of lures that Edwards used to put together his ninth place finish.  Edwards who classifies himself as a power fisherman felt very comfortable fishing this way.

Another rewarding experience Gary had was that his day one co-angler had never fished a tube before, so Gary gave him some of the RC black neon tubes he was using, showed him how to rig it and fish it.  This co-angler went on to win All-American on the RC Tackle tube and Gary couldn’t be more pleased.  “It feels good to have had the winning co-angler and fourth place co-angler in the back of my boat!”

The one thing that Gary said he would do differently is to pre-fish at least a day or two on pool 16.  “This way I could’ve stayed there on the final day and be able to catch a limit and help move me up in the standings.  But I knew if I wanted to win, I would have to go back up to 14.”

Having to deal with the hype and excitement of having camera boats around him was another thing that Gary said had a minor effect on his finish.  “I did lose a few fish, because of the nerves and cameras being in my way, but it is all part of the experience.”

For 2009, Gary will again be fishing the BFL LBL division, along with the Stren Central division.  His goal again is to qualify for the 2010 All-American through the Wildcard event.  I asked Gary if has thought about turning pro?  “I would love to and feel I have the drive and knowledge to, but with the costs that come with fishing the FLW tour, I just can’t do it.”

Gary would like to thank FLW and their sponsors, Ranger boats, Yamaha and Evinrude motors and most of all the Quad Cities community.  “I have fished all across the United States and the people in the Quad Cities were absolutely amazing and thank them so much for their support!”  Gary also thanks his wife and son for coming out to the event and being out there on the water.