When you’re hot, you’re hot. And right now, perhaps no bass angler on planet earth is as hot as Brookeland, Texas pro Dakota Ebare. Ebare boated a five-bass limit Thursday weighing 16 pounds, 7 ounces – enough to win his second major event of the year at the MLF Tackle Warehouse Invitational Toyota Stop 2 at Clarks Hill Lake Presented by Lowrance . Ebare’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 58 pounds, 10 ounces, earned him the win by a 10-ounce margin over hard-charging pro Travis Harriman of Huntsville, Arkansas, who weighed in the largest limit of the tournament Thursday – 23 pounds, 14 ounces – to give Ebare quite the scare. Ebare earned $115,000 for his victory, and will now receive an automatic invitation into REDCREST 2024 next year, the Bass Pro Tour championship.
“Man, what a relief. I’ve been so stressed the last hour since I checked in,” Ebare said. “I wasn’t really nervous until about 2:50, before we started the weigh-in. I knew my time was up, and I just prayed it was enough. If it was meant to be, it was going to happen. And it did!”
Ebare was all over the lake throughout the week, catching fish both shallow and deep. He said the key depth seemed to be in the 12 to 15-foot mid-range, as lots of fish are roaming just waiting to move to the bank for the spawn.
“The key bait for me this week was a 3/16-ounce Strike King shakey-head,” Ebare said. “I don’t know why there were biting the shaky-head for me – my roommate Kyle (Hall) couldn’t get a bite on it at all, but I caught a lot of fish on it this week. I also caught quite a few on a vibrating jig, and a couple of key fish each day on the Strike King Rage Bug. But the shaky-head was definitely the major player for me, and I just kept throwing what was working.”
Ebare has been on an absolute tear the last 12 months, accumulating eight top-10 finishes in 2022 – including three second place finishes – but the tournament win always seemed to elude him, no matter how hard he tried.
Until this season.
Now, just two months into the new year, Ebare has already banked two tournament wins and added more than $205,000 to his bank account. The Texas pro credits his grueling travel schedule competing on the Bass Pro Tour, the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals and the Toyota Series as being one of the keys to his success.
“Man, I was so close so many times, I did feel like it was inevitable and that I’d eventually get it done, but to be able to do it twice this year, already, just a month into the season, is truly a blessing,” Ebare said. “That’s all I can really say – it’s been great. This is my fifth week in a row on the road with tournaments. REDCREST next week will be six, and I think I’ve got nine weeks in a row that I’ll be fishing. So, I am just in the groove right now and rolling.
“Fishing this much is absolutely helping,” Ebare continued. “That’s really the way I’ve structured the last five years of my career since I started fishing on tour. A tournament every week. Go, go, go. You just get conditioned to fishing new lakes. And when you go to a new tournament, a new lake every week, its different. That’s what has allowed me to move around so freely on this lake and be successful this week, just fishing the moment.
“When you leave Lake Toho in Florida, then come straight to Clarks Hill Lake in Georgia, you can’t get any two lakes that are farther apart in regard to what it’s like on the water. You have to have an open mind and just go fishing, you can’t get too dialed in. Right now, I’m just flowing. And it feels great.”
The top 20 pros at the Toyota Stop 2 at Clarks Hill Lake Presented by Lowrance finished:
1st: Dakota Ebare, Brookeland, Texas, 15 bass, 58-10, $115,000
2nd: Travis Harriman, Huntsville, Ark., 15 bass, 58-0, $50,000
3rd: Spencer Shuffield, Hot Springs, Ark., 15 bass, 53-15, $20,000
4th: Ron Nelson, Berrien Springs, Mich., 15 bass, 52-13, $18,000
5th: Sean Anderson, Leesville, S.C., 15 bass, 50-0, $17,000
6th: Tristan McCormick, Burns, Tenn., 15 bass, 48-8, $16,000
7th: Matt Becker, Ten Mile, Tenn., 15 bass, 48-8, $15,000
8th: Connor Cunningham, Springfield, Mo., 15 bass, 48-4, $14,000
9th: Cal Lane, Guntersville, Ala., 15 bass, 48-1, $13,000
10th: Tom Redington, Royse City, Texas, 15 bass, 48-1, $12,000
11th: Spike Stoker, Cisco, Texas, 15 bass, 48-0, $10,000
12th: Jack Daniel Williams, Kingsport, Tenn., 15 bass, 47-13, $10,000
13th: Christian Greico, Tampa, Fla., 15 bass, 47-9, $10,000
14th: John Cox, DeBary, Fla., 15 bass, 47-6, $10,000
15th: Martin Villa, Charlottesville, Va., 15 bass, 47-4, $10,000
16th: Jordan Hirt, Glenwood, Iowa, 15 bass, 46-2, $10,000
17th: Keith Carson, DeBary, Fla., 15 bass, 45-7, $10,000
18th: Grae Buck, Green Lane, Pa., 15 bass, 45-0, $10,000
19th: Drew Boggs, Lebanon, Tenn., 15 bass, 44-7, $10,000
20th: Matthew Stefan, Junction City, Wis., 15 bass, 44-5, $10,000
Complete results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.