It’s been almost six weeks since the last Bassmaster Elite Series event but it feels like much longer.
Tommy Biffle may still be basking in the shine of his Mississippi River trophy, but for the rest of us, fans and anglers alike, it seems like ancient history.
I know it may be blasphemy to say it, but to my way of thinking there’s no better tournament for a fan than a regular season Elite Series tournament. Sure, the Classic is awesome, filled with a lot of great storylines, but by the time the big dance occurs some qualifiers have had two birthdays since they punched their ticket. At the very least, they’ve known for a few months. That gives those of us in the media machine a chance to hype it up to the best of our abilities … sometimes to the point that the tournament itself seems like an afterthought – gone by in the blink of an eye.
During the course of the Elite Series season, on the other hand, the tournaments come at you fast and furious. If you’re a competitor, it’s one big game of Whack-A-Mole – you’re trying to win, but also to some extent just treading water. The best events for me are probably the worst experiences for the competitors themselves; I like the back-to-back tournaments, particularly the ones with a long drive in between. When an angler makes the cut to Sunday, then drives all night to get to the next body of water in time for practice, then makes another Sunday cut, you know it’s typically because he’s fishing “clean” and instinctively. Taken together, two such events are a work of art. If he can string it out over a third week, he’s building something even bigger.
One person who has been building something big over the course of the first six Elite Series events is current Toyota Angler of the Year leader Edwin Evers. I don’t know Edwin very well, but I’ve observed his mannerisms over the years and with more interest as each tournament has passed in 2013. I’m sure he’s spent the time between events making appearances, catching up on family time and tending to his recently-purchased pecan orchard, but I’m willing to bet that the title is never far from his mind. Do you know the saying that the average American male doesn’t go more than 8 seconds without thinking of a certain something? With Edwin, unless his bloodstream is mostly ice water, that certain something is probably either his next Elite Series tournament or the crown he hopes to wear two tournaments down the road.