WETUMPKA, Ala. -- The conversation at a Butcher/Evers family dinner is sure to include fishing, especially lately.
Both Terry Butcher and Edwin Evers, who married Butcher's sister, live on family cattle property alongside each other in Talala, Okla. Each qualified and are fishing this week in the Toyota Trucks Championship Week.
Their families break bread at least once a week, but the quiet Evers just smiled when asked if dinner table debates ever include who's the best angler.
Both can make claims, finishing second and fifth in the AOY standings. One the eve of the Ramada Trophy Chase, Evers stands in second behind Skeet Reese and said he hopes he has found the fish in practice to make up his 15-point deficit in the two events and win the coveted crown.
"It's just a lifelong goal," Evers said of winning AOY. "I worked so hard for it all year long. You don't get the chance very often."
At 216 points, Reese is 32 points ahead of Butcher, who figures he would take the lead if he won the chase, Evers was fourth and Reese 10th. Each of the 12 anglers has done their math.
"Skeet doesn't have it by no means," Butcher said. "Edwin does have a little better chance than most of us. If he finishes in top three, nobody else can knock him down."
Butcher isn't counting himself out either.
"It's the best year I ever had. I didn't lose any fish all year" until Fort Gibson, he said, adding his sights are set high. "Top off the season with a couple of really good finishes and an AOY, that'd be sweet. That'd be a dream come true."
The fishing has been tough on Lake Jordan, with temperatures nearing 100 and the humidity set on steam -- Butcher said if anyone starts complaining they can come to his farm and help him bale hay, which is what he was doing before prepping tackle for Alabama.
Also, the lake is lower, fish are feeding mostly at night and no water is expecting to be generated to activate the fish. But both anglers think fish will be caught.
"You've got 12 good fishermen here," Butcher said. "You can bring in 14 pounds and feel good about it and finish 12th. Realistically, 14 pounds a day and you're probably going to win it."
Everyone realizes it's a two-day shootout, so there will be no holding back.
"You don't need as many fish; you just put the hammer down on them," Evers said. "There's no sense in saving fish."
Evers has been bringing in fish, too. He spent the midday hours working a point and running around scanning for fish on his electronics.
"I've caught some fish," Evers said. "I just caught a 4-pounder a minute ago. It all just depends if I can get them to bite tomorrow."
The anglers launch at 6:45 a.m. ET on Lake Jordan, and Bassmaster.com will be on the water sending in reports in the form of a Live Blog, videos and photos.
Evers and Butcher would love nothing more than to garner much of that attention. Their quest began once they qualified. Both visited Lake Jordan before the cutoff and ran around it to familiarize themselves
"In a day and a half, I probably fished 30 minutes," Butcher said. "At least when you get here, you can start on something. The map doesn't show weeds and grass mats. That kind of stuff you can look for.
"I found enough yesterday to keep my hopes up. I've got to fine tune it some. I'm not dialed in on just doing that. I'm still in full practice mode."
Evers' visit was similar. He'd been the lake before but wanted to see what had changed and look for more structure. He said he was fairly pleased with his practice, and was out continuing his search for the bigger bite.
"I spent a lot of time just idling and looking for secret stuff," he said. "I think it's going to be a deal where somebody's got to get a 3 1/2, 4-pound bite each day to get you over that hump of 12, 13 pounds.
"You never have enough spots. I'm trying to figure a way to catch a big one. Let's see what happens. I'm pretty exciting about the tournament."