Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., scored last Sunday, and he wasn’t even competing.
At the Sunday conclusion of the Diamond Drive in Little Rock, Ark., Evers officially moved from fourth into second place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race. He’s now 55 points behind the leader, and it’s a new leader: Kevin VanDam, who has positioned himself to close on his fourth consecutive title.
But Evers wasn’t on site in Arkansas to celebrate his two-place jump. After not making the final-day cut on Saturday, he had headed to Alabama’s Wheeler Lake so he’d be ready Monday for the first day of practice for the all-important June 16-19 Dixie Duel, where the title will be decided.
Coming off stage Saturday, when he knew he was out of it, he lamented the loss of a chance to earn more points on Sunday.
“I did all I could here, but I was disappointed,” said Evers, who ended with an 18th-place finish. “It was lack of execution on a few fish I didn’t get into the boat. You start noticing those fish when points are on the line.”
But he’d seen the preliminary points standings, and he knew he’d end up in second place. He said he was encouraged by his two-place move.
He didn’t get to fish on Sunday, but the day was not wasted. By not making the Diamond Drive final-day cut when VanDam did, Evers had an off day that he spent traveling to Alabama. So, on Sunday night, when VanDam still had that same 350-mile trip in front of him, Evers was relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep.
Monday evening after his first day of practice on Wheeler Lake, Evers said he was rested, had plenty of energy and felt very optimistic about overtaking VanDam.
“I think I can catch him,” Evers said. “If he falters a little bit, I’ve got a chance.”
Contingent on doing very well himself, Evers figured that if VanDam landed a Top-5 finish, he could sew up the title. But if VanDam gets only as far as 20th or even to 15th, it would not be enough.
Much depends on the fishability of the Tennessee River impoundment on the four days the Elite Series field will face it. Evers said the bite Monday was as slow as the current.
“Normally here, you catch the numbers, but I didn’t catch many today,” he said. “I think that has to do with the fact that there’s hardly any current at all. I don’t foresee that changing unless there’s a monsoon of rain between now and Thursday. We’ll all have to figure out how to catch them with the amount of current we have.”
As expected, a pattern that keys on vegetation isn’t going to happen.
“I haven’t found one sprig,” Evers said when asked if he’d seen any grass as he ran up and down the river Monday, eliminating water.
Another non-surprise: The Decatur Flats will be covered by competitors.
“The Flats houses as many bass as anywhere on the whole lake,” he said. “There are always numerous pros who figure out how to catch them there. I’m looking there — and trying to find stuff everyone else isn’t hitting.”