As we all know, Edwin Evers did not win the 2013 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. But ask any pro or diehard Bassmaster Elite Series fan, and they'll tell you it'll happen. Just a matter of time.
That's no small statement – think about who he's fishing against, and what AOY represents: It's the hardest title to win in pro fishing, bar none.
The reason people say that about Edwin isn't just because he's been doing well in the Elites. It's because he's improved as a fisherman, and he continues to improve. Every event, every day.
Mark Zona, whose job is to closely observe the Elite anglers, says it's because Edwin is focused and works hard.
"I think a lot of anglers, when they get to Edwin's level, they think, 'I've got it now,' and put it on autopilot," Zona said. "But he's constantly learning. When you apply that to the knowledge he's stockpiled of our lakes, it's an immovable force."
About that "our lakes" comment: "He now has gotten a look basically at everywhere [the Elites] fish," Zona said. "To me he's now reaping the benefits of being the veteran – knowing and understanding the lakes, stockpiling knowledge, and knowing what to do with that knowledge.
"A lot of anglers go through that same cycle and don't know how to use that, but he does."
Fellow Elite pro Scott Ashmore, who knows Edwin well, agrees. "Clearly his knowledge has grown from being able to visit a lot of these places, and even some we haven't visited that fish a lot the same."
In fact, Edwin credits that familiarity with his win at the Alabama River Charge in 2013.
"Going into that event, I knew that when Kenyon [Hill] won there [in 2003], it was similar [to this year] with all that current. I knew you could catch them up where I caught them with all that current. So I had an idea that I needed to spend some time up there [in practice]."
In other words, "having some experience form previous events really helps me," he said.
Finding fish is important, but then there's the all-important "V word" in the Elite Series: versatility. That term is thrown around a lot and, let's face it, all Elite anglers can fish however they need to. But if "versatility" really means 100 percent strong at every fishing technique, Edwin is one of a small group that truly deserves that label.
Ashmore said it like this: "He's not just versatile – he's really good at all of it."
Zona: "He's brutal at everything."
Edwin said, "Everybody asks me, 'What are you doing different? How are you catching fish?' I have confidence in what I'm doing, and if it's not working I have confidence in the next thing that'll work.
"So I guess it's a combination of confidence and being good at different techniques."
Last but not least, there's the all-important mental game, a huge separator at the Elite level. Obviously Edwin is strong there as well.
During tournaments, he reminds Zona of "guys like Peyton Manning or Adrian Peterson, where nothing else is going on in their world – except [for Edwin] how to catch them in a tournament. He brings that to his work ethic, so he'll out-grind, outwork and out-think you."
Ashmore added: "He's able to find those key spot-on-a-spot deals that work."
All of the above is important and great, but Edwin doesn't credit his improvement as a fisherman to any of that. "I'd say it's more faith-based than anything," he said. "I have confidence in my faith, confidence in my decisions – it's all part of a bigger plan.
"I really don't control the end of anything. I just work as hard as I possibly can and God will take care of it all."