A good sense of feel is critical to a bass angler, especially one in search of the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award. So when a strange accident put Edwin Evers' sense of touch in jeopardy before the Bassmaster Elite Series Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at the St. Lawrence River, you can bet he was "feeling" it.
"I was putting a new battery in my boat," he said Wednesday, at the pre-tournament anglers' meeting. "I had a ratchet in my hand, and it touched the positive and negative posts. My ring was touching the ratchet. It busted a piece out of that titanium ring. It was on fire. You can see my finger where it burned all the way around it."
The burn was so painful that Evers had to take his wedding ring off, and he wasn't able to put it back on again until Saturday, Day 3 of the tournament. By that time he had finished in 25th place (in fact, he was in 25th at the end of each competition day, posting remarkably steady limits weighing 18-7, 18-10 and 18-0).
"I had the opportunity to have some better bags than I did," Evers said Saturday. "With that said, I feel fortunate to get out of here where I finished."
He leaves the St. Lawrence with a 30-point lead in the AOY race over 2005 AOY Aaron Martens and is 39 points better than seven-time champ Kevin VanDam.
"It's all in my hands. If I go in and have a Top 12 finish (at Lake St. Clair), I'm Angler of the Year."
Speaking of hands, with his wedding band back in place, Evers could demonstrate the force of the electricity that turned his ring into glowing hot metal earlier in the week. On one outside surface, there was a small, uniform indention, as if a fine-tipped soldering iron had been touched to it. On the opposite outside surface of the ring, a chunk of metal was gone, leaving a jig-sawed gap.
"It was electricity that caused that," Evers said of the missing chunk. "It didn't hit anything. The electricity came out there.
"Can you imagine how hot that got, and what it did to my finger? I got it off in a hurry. That sucker was red hot."
But not as hot as Evers has been in 2013.