It’s been a summer of pain for Elite Series anglers. While on break, the injury bug has visited a handful in varying degrees.
Edwin Evers, Bobby Lane, Randy Howell, Yusuke Miyazaki, Jared Miller and Kelly Jordon suffered injuries or ailments, and it’s downright weird they came in such a cluster.
“It’s unbelievable,” Bobby Lane said as good friend Tony Chachere was helping him on the long drive from Lakeland, Fla., to Waddington, N.Y., for this week’s Elite event. “You gotta be careful, but you also never know when the next thing is going to happen. This year is like, ‘Wow!’”
Lane went on the DL with a severe cut on the bottom of his foot suffered July 4. Two weeks ago, Jordon broke his wrist. Miyazaki was recently released from a hospital in Japan. Last week, Howell threw out his back, Evers suffered a nasty wound to a finger, and Miller required an appendectomy.
Miller, who lives in Norman, Okla., had considered bowing out the remainder of the Elite season when his cousin and lifelong friend lost his battle with cancer. He recently said he would fish, but then called Tournament Director Trip Weldon on Saturday informing him he was in Joplin, Mo., about to undergo an appendectomy, forcing him to withdraw from Waddington.
Jordon told Bryan Brasher for this story that he didn’t have an exciting tale, he simply lost his balance doing yard work and fell in his driveway. He waited to visit a doctor, and then learned he needed surgery with internal hardware. He’s out for the remainder of the Elite schedule, this week on the St. Lawrence River (July 30-Aug. 2) then Chesapeake Bay (Aug. 13-16) and Lake St. Clair (Aug. 27-30).
Miyazaki will also miss at least the St. Lawrence event. He visited a doctor in Japan and was immediately admitted to a hospital to be treated for mycoplasma pneumonia and other systems, his wife, Naoko, reported.
Miyazaki was released after 10 days, but he was advised to stay in Japan to be monitored in case he develops another fever and to wait for numerous test results, including blood, CT scans, MRIs and endoscopy.
“The doctor wants to make sure that he doesn't have any hidden illness because he has been having a fever on and off several times since the beginning of this season,” Naoko wrote.
Howell’s back seized up during a fishing event, but a chiropractic visit eased it up. He’s still concerned about it with a hectic schedule the next two weeks, including two Elites and a Northern Open, he reported to Brasher.
Also, Chris Bowes will be stepping in as weighmaster this week for Weldon, who just became a first-time grandfather.
We’ll look below at the injuries to Lane and Evers, who plan to win on the St. Lawrence.
Two in the well
At ICAST, Chris Lane was asked about his brother. He showed an image of a nasty gash on the bottom of Bobby’s right foot, his trolling motor foot. The injury made him miss Chris’ Kids Camp, the fishing trade show and a golf event, among other things.
Bobby Lane was enjoying a combined celebration, the Fourth of July and his son’s eighth birthday, when disaster struck. “It was disgusting,” he said of the wound.
Lane and Bobby III had just gotten off the water slide and were heading to the dock.
“Someone moved a trash bag and weren’t paying attention,” he said. “The bottom of a glass bottom fell out and wedged between the dock and a tile. I’m glad I stepped on it and not him -- it could have taken off a couple of his toes.
“It wedged in my bone. The X-ray showed it went to my bone and the doctor removed it. She pulled out her cell phone and took a picture of it. She said, ‘I’ve never seen this before.’ I never felt that special before.”
Lane was given the piece of glass pulled from his foot and placed it in his trophy case. The 13 stitches were only removed last week before he tried to fish. He said it was painful to be on his feet even for the two hours.
“Mom said she was not surprised -- I was always our stitch guy,” Lane said, rattling off a litany of injuries to his heel, wrist, pinkie and nose. “I got six stitches between my eyes from a measuring board 6 or 7 years ago. The same day Mom got hit with a coot … in the head … split her head open. That’s a sign it’s not going to be a good day to fish.”
Lane said he’s still in limping mode but expects to go win at Waddington. He bought some comfortable shoes and had hopes the wound would heal more before Monday’s first practice.
“We’ll know more Monday,” he said. “Got my seat in case I need it. I’m fortunate it’s a river system, and there’s some drifting. Hopefully I’m not standing all day. I’m here to win, that’s what I’m after.”
Lane is currently 25th in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
On his Facebook page, Evers showed off a nasty looking wound to the end of middle finger on his left hand, but he said he would all right.
Evers and his wife, Tuesday, were mountain biking around Nevada’s Lake Tahoe on the famous Flume Trail, which is not for beginners.
“My wife is pretty adventurous,” Evers said. “It’s a 14-mile trial, the first four miles dead uphill. Then it’s single wide, like two or three feet wide, and you’re just riding the side of the cliff. It’s absolutely beautiful, but when you try to look up and see something … ”
Evers said he hit a rock, hit on the front brake and somersaulted over the handle bars. He had a helmet on but the end of his middle finger on his left hand took most of the impact anyway. It appeared to be a ragged crush wound.
“It wasn’t a cut. It was just the force of stopping so quick,” he said. “It’s fine. It doesn’t hurt.”
Getting the four stitches hurt worse, he said. He went to an urgent care and was numbed up, but the doctor came back a half hour later and it needed some more numbing.
“She put four stitches in it. That hurt worse than doing it,” he said. “Needle hurt pretty good.”
He promises he’ll be fine fishing, but said he’s glad he’ll be using a spinning rod a lot on the St. Lawrence, where he finished 25th in the 2013 Elite event. Evers is ninth in the AOY standings and hopes to do some climbing.
“They still better be picking me in that Fantasy Fishing,” he said. “It’s not going to affect the Las Vegas line.”
So it’s been pretty bad on the injury front, and after running down the growing list, Evers gave this assessment.
“You give us a month and half off and you see what happens,” he joked. “We need to keep fishing all year.”
Four on the Floor
Sure, judges fish. And when the one hearing Juan Arevalo’s illegal fishing case started swapping fish stories, Arevalo felt pretty good about his chances of dodging the $120 fine.
“When he started telling fish stories, I knew we were in the clear,” Arevalo told the York Dispatch for this story.
Arevalo caught a bass from the Susquehanna River in York Haven, Pa., but due to regulations knew he couldn’t keep it. His buddy snapped a quick shot before he released it. He later posted that photo of his largest bass ever on Facebook, and soon received a certified letter notifying him of a citation for catching a fish illegally.
He got his day in court, though, and that 20-minute hearing ran about 45 minutes once District Judge Scott Gross got to sharing his fishing stories. Plus, he liked Arevalo’s.
“I told the judge my side of the story," Arevalo said. “And the judge was like, ‘You know what? You don't seem like a malicious type fisherman.’”
That’s a limit
Our gratuitous big bass wasn’t gratuitous at all. On Friday, in the B.A.S.S. Youth Nation Junior Championship, Jacob Bruener pulled in the behemoth 11-pound, 14-ounce largemouth from Carroll County Thousand Acre Lake.
“It was amazing and every other boat on the lake probably heard us when it came aboard,” said Bruener, 14, a sophomore at Douglas High in Nacogdoches said for this report.
Bruener, whose previous best was 8 pounds, eclipsed the current lake record of 9-2. Alas, he and teammate Austin Brewer zeroed on Saturday to finish second.
What’s kind of funny is the photo showing the disparity of the two anglers’ fish. Brewer’s 14-ouncer looked like it would make a nice morsel for Bruener’s beast.
Heck, it looked like the lunker could have coughed up the little guy on their deck, but then that would probably have been illegal to weigh both. Need to ask Trip, but what if you hooked the little guy and then the big’un ate it and also had the hook in it? A real double take. That sounds legal, right?
- No. 6 was almost nixed, but New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo postponed salvage operations on sunken tugboats so the Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite Series at St. Lawrence River could be held. Read how the sixth Elite event of the season was in jeopardy here.
- While in Waddington, the Elite event will be surrounded by a Party in the Park. That’s Whitaker Park where the Elites will weigh-in each day. There’s stuff for the kids and check out the impressive lineup of bands here.