Evers has the edge on Elites

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — For four days, Edwin Evers put a whipping on the fish during the Bassmaster Elite Series Alabama Charge presented by Star brite.

On Sunday afternoon, while waiting in line to weigh in his final bag of the tournament, he was busy working on his boat.

“I’m taking out my frustrations,” he said, all the while busily cleaning the exterior of his boat.

Evers, the Toyota Angler of the Year points leader coming into this tournament, genuinely felt he had no chance to win this tournament — or at least he acted that way.

He entered the final day with a three-day total of 58 pounds, 1 ounce and was in second place — only 1 pound, 3 ounces behind reigning Angler of the Year Brent Chapman. Evers said he thought he needed 18 pounds to put himself in position to win and indicated he had at least 3 pounds less than that. He was gracious in what he thought was defeat, though he did have a “hang dog” expression on his face.

Well, it turns out he had almost 18 pounds, and it was enough for him to edge out Chapman for the win.

Evers, as intense a competitor as there is on tour, wasn’t overly pleased with his performance … before he weighed in, at least. But, from a bystander’s point of view, he certainly worked for every ounce he caught. There was no lack of effort for sure.

Evers began each day with a run to the Bouldin Dam Canal, which is every bit of a 20-minute run from Sunday’s launch in downtown Montgomery, but more than 30 minutes from the Cooter’s Pond launch were the pros started Thursday to Saturday. On Sunday, he added a different twist by running about 12 or 13 miles up the Tallapoosa River and then all the way back to Cooter’s Pond to fish.

Evers estimated that Sunday’s run was approximately 120 miles roundtrip, though he wasn’t exactly sure. This much is certain — he lost a media boat trailing his every move in the process after it ran out of gas.

He also had about two dozen rods on the deck of his boat at one point on Sunday, loaded with spinners, crankbaits, jigs and just about everything else one can imagine. He repeatedly went to the hole all day Sunday, looking for new gear and trying to find the winning combination.

“It was a whole different ballgame in all the areas I fished,” he said. “I had to be prepared in case it got cloudy, things like that.”

But was it the most gear he’s ever had on deck?

“Not even close,” he said.

Evers’ action came in flurries on Sunday. As he did each morning, he boated a limit of fish in the Bouldin Dam Canal before 8 a.m. Sunday’s haul was estimated to be about 13 pounds in that spot. He culled up once on the Coosa and culled up again on the Tallapoosa when he was throwing a spinnerbait to a shallow sandy point way up that river.

And then things got really wacky.

It seemed logical that Evers would slowly work his way back down the Alabama River and end at the launch in Montgomery. After all, there were several quality holes that produced  sizable bites all week for the likes of Shaw Grigsby, Bobby Lane, Chris Lane, Paul Elias and Mike McClelland, to name a few. Those holes, by and large, were not being used on Sunday.

But Evers, ever the crafty pro, blew past each of those spots and he zoomed by the Riverfront Park landing in Montgomery, as well. Instead, he motored all the way to Cooter’s Pond, where this tournament began, and was able to cull twice. It was a spot he had been “saving” all week, he said, and it was those bites that provided him the few extra ounces he needed to shake off Chapman and the field to claim the Alabama River Charge championship.

The victory gave Evers an ever-tightening hold on the 2013 Toyota Angler of the Year race. And to think, he didn’t even believe he had a chance to win the tournament, much less put himself in the catbird seat to claim the most sought after prize in the sport.

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