With his win at the Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite Series event on the St Lawrence River, Edwin Evers reached a pair of historic milestones.
For one, he became the first angler in the history of the Elite Series to win back-to-back tournaments. In 87 events, it had never happened before, though a few anglers — notably Aaron Martens, Derek Remitz and Kevin VanDam — came close.
For another, Evers claimed his 10th career B.A.S.S. victory, a double-digit milestone that only Kevin VanDam (with 20), Roland Martin (19), Denny Brauer (17), Rick Clunn (14) and Larry Nixon (13) have reached.
Undeniably the most accomplished angler in B.A.S.S. history who has yet to win a major title (Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year or the GEICO Bassmaster Classic), in 2007 Evers became the youngest ever to earn $1 million in B.A.S.S. prize money (his record was broken by Casey Ashley earlier this year), and he's the only angler ever to win B.A.S.S. events with catches of all largemouth bass (several times), all smallmouth bass (Lake Erie in 2007 and the St. Lawrence River in 2015) and all spotted bass (Alabama River in 2013).
But we're not talking about a guy who's fading into the sunset. At 40 years old, Evers is in his prime.
Going back-to-back in B.A.S.S. events is not new, but Evers is the first to do it in the Elite Series. It's been done 19 times previously — first by the legendary Bill Dance in 1968 and most recently by Chris Lane in 2012 when he won a Southern Open followed by the Bassmaster Classic (though Hank Cherry won both halves of Toyota All-Star Week in 2013 with fields of 14 and 4 anglers, respectively). The other anglers who have gone back-to-back read like a Who's Who of bass fishing: Denny Brauer, Mark Davis, David Fritts, Davy Hite, Mike McClelland, John Powell and Dean Rojas, among others. Only Roland Martin (1980-81) and Kevin VanDam (2005) have won three in a row.
But what's more impressive is reaching double digits in wins. With just five other anglers in that group, it's a very exclusive club. And Evers has a long career ahead of him. How many more wins he might accumulate is speculative, but he's not nearly done. At 40, he reached the milestone when he was three years older than VanDam (the youngest, at 37 when he won his 10th tournament in 2005), but nine years younger than Brauer (who won nine tournaments between the ages of 49 and 62).
Among the five other anglers with 10 or more career wins, they have 20 AOY titles and 10 Classic championships. Evers is currently the only one in the group without either, but he'll be a big favorite among pundits when the Classic returns to his home state (Oklahoma) in 2016.
It's also worth noting that if he hadn't lost his catch on Day 2 of the Elite opener on the Sabine River (he was late to check-in), Evers would be in the thick of things for AOY honors this year. As it is, he's doing pretty well in fourth place, less than 75 points off Aaron Martens' pace.
But forget about what "could have been." Marvel at what Evers is actually doing. It's historic.