Evers prepared for winter test at Bassmaster Classic
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2/18/13 at 1:35 AM
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The top-ranked local Bassmaster Elite pro in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic is the least familiar with Grand Lake, but the perennial Classic threat knows it well enough.
Edwin Evers of Talala has been a top performer in the Elite Series since he went pro in 2000. An all-star angler, he has been a close contender for Angler of the Year several times and back-to-back runner-up in 2010 and 2011. Going into his 14th year, he is fishing his 12th Classic. This year he was ranked eighth in Angler of the Year points on the tour and narrowly placed second in a tough all-star postseason tournament.
His definition of "local angler" is a little more specific than just living in the neighborhood. Talala is about an hour's drive west of Grand Lake.
"A local guy, in my opinion, he's fishing that body of water every weekend or tournament fishing there every other weekend," he said.
Evers moved to Talala seven years ago, after he was well into his professional career, fishing on the road as much or more than he did at home.
"The biggest difference between a local angler and a professional fisherman is the professional fishes the conditions and the local guy fishes where they caught them before," Evers said.
Evers comes to Talala by way of southern Oklahoma (Mannsville) and before that Texas and Illinois. He was born in Louisiana, Mo. He fished farm ponds as a boy in Texas. Living in Seneca, Ill., he fished some tournaments as a sophomore and junior in high school. It helped that he worked at a boat and tackle store owned by Sam Rosefsky.
"Sam took me around and fished some different water," Evers said.
The store had open-house events where the young Evers met top anglers like Hank Parker and Guido Hibdon.
"I was just ate up with it," he said.
Evers developed into a strong competitor during his college years at Southeastern State University.
"Dad bought a Basstracker V17 with a 40-horse Johnson. He said I could take it to college on the condition I could afford to store it and I kept all As and Bs," he said.
For income he worked many jobs - driving a school bus, waiting tables, working with a lawn service, at a convenience store, as a duck-hunting guide and as a hand on the farm with his aunt and uncle.
He fished every tournament he could on Lake Texoma and won five boats on the lake while pursuing degrees in marketing and communications at SOSU.
"I used that money to get into the BASS invitationals," he said.
He fished national events for three years until he launched into it full time.
On tour, Evers is hailed as a versatile angler who is tough from the Louisiana Delta to Lake Erie, but he said he had beginnings similar to others.
"The first few years on the trail I was pretty much a one-dimensional shallow-water guy. I never used a spinnin' rod," he said.
He learned to be versatile.
"It almost came by necessity," he said. "If I was going to survive in the sport I needed to get better at different things so I would fish with as many people as I could or go out and practice and learn."
Practice is something different Evers has going for him this time around with the Classic. Usually he doesn't visit the Classic venue until the event. He fished and explored Grand Lake before the lake went off-limits in December. A month before the contest, he fished nearly every day, honing his feel for winter fishing and exploring fisheries similar to Grand, like Tenkiller and nearby Eucha Lake.
He fished 41-degree water in 12-degree weather and 48-degree water in 60-degree weather.
"There is a huge difference between fishing 47-degree water or even 45-degree water and fishing 41-degree water," he said.
Reeling in back-to-back 6-pounders on Eucha, he showed the practice was paying off.
"I've been working at it this winter," he said. "I'll be prepared as I can be."
The tough part about Grand Lake in February is the weather and water conditions are so unpredictable, he said. That unpredictability is something he can manage, thanks to the versatility and professional experience that allows him confidence in switching gears if need be.
"I think the biggest thing is just making adjustments on the fly," he said. "Not being scared halfway through the day to notice the water temperature has warmed up 3 degrees and making that adjustment."
The practice, the proximity, the support of family and friends, it all adds up.
"I always feel I have a good chance when I enter any tournament, I just feel like I have an extra good chance to win this one," he said.
Family: Wife, Tuesday; son, Kade, 4; and daughter Kylee, 14
In his free time: Loves deer hunting and also has a new pecan orchard.
Pro angler since: 2000
Notables: Consecutive runner-up for Angler of The Year in 2010 and 2011. ... Qualified for Classic 12 out of 14 years as a professional.
Original Print Headline: Evers is prepared
Kelly Bostian 918-581-8357
A month before the Classic, Edwin Evers fished nearly every day at lakes such as Tenkiller and Eucha. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World