- Tim Tucker
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CELEBRATION, Fla. Edwin Evers is on the verge of greatness, as fishing fans watch and wonder when the 32-year-old Oklahoma pro will break through. Evers already has won three tournaments, posted 28 top-10 finishes and qualified for seven Bassmaster Classic appearances.
And he is poised to join the BASS Millionaire's Club, with earnings so far of $866,225 in his short career. All of those accomplishments have come in seven seasons.
His track record would indicate that Evers likely will join the sport's stars eventually with a Classic title, Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award or a handful of more tournament wins in the coming years.
"It's been a good career so far, but I'm not satisfied by any means," said the man know as "E-Squared". "I'm still waiting for that big win, that big title."
Evers is less than impressed with his showing so far this season on the Elite Series circuit.
It began with an eighth-place finish at Lake Amistad in the season opener, but quickly soured on the western swing (102nd and 61st). He bounced back with a 19th at Clarks Hill, but fell to 67th at Guntersville. After a seventh at the Bassmaster Major (which doesn't count in the Classic standings), Evers placed 22nd at this past weekend's Elite Series Blue Ridge Brawl presented by Advance Auto Parts on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia.
"There hasn't been a lot to my season so far," he said. "I had a good tournament at Amistad and then went to California and stubbed my toe at those two tournaments. I had a decent tournament at Clarks Hill, but other than that there's not been much to talk about.
"I had the best practice of my life at Guntersville and I've always done real well there. But I don't know what happened out there. I was catching spawning fish on main-lake ridges and I could catch them on every cast. But when the tournament started the big ones just eluded me."
Nonetheless, Evers is 39th in the standings and in good shape to qualify for his eighth Classic with five events remaining.
The likeable pro is proud of his proximity to the $1 million mark.
"It could happen this year," he said. "That's pretty unreal. That's a neat goal. It's a real great thing to see that the sport has come along that far."
Signs of tribute and recognition for the nearby university's recent tragedy were everywhere during the Blue Ridge Brawl.
Many of the competitor's boats sported Virginia Tech decals. And on Day One, Alabama pro Tim Horton gave up prime sponsor real estate by wearing a Va. Tech cap, while BASS tournament director Trip Weldon donned a maroon and orange Va. Tech cap for much of the weigh-ins.
The Ross Barnett Reservoir in Jackson, Miss., is the site of this week's BASS Federation Nation Central Divisional, set for Wednesday through Friday.
Anglers won't have to worry much about fishing the depths, as the lake has an average depth of 5 feet. Its 33,000 acres feature expanses of flats covered in stumps as well as lily pads and matted grass.
Bassmaster Elite Series angler Pete Ponds, of Madison, Miss., recommends crankbaits or buzzbaits and frogs.
Shaw Grigsby learned a valuable lesson during the Smith Mountain Lake event: Never pin your hopes on fishing cover that might suddenly disappear.
The veteran Florida pro's primary pattern involved using swimbaits to catch bass from around and under houseboats that were moored in the lake. But when he arrived there for Day 3, Grigsby discovered that the houseboats had all lifted anchor and set sail for elsewhere on the reservoir.
Diana Clark last week received her prize as reigning Toyota WBT Angler of the Year a bright red 2007, fully-loaded Toyota Tundra.
"It was very exciting when I realized I had actually won," the inaugural Angler of the Year said. "But now that the truck is here that makes it even sweeter."
Clark was able to order the truck with all available options. The Tennessee pro chose V-8, six-speed, leather seats, GPS, DVD player, towing package and backup camera.
HOTTEST RIG RUNNING UPDATE.
The winner, according to Bassmaster Elite Series fans, in the seventh week of the Hottest Rig Running contest was Alabama's Keith Phillips, with 46.6 percent of the vote. South Carolina's Jason Quinn and Oklahoma's Jeff Reynolds were second and third, respectively.
Fans can vote for select Elite Series pros, including Dean Rojas and Terry Scroggins, and pick their favorite boat wraps in Week 8. The creativity of the pros and their primary sponsors will be on display throughout the 11 Elite Series tournaments. See them at www.espnoutdoors.com/hottestrig.
Each week will feature a different group of anglers' boats for which fans can vote. Winners advance to the final round July 6-13. Second-place boats from weeks 1-10 will compete in a Second Chance Qualifier, getting a chance in week 11 to win a spot in the final round. Voting is limited to one vote per person each week. The winner of the contest will receive $10,000 and will be awarded at the Bassmaster Memorial presented by Evan Williams Bourbon in Syracuse, N.Y.
Elite Series pro Rick Ash's boat wrap is surely the spiciest of all the boats.
The Pennsylvania angler's wrap promotes J.O. Spice Co., a Baltimore-based company that makes seasoning for area seafood restaurants. It also markets batters and spices to retail outlets.
During a BASS event several years ago, Elite Series pro Kotaro Kiriyama was drop-shotting when he caught a 30-pound turtle and a large catfish on back-to-back casts.
DID YOU KNOW?
With his victory in Virginia, Casey Ashley became the second rookie to win an Elite Series event this season. Derek Remitz was the other.
IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO...
WBT pro Rose Ellis would have to more time to help out in the family's digital printing business in Birmingham.
THEY SAID IT.
""Remember all those days I missed to go fishing, and you said I wouldn't amount to anything? Well, look at me now." Reigning Classic champion Boyd Duckett, who recalled that he "ran over the assistant principal in 11th grade and got kicked out of school," had a message for his former administrator upon accepting his Classic champion's ring last week at the Elite series event.
4hMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon
16mMarc Stein and Calvin Watkins