EDWIN EVERS: From nerves to excitement as REDCREST 2024 gets underway - Major League Fishing

EDWIN EVERS: From nerves to excitement as REDCREST 2024 gets underway

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Mercury pro Edwin Evers — the 2019 REDCREST champion — is excited about competing for another championship trophy on Lay Lake. Photo by Garrick Dixon. Angler: Edwin Evers.
March 14, 2024 • Edwin Evers • Bass Pro Tour

Not long ago, someone asked me if I still get fired up about fishing a big championship like Bass Pro Shops REDCREST Powered by OPTIMA Lithium. I assured him that I do, and that I look forward to it all year long.

I probably think about REDCREST — even if it’s just a passing thought — every day of the year. There’s just nothing like preparing for and fishing a championship that you’ve worked all season to qualify for and prepared for over weeks or months.

But although I get as excited about fishing REDCREST 2024 as I ever did about earlier championships in my career, the excitement is very different.

Fifteen or 20 years ago, heading into a big event, my excitement would be more like nervousness or even anxiety. What was I going to do? How was I going to do it? Had I dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s? How would I respond if something went against my plan? What if I fell short?

Now that I’ve fished around 20 such championships, those early nerves or jitters are gone, and they’ve been replaced by true excitement — and it’s a big difference. The jitters are exhilarating, but also exhausting and destructive. They can be negative. They can cause stress. They can make you overreact and run off the rails — turn a small misstep into a catastrophic error that ends your tournament.

Major League Fishing pro Edwin Evers
For Mercury Pro Team anglers Edwin Evers, REDCREST is never far from the front of his mind. For the 2019 winner, preparation is key. Photo by Josh Gassmann

Early in my career, I was more easily distracted. Having fished a lot of championships, I’m better prepared to deal with those distractions. I know what’s coming. I know what matters and what doesn’t. I know which are the little things that can be ignored and which are the big things that can’t be.

All that comes from experience. Of course, now that I’m almost 50 years old, I realize that the experience comes at a price. I’m not as young as I used to be, but I think I may be in better physical condition than earlier in my career. I take better care of myself.

On the other hand, I also tend to be more stubborn and set in my ways. Because I have a lot of experience, I may think I know more than I really do, and I have to fight that stubbornness.

Our sport is changing. We now have tools teaching us things about the fish that we never would have guessed a decade ago.

Now, when I go to a tournament, I have more options about how to approach it. I could go in with a conventional pattern-fishing approach. This is a comfort zone for me, and I love doing it. I can eliminate areas, depths, structure and cover combinations and get dialed in on what a group of fish are doing … or I could step on the trolling motor and use Lowrance ActiveTarget to locate fish others might never see.

With ActiveTarget and a heavy foot on the trolling motor, I can usually spot fish quickly and catch one in half an hour or less. But with a good pattern, I could catch several good bass in the same time.

I don’t want to be stubborn. I don’t want to fight the battle between pattern-style fishing and scoping. I want to keep my head clear and focused and naturally find the winning game plan. That’s my goal. If I can do that, I can win.

If you’ve followed my career closely, you may know that I haven’t had a lot of success on Lay Lake — site of REDCREST 2024. Please know that doesn’t bother me at all. You can never fish the same tournament twice or the same tournament conditions twice. Things change every year, every month, every week, every day … and this week on Lay Lake, they’re changing every hour.

I just need to come up with the right plan and make the right adjustments. That’s the path to the trophy. I know that now, and I’m excited about it.