EDWIN EVERS: Out of the frying pan, back into the fire - Major League Fishing

EDWIN EVERS: Out of the frying pan, back into the fire

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Mercury pro Edwin Evers likes a five-fish limit, but something about every fish counts and live scoring appeals to his inner competitor. Angler: Edwin Evers.
February 17, 2024 • Edwin Evers • Bass Pro Tour

One of the questions I’ve been getting a lot lately is whether I prefer a tournament format with a five-fish limit or one where every fish counts. It’s obviously a topic that’s top of mind because, after a season under the five-fish limit, the Bass Pro Tour is now back to every-fish-counts scoring.

I’ll start by saying that I like both. There are things about each of them that I really enjoy, and things about each that present challenges.

In 2023, when we had the five-fish limit, I had a great time and a solid season. It was good to get back to my roots as a tournament angler. Believe it or not, the five-fish format can be kind of relaxing. Sure, you need to catch five quality bass, but if you’ve had a good practice, that’s usually attainable. And if you catch a good limit early — by 10 or so — you can relax a little, regroup, focus on finding a kicker or go scouting for the next round.

None of that’s possible with every fish counts. There is no rest, no relaxation, no time to take your foot off the gas. Your job is never done until the marshal calls “lines out” in the final round. That can be nerve-racking, especially if you’re not having a good day.

That said, one thing I like about every fish counts is that you’re never completely out of contention. You can zero in the first period and still win the round. That’s much harder to do when you’re only working with your best five.

The 2019 Angler of the Year on the Bass Pro Tour likes that anglers are never out of contention with every-fish-counts scoring. Photo by Phoenix Moore.

For me, SCORETRACKER® is an ally. It drives some guys crazy, but I like it … maybe because it drives some guys crazy.

I also like it because the marshals have to give anglers periodic updates, whether the anglers want them or not. I like that SCORETRACKER® tells me whether I’m on a successful path or need to change things up. Not only does every fish count, but every fish is magnified. If the catches are coming fast and furious for another angler or for anglers across the lake, I know they’re doing something different, or at least fishing in more productive water.

I’ve stopped trying to guess what they’re doing. That can send you down the wrong path in a big hurry. The anglers on the BPT can catch them any way they need to. Just because a guy has a reputation with a spinnerbait doesn’t mean he’s not wearing them out on a jerkbait.

The every-fish-counts format forces me to work a lot harder than the five-fish format. It’s mentally exhausting — I have zero trouble falling asleep after a day of competing where every fish counts. Mental toughness is at the top of the list of skills needed to excel in this format. If you lose focus and discipline, you’re done.

SCORETRACKER® is a constant reminder of where you stand relative to the rest of the field. Sometimes it’s great news. More often it’s a challenge you need to meet or overcome. I love that challenge because I truly love to compete. Finding a way to succeed in the face of adversity drives me.

But when others ask me which format I prefer, I’m not quite sure how to answer. I love them both because of the way they force me to adapt and create a game plan. They each have their challenges. They each have aspects that I love.

Ultimately, after a year of the five-fish frying pan, I’m excited to be back in the fire with every fish counts.