MLF pro Edwin Evers has finished in the Top 10 in all four events through the first half of the Bass Pro Tour season. Photo by Garrick Dixon
By Joel Shangle - April 23, 2019
As you skim through the numbers for the first half of the 2019 MLF Bass Pro Tour season, several impressive individual statistics jump out at you: Andy Morgan’s 224-pound, 8-ounce fish-catching showcase on Lake Chickamauga in Stage Four; Kelly Jordon’s 82-4 single-day blitzkrieg in the first Shotgun Round on Falls Lake in Raleigh, N.C.; Zack Birge’s 105-6 performance in the Shotgun and Elimination rounds in Dayton, Tennessee.
But the most impressive numbers of all are much smaller: 2, 1, 4 and 7.
Those are the finishes, in order, of MLF pro Edwin Evers in the first four stages of the 2019 season.
The Oklahoma pro has qualified for all four Championship Rounds – the only angler in the 80-man field to do so – and has earned 310 of the maximum 320 points in the race for the Points Championship. Through events held in Florida, Texas, North Carolina and Tennessee, Evers’ average finish is fourth place (rounded down!).
It’s been a dominant performance by the 21-year pro, who came into the 2019 season as one of the 10 highest money-winners in professional bass-fishing history.
“What’s most amazing to me about the way Edwin has performed is that everything is different,” said MLF NOW! analyst JT Kenney. “The whole structure of what we do has changed, and for Edwin to come out and be as good as he’s been isn’t just impressive, it’s amazing. He seems like he’s a little bit ahead of the curve – Edwin has fished MLF before so he knows the format well, but it’s not just that. It’s a bunch of little things that he seems to be just a little more efficient than everybody else. He’s making the right decisions, and he just seems super smooth at everything he’s doing.”
Evers is no stranger to Top 10 finishes: he had collected 69 of them in his career prior to the start of the 2019 season season, and with 73 now in MLF, BASS and FLW competition, ranks among all-time greats like Denny Brauer (93), Roland Martin (108), Larry Nixon (113), Rick Clunn (143) and Kevin VanDam (120).
Evers’ First Half One of the All-Time Best
How does the first half of Evers’ season compare to the most dominant performances in modern professional bass-fishing history? As one of the best of all time through the midway point of any single season:
- In Kevin VanDam’s dominant AOY seasons in 1992 (BASS Top 100s) and 2009 (Bassmaster Elite Series), his average finish in the first four events was 14th in both seasons. Even in VanDam’s signature season in 2005 – a season in which he finished with an astounding seven Top 10s in a row – his first four tournaments included a 98th and a 74th.
- During Denny Brauer’s 1998 season of excellence – nine Top 10s, four wins – he started the season with a clunker (115th at the FLW opener on Lake Toho) and was 26th in his first BASS event that year.
- MLF pro Mark Rose opened his 2017 AOY-winning season on the FLW Tour with back-to-back wins, but then finished 65th and 35th in the next two events to average 26th over the first four competitions.
- During Aaron Martens’ runaway 2015 Elite Series season – a season where he locked up the AOY title with a tournament remaining on the schedule – his average finish in the first four tournaments was 18th.
“What we’re watching is truly one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments in sports,” said MLF NOW! analyst Marty Stone. “You’re seeing a guy who’s in the prime age to be successful in the sport of professional bass fishing. There’s a maturity level there, and an ability to adjust and overcome. We saw Edwin lose a fish on Chickamauga that I think was a true 10-pounder, and he overcame that. We’ve seen guys lose key fish and never recover, but Edwin’s mind is better than ever right now. And he’s done such a great job of taking care of his body. He’s just performing at an incredibly high level in many ways.”
Evers humbly deflects most of the praise directed at his stellar start. He admits that, as Stone points out, his physical health is excellent (“I’ve never felt better,” he says), and that he’s constantly working to get into even better shape. But beyond that, Evers points to the early season schedule, and his support system back home in Talala, Oklahoma.
“I was excited about the season, and the lakes we were going to, but I have to admit that everything starts at home,” Evers said. “My wife Tuesday takes care of so many things and keeps everything running, she deserves a lot of the credit. I also have a guy managing the pecan farm now (Edwin Evers Pecans) who’s just phenomenal. For a few years, I’d come home from a tournament and work sunup to sundown on the pecan farm, which was a pretty big load. It all helps.”