Edwin Evers, better than ever; Pickwick picks
BASS Reporter's Notebook
His 2009 season ended on a bittersweet note. The sweet part was when he won the final Bassmaster Central Open event in overtime; the bitter part hit that same day. Despite his victory, he missed qualifying for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic by eight points.
Worse yet, the miss was his second of the season. His first miss was in the 2009 Elite Series, where he ended 22 points shy of a Classic berth.
And thus Evers broke his eight-season streak of qualifying for Classics.
"I don't know that it's an excuse, and last year I never would have said it, but I had a lot going on," he said after his first day of practice for the Pickwick Lake Elite event that begins Thursday out of Florence, Ala. "I had a new baby, and I probably didn't have the focus I needed to have each and every day."
But it's a new season, and Evers is on the move and looking, perhaps, for a taste of redemption. After the first 2010 event, he was in 25th place in Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points. After the second 2010 event, he moved up to 12th place. With a 7th place finish in the third event, he jumped to tie at 4th in AOY points.
It looks like he set a goal and is running to it, but that's not the case, said the five-time Bassmaster winner from Oklahoma.
"I can't say I began the season with a particular goal - just to fish every event, if not flawlessly, as good as I possibly can," he said.
"Last year I had a lot of mistakes, a lot of lost fish," he said. "I can tell you many different stories, and any one of them would have put me into the Classic through the Elites. Like when my livewell got turned off at Wheeler early in the day and it cost me 2½ pounds in deductions."
Going this week into the fourth of eight regular-season events, Evers is in position to get back to the Bassmaster Classic. His progress also means he's in contention for a coveted 2010 Postseason slot. Only the top 12 will advance in July to the two-event postseason in Alabama. That's where the AOY race - worth $200,000 to the winner - will end.
Evers is sharing 4th place in the AOY race with North Carolina's Dave Wolak; both have 726 points. In front of them are Arizona's Dean Rojas with 730, Louisiana's Greg Hackney with 798, and, of course, the gorilla in the room, Skeet Reese, with 885.
Reese's lead is 87 points over Hackney, 159 over Evers/Wolak. Can Reese be caught? Evers hooted when asked the question.
"Oh, without a doubt," he said. "Come on, now! - There's only been three tournaments, we aren't even halfway through the season! There's lots and lots and lots of fishing left."
NEW BOAT PRIZES: BASS has announced it will award boat rigs to the winners of each leg of the 2010 Bassmaster Elite Series Postseason.
The two legs comprise Toyota Trucks Championship Week, July 24-31 in Alabama. The first leg will take place on Lake Jordan as the July 24-25 Trophy Chase. The finale, the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph, will be played on the Alabama River, July 30-31.
The boat packages are valued at nearly $60,000 with the Wetumpka leg winner receiving a Triton 20XS with 225 Mercury Optimax. The winner of the final Postseason event in Montgomery will receive a Skeeter ZX225 paired with a Yamaha VF225.
PR PRO: Burnie Haney is not a public relations professional, yet he has become a pro at generating media coverage for the good works of the New York BASS Chapter Federation, which provides Haney with abundant opportunities.
Haney is a retired U.S. Army Sgt. Major who holds the volunteer positions of public relations officer and conservation director for his state's affiliate of the national BASS Federation Nation.
Most recently, Haney worked to spread the word of the New York organization's second annual Take-A-Soldier-Fishing day. Members escorted 80 soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum for a fun, free day on Oneida Lake.
His work resulted in coverage by WSYR Channel 9; Syracuse.com, the online presence of The Post-Standard of Syracuse, N.Y.; and YNN, a 24-hour cable news channel. After the event, Haney wrote a news release and sent it to media outlets.
He follows much the same drill multiple times a year. Events include member tournaments, conservation projects and youth programs as well as special events like Take-A-Soldier-Fishing (read more at www.nybassfed.com).
"I figured that if I could be the public relations guy and get on board and help tell our story to the masses through any avenue I could use, then that was the right thing to do because then more people would understand what the BASS Federation Nation is all about," he said.
Haney learned the PR ropes by doing the job and by observing good and bad examples. He started years ago during his military career, but he had to hand off the job each time he was deployed overseas.
He retired from the Army about two years ago, and then accepted a civilian version of the same job. It is full-time, demanding work, but now he can stick closer to his home in Calcium, N.Y., near Watertown. That means he has more time to get out the word of what his Federation is up to.
He said he feels his work is paying off.
"All of a sudden we are not the loud, flashy bass boats that zip across the lake at 60 miles per hour chasing bass, but it's 'Oh, those are the guys who pulled 10,000 pounds of (trash) out of the river at no cost to taxpayers and improved the habitat for every user,' or 'Oh, those are the guys who took the soldiers fishing.' "
PICKWICK PICKS: The pundits are now picking possible winners for this week's Bassmaster Elite Series event on Alabama's Pickwick Lake. But it's the fans who will have their choice of fun and free activities in Florence, Ala., during the April 29-May 2 Alabama Charge.
Top fan picks are sure to be the Thursday-Sunday weigh-ins at 3:30 p.m. CT at McFarland Park, 200 James M. Spain Drive in Florence. Morning launch is another option. It is set to begin each day at 6:10 a.m. CT.
Come Saturday, the park will be filled with music. At noon, a live performance by Donnie Fritts will begin. He'll be followed by The Decoys at 1 p.m.
Throughout the weekend, fans can enjoy many free activities and learning experiences, such as Sport Dogs, the Yamaha Vmax SHO Tour, the Toyota Kids Casting Challenge, giveaways by BASS DJs, and Bassmaster's "Ask the Experts."
Everyone can be part of the audience for the making of Hooked Up, live shows on Bassmaster.com with ESPN Outdoors personalities Tommy Sanders and Mark Zona.
For those traveling to Florence, information about the area is available at VisitFlorenceAL.com, the site of local sponsor Florence/Lauderdale Tourism.
Fans at home can catch all the action online at Bassmaster.com with real-time leaderboards, results and extensive photo galleries. Also online will be BASSCast (boat-mounted cameras) and frequent BassCam video reports from land and water. Live, streaming video of the weigh-ins will be available at ESPN3.com, ESPN's broadband sports network.
SKEET'S GOAL: "My goal is to make the top 10 in every tournament I fish. If I can manage somehow to do that for the next five events, I think I'll have a good point gap going into the postseason." - Skeet Reese, the Bassmaster Elite Series points leader by 87 ticks after winning the Smith Mountain Lake event earlier this month in Virginia
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Source: bassmaster.com (2010-04-28)