Evers makes history with victory in St. Lawrence River Elite Series

WADDINGTON, NY (Aug. 3, 2015) – Over the course of 18 years and 196 Tour-level tournaments on the Bassmaster Trail, Team Mercury pro Edwin Evers has established himself as one of the best bass fishermen in the world. He's racked up double-digit wins (10), banked almost $2.5 million in winnings, and is a legitimate threat every year to win the Angler of the Year title.

Sunday, after four days of running and gunning up and down the massive St. Lawrence River in Upstate New York, Evers claimed something no other professional angler has: he's the only back-to-back winner of Elite Series events in B.A.S.S. history.

Evers weighed in 17 pounds, 8 ounces of St. Lawrence River smallmouth Sunday to easily claim the championship trophy at the Even Williams Bourbon Elite on the St. Lawrence River. The flashy new blue-and-silver trophy that Evers hoisted onstage at Whittaker Park in Waddington, New York, perfectly matches the one he claimed in early June when he took home the title at BASSfest on Kentucky Lake.

"Man, I don't really know what to say, it all feels so surreal," Evers mused as he pulled his Mercury-powered Nitro Z-21 out of the water, the championship trophy resting comfortably on the back deck. "Both of these past two events, things just kind of came together for me. One thing I've learned in all the years I've been doing this, things just sometimes work out right, no matter how bad your practice might have been, or how nervous you might be about any one particular tournament or fishery. I fished both BASSfest and the St. Lawrence by the seat of my pants, fished kind of 'wide open.' I fished new areas, did new and different things in each tournament. I was pretty open-minded about everything."

Evers' wide-open approach paid off particularly well on the St. Lawrence, a tributary of Lake Ontario that nearly every one of the 108 anglers competing referred to as "enormous and intimidating." Instead of running upriver and focusing on one limited area at the mouth of Lake Ontario – which is where the last Elite Series tournament held on the St. Lawrence was won in 2013 – Evers cranked up his 250 Mercury OptiMax ProXS and ran downriver to focus on a series of shallow, grassy flats.

It wasn't an easy decision. Evers had struggled to get fish to bite during the three-day practice period, and the temptation to scrap his upriver plan and fish downriver was strong as he headed out for the first day of competition. He stuck with it, though, and returned to the dock that day with 21.3 pounds to settle into a Top 5 spot.

"I wasn't catching a lot of fish, so I was on that Mercury a lot, moving around and grinding it out," Evers admitted. "I probably had 20 rods laid across the front of my deck, fishing a little bit of everything. I had a lot of fish found, but probably more fish than I could really fish effectively. I was sure happy to start the week off with 21-3."

He followed that up with 22-9 on Day 2, the biggest limit weighed in all week, but then faltered slightly on the third day with 16-6 as fellow Team Mercury pro Josh Bertrand crept within 2 pounds of Evers heading into Championship Sunday. But with heavy weekend pleasure-boat traffic and the accumulated pressure of seven days of hammering on the river's smallmouth population, Evers' 17-8 on the final day was enough to stretch his final margin of victory to nearly 4 pounds.

"I feel good about the way I'm fishing right now," Evers said. "I'm making good decisions, fishing clean, feeling confident about what I'm doing. It's not easy to win even one of these events, so I'm pretty darn happy about two in a row."

NOTES: Evers' St. Lawrence victory is his tenth Bassmaster win, which makes him one of a small handful of anglers with double-digit Tour-level wins (Team Mercury teammate Kevin VanDam holds the record with 20 wins) … Evers' 22-9 on Day 2 marked the sixth day in a row he had weighed in more than 20 pounds, dating back to Day 1 at BASSfest … Mercury anglers claimed four of the top seven spots on the St. Lawrence (Greg Hackney was third, Skeet Reese was fifth and Jacob Powroznik was seventh) … Evers and the rest of the Elite anglers next compete on Chesapeake Bay (Aug. 13-16) … Mercury pro Aaron Martens moved into first place in the 2015 Elite Series Angler of the Year race with 508 points.

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