KVD conquers the ‘Classic’

Those of you that follow competitive bass fishing know what KVD stands for.
For those of you who don’t, it stands for Kevin Van Dam—the most dominating figure in bass fishing since he joined the Bassmaster Tour as a 23-year-old in 1992 when he won his first of five Angler-of-the-Year awards.
This past weekend, the single biggest bass tournament in the world, the Bassmaster Classic, took place on Lay Lake in Alabama and Van Dam won it for a third time. Only 50 anglers qualify for the “Classic” each year based on their performance throughout the season on the Elite Series Tour, and the winner takes home $500,000.
But some say a win is worth well more than a million dollars to the winner based on endorsement contracts. For up-and-coming anglers, if you are going to win a tournament, this is the one you want to win!
I follow the Bassmaster Tour, an American circuit, throughout the season each and every year and it is amazing how much better Van Dam is than the rest of the competition.
Consider that he won the past two Angler-of-the-Year awards on the Bassmaster Elite Series (2008 and 2009), and has career earnings with the Bassmaster organization topping $4 million.
The next highest career earner, Denny Brauer, has earned just over $2 million. And the list drops off quickly after him, too.
The amazing thing about Van Dam is he consistently finishes at or near the top in just about every event he fishes across the United States, and he does it with a unique style that typically involves fishing with fast-moving reaction baits and covering vast amounts of water.
He won the “Classic” this past weekend fishing with a lipless rattle bait called a Red-Eye Shad (a fast-moving bait). Although he fished a small general area over the course of this three-day event, he obviously burned through a lot of water to narrow his choice down to where he spent most of his time.
So why is Kevin Van Dam so good? Obviously there is a luck factor in fishing, but his results over the past 15-plus years on the Tour come from his amazing ability to find fish and, more importantly, find biting fish that he can catch.
Many pros think it’s this fish-finding ability that gives KVD a huge edge.
Following these Bassmaster events online is easy and the one thing that intrigues me is how unflappable Van Dam is. He never gets overly-excited and he never has any breakdowns when things don’t go his way.
He goes out every day and fishes without any extra drama—and that is something many pros can’t do.
In a sport that has been dominated by mostly southern anglers, Van Dam, who hails from Michigan, is one of only a few bass fishing pros from the north who has found success at the highest level.
In a press conference following the event, Van Dam made some remarks I really liked. He fished a small area the majority of the time. After taking the lead on Day 1, he had a late take-off number for Day 2, leaving the door open for another angler to potentially “steal” his spot.
Takahiro Omori, another angler in the tournament, fished the same area as Van Dam during part of the first day but did not show back up in Van Dam’s area, which led KVD to remark: “Tak came up to me before the second day and told me ‘I had no idea how many fish were in there. . . . You won’t see me in there again.’
“He had every right to go back in there, but that’s the class of anglers we have on the Elite Series. It’s special to compete with these guys and an honour to fish with them throughout the year,” Van Dam added.
Since KVD had a chance to win the tournament, Omori did not want to interfere with his chances so he let him have the water to himself—definitely a class act!

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