‘KVD’ wins Classic again

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The annual Bassmaster Classic—the biggest bass tournament in the world—took place this past weekend on the Mississippi River delta, based out of New Orleans, and when all was said and done, it was no surprise that Kevin Van Dam would be found at the top of the heap.
It was Van Dam’s fourth time taking home the $500,000 first-place prize.
Only 50 anglers qualify to fish the Classic each year, with most coming from the Bassmaster Elite Series.
A few anglers qualify from fishing the lower level Bassmaster Opens and the Bass Federation, as well.
Van Dam handily won the event with a three-day total weight of 69 pounds, 11 oz., outweighing runner-up Aaron Martens by more than 10 pounds.
After finishing third on Day 1, Van Dam took the lead on Day 2 and then increased his lead on the third and final day.
The amazing thing about Van Dam is he now has won the Classic two years in a row—a feat accomplished only once before. He also has won the Angler of the Year title, which pays $250,000, three years in a row.
He is winning these top prizes in competitive bass fishing competing against the best anglers in the world. It is truly unbelievable how he is able to dominate these events on such a regular basis.
He simply is the best bass angler in the world right now.
Van Dam’s domination of the sport is really evident when you take a look at his career earnings on the Bassmaster Tour, which surpassed $5 million this weekend.
His next closest competitor is just over $2 million. That has been compiled while competing against hundreds of anglers over the years.
The most amazing thing to me is that Van Dam does most of his work on the water almost exclusively with reaction baits, like spinnerbaits and crankbaits. He really excels at being able to find fish with these baits that he can use to cover a lot of water.
I mentioned spinnerbaits because in the early part of his career, Van Dam was known for his prowess with those baits. But over the last few years, they have taken second seat to his ability to catch fish with a variety of crankbaits.
Last year, he used a lipless rattle bait to win the Classic title on Lay Lake in Alabama. This year, he used a fat, shallow-diving bait on the delta.
Crankbaits are an overlooked lure option for most Sunset Country bass anglers, but something many of us likely need to take a look at in 2011 and beyond.
This year’s Classic also was the first event emceed by Canadian Dave Mercer. I was working at a fishing show in Toronto this past weekend and Mercer was able to help get a live feed of the weigh-in hooked up for those of us at the show, so we were able to watch live.
Mercer did a great job on the stage and made it very exciting to watch.
Meanwhile, Sunset Country’s big bass tournaments—the Shaw Kenora Bass International and the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship—continue to accept registrations for the 2011 events.
The FFCBC got a good boost last week when Al Lindner and the rest of his crew from Lindner’s Angling Edge signed up for this year’s event.
They have never missed fishing the Fort Frances tournament since its inception in 1995.

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