Kevin VanDam Breaks the $3 Million All-Time Career Winnings Mark at the 2008 Kentucky Lake Elite Event
Practicing for the Tournament
Editor’s Note: Kevin VanDam won the 2008 Bassmaster Elite Event at Kentucky Lake, taking home a payday of $100,000 plus. He also moved past the $3 million mark in all-time career winnings on the BASS circuit. The week before this win in mid-June, he finished second-place at Wheeler Lake in Alabama. Apparently, that second-place finish fired him up and gave him the secret tactics and weapons he needed to win at Kentucky Lake.
Question: When we talked last week in mid-June before the Kentucky Lake tournament and just after the Wheeler Lake tournament, you felt pretty confident about this tournament at Kentucky Lake. What were you confident about, Kevin?
VanDam: Kentucky Lake is just up the Tennessee River chain from Lake Wheeler, and fishing here is very similar to fishing Lake Wheeler. The Tennessee River is known for summertime ledge fishing, which is one of my favorite ways to fish. Also, I finished third on this same lake during the summer 2-years ago.
Question: How did you think you’d have to fish, and did you have your fishing spots chosen before arriving at the lake?
VanDam: I stored the waypoints from the tournament 2-years ago in my computer. So, I had the GPS coordinates to reach every spot where I’d caught bass during the previous tournament. I knew I could check these spots fairly quickly.
Question: Kevin, how do you store your GPS coordinates?
VanDam: I download these coordinates onto a chip from my Lowrance GPS. I take the chip and download that information onto my home computer. The coordinates are arranged on my computer according to lakes. This information remains in a file at home until I load it back onto my GPS, whenever I fish that particular lake again. I’ve been using this system for a few years, and it’s been helpful.
Question: Kevin, did you run your old spots from 2-years ago during the practice days at Kentucky Lake?
VanDam: Yes, I did. I ran them on my first day of practice. Running these old coordinates, I found four or five schools of bass, but none were very big – at least, that’s what I thought. However, I knew a bunch of fish were in these spots.
Question: Did you fish only your old spots?
VanDam: No, I found some new sites in the same regions where my old places were. I checked out the surrounding regions also.
Question: Kevin, what did you learn in practice?
VanDam: I learned that there were enough bass holding on enough spots for me to do well in the tournament. I knew I’d spend all 3 days running ledges. After 3 days of practice, I probably had a dozen good locations holding big schools of fish. You have to remember, I was making only two casts and catching two bass on each place, so I had no idea what numbers of fish those spots were holding. I felt really good about the number of locations I found concentrating bass.
Question: What lures were you using during practice, Kevin?
VanDam: Primarily, I used the Series 6 Strike King crank bait in the sexy shad and chartreuse colors, and the Football Head jig with a Rage Craw trailer. I also used the Sexy Spoon, but you’ll hear more about that later. But now’s really the time of year to use the Sexy Spoon.
Question: What color Football Head jig and Rage Craw did you use?
VanDam: I fished the brown-and-purple Football Head jig and the green-pumpkin Rage Craw trailer.
Tomorrow: The First Day of the Tournament