New BASS Angler of the Year for 2010 – Kevin VanDam
Day 1:Kevin VanDam – the Kid Who Could
Editor’s Note: Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, won his 6th Angler-of-the-Year title last week in July, 2010, using some brand-new Strike King Lures.
About 20-years ago, a brash young man from Kalamazoo, Michigan, announced to the world that he planned to take on the big boys from the South in professional bass fishing – names like Rick Clunn, Larry Nixon and Mark Davis – seasoned veterans with proven records of not only bass-fishing experience but also bass tournament wins’ credentials. Many wondered at the time how this skinny young man who hadn’t lived as long as most of the best of the best at that time had been fishing even had the confidence to take-on the best bass fishermen in the world. But VanDam told everyone, “One day I’ll fish in the Bassmaster Classic. One day I’ll win it.” Little did anyone know that not only would Kevin VanDam win the Classic, but that also one day he would set the standard in bass-fishing excellence. VanDam’s such a great competitor that today the big surprise on the tournament circuit is when he doesn’t win.
Going into the last leg of this year’s Angler-of-the-Year contest in July, 2010, and fishing on the Alabama River set-up to be a Kevin VanDam kind of tournament. Sitting in third place for the Angler-of-the-Year award while going into the final tournament to decide that title, Kevin VanDam was well within reach of his nemesis, Skeet Reese of California. Reese had been hot as a pistol on the BASS circuit during 2010. Like last year, Reese came into the Angler-of-the-Year shootout in first place for securing the title. “Skeet’s in control of his own destiny,” VanDam explained. “He can win or lose the title.” Lying off the pace and in third place, VanDam kicked his fishing up a notch. Like a great thoroughbred, when VanDam saw an opening running for home, he grabbed another gear and with a lightning strike captured his third Angler-of-the-Year award.
Since the introduction of Strike King’s Sexy Shad, VanDam’s signature color, back in 2007, he’s won two post-season events, seven Elite Series events, three Angler-of-the-Year titles and one Bassmaster Classic. However, VanDam also has set a new standard in lure making. “I help design many of the lures I fish with, as do the other Strike King pros,” VanDam says. “Oftentimes it’s that little extra that we design into a lure that gives us the edge to win.” In the Angler-of-the-Year event, VanDam used three of Strike King’s new lures that just came to the outdoor market in July, 2010 – the new Strike King Series 5 Sexy Shad and two shallow-running crankbaits from Strike King, the KVD 2.5 and KVD 1.5. Let’s take a look at what Kevin VanDam is doing to produce tournament-winning lures for you and me to improve our bass fishing.
For more information on Strike King’s top-quality lures, click here.