Monday, February 22, 2010

The greatest bass angler in the world

(photo courtesy of BASS)

While I am not a tournament angler, I must admit that part of the perks of being an outdoor writer involve fishing and riding along with some of the best bass anglers on the planet. Having followed the professional tournament circuits for years and written articles with tournament anglers I have come to appreciate what these guys do.

I will now make a statement that should not shock anyone. The best bass angler on the planet is not a good ole southern boy, but is a well spoken man from Michigan. In my mind Kevin VanDam cemented that title with his win in this weekend’s Bassmaster Classic on Alabama’s Lay Lake.

For those keeping score, that is KVD’s third Classic win to go along with his five BASS Angler of the year titles. Only the legendary Rick Clunn has more Classic wins (four) and only Roland Martin has more AOY titles (nine). VanDam has a chance to storm past both.

He broke on the big time scene in 1989 as a 22-year-old rookie and won his first BASS Angler of the Year in 1992. He also captured that title in 1996, 1999, 2008 and 2009. He won the FLW Angler of the Year title in 2001. His other two Classic titles came in 2001 and 2005. In addition he is the all-time leading money winner on the BASS circuit with over $4.5 million dollars.

His focus and mental toughness rival that of greats in other sports, such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. He has the ability to intimidate his fellow anglers, particularly when he is at or near the top of the leader board. When talking about this mental approach, longtime outdoor scribe Alan Clemons compared him to the late NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt on the Fishing Wire ( this morning.

“I've watched both, Earnhardt and VanDam, and they're linked by several similarities including relentless determination, fierce competitiveness, uncanny skills and the ability to create doubt,” Clemons said. “Doubt in the minds of their competitors. Doubt that even their best effort on the best days might not be good enough, and they wonder how to throw up roadblocks.”

High praise for the king of bass tournament fishing.

To read more about KVD’s win you can go to the official Bassmaster web site at :

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