Wow, what an event! The weights did end up being huge like I expected, maybe even bigger then I expected, but not who I saw winning before it all started. Cut right to the chase, Kevin VanDam dominated this event and rewrote a bunch of the record books this weekend.
In & around a host of fellow competitors, VanDam whacked a 28-00 day-3 creel at the 2011 New Orleans Bassmaster Classic & won easily by a monstrous 10 1/2-pound margin. His 69-11, 15-fish total smashed the previous Bassmaster Classic total-weight record of 56-02 set by Luke Clausen at Toho in 2006.
The win continues a streak that may never be matched for as long as the sport endures. With his win today:
# Equalled Rick Clunn for most Classic victories (4) & Joined Clunn, who was previously the only angler to win back-to-back Classics.
# Won his 3rd Classic in 6 years.
# Won 5 of the 6 most recent major B.A.S.S. titles ? Angler of the Year (AOY) in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and the Classic in 2010 and 2011.
# Inched within a single win of Roland Martin’s record for total career B.A.S.S. wins (19). (VanDam’s 2 12-boat-field post-season wins not included.)
# Surpassed Roland Martin’s record of 9 major B.A.S.S. titles. Roland won 9 AOY titles. VanDam has now won 6 AOY titles and 4 Classics. (Martin still holds the record for most AOY titles).
# Became the only angler ever to win 2 Classics on the same venue.
# Set a new 3-day (5 bass limit) Classic weight record of 69-11.
# Eclipsed the previously unthinkable mark of $5 million in career earnings.
KVD: Photo courtesy of BASS – Jerry Cunningham
KVD did it by finding a great pod of big fish in an area that he had them coming to him, in true pre-spawn fashion, but so did several others. So how did he separate him self from many other great anglers fishing the same water, luck? Not hardly, after being glued to the coverage all they way through the post tourney press conferences, here are the bullet points on why I believe he pulled away from the field:
– Put tournament in his control, by finding right fish close enough he was not effected by fog and short fishing times
– Day 2, he felt the fish stop eating his spinnerbait they did on day 1 early on, he made a critical bait switch to a crankbait, his signature Strike King 1.5 Square Bill (chart blk back), before others clued in. That is how he got his seperation on day 2.
– He also dialed in to the retrieves and what triggered this fish better each day then his competitors, example he used a 5.4:1 signature Quantam reel , which helped him slow down his crankbait better then other anglers that he said were fishing too fast much of the time.
– Magic Cookies don’t hurt either!!!
I think Brent Chapman had a chance, but I think in the end it was “our” warm water up north that cost him on the final day. He said his Mississippi River fed area dropped water temperature 10 degrees over night. So my guess is that all the melting snow in the Midwest finally reached him and cooled the water down enough to push back his fish enough to take him out of shot, although it’s doubtful that Venice area even when perfect could produce 25lb plus bags like Lake Cataouatche did.
KVD credited all his signature Quantam gear spooled with 20lb fluorocarbon, and two lures (Signature Spinnerbait in Chartreuse Sexy Shad Exclusive to BassPro& his new Strike King 1.5 Square Bill in Chart/Blk), better get them fast, because they will sell fast!!!
Hats off to Derek Remitz, fished a great tourney, just could not get big bites on day 1 ended in 3rd and also Federation Nation Champion Brandon Palaniuk who ended up 4th, not sure why I took him off my Fantasy Team at the last minute I look forward to watching Brandon on the Elite Series this year.