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Kevin VanDam Breaks the $3 Million All-Time Career Winnings Mark at the 2008 Kentucky Lake Elite Event

The First Day of the Tournament

Click to enlargeEditor’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, 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: Kevin, what did you decide to do on the first day of the tournament?
VanDam: Since I was in the third flight, I so decided to make a long run. I ran about an hour south of Paris Landing and stopped on a ledge where I caught 15 pounds or more at the first stop. There were many local boats watching, and Tim Horton, who finished second, was fishing on a different part of the same ledge.

Question: What did you catch bass with on the first ledge?
VanDam: I used the Strike King Series 6 crankbait in the sexy shad color.Click to enlarge

Question: How were you working the Series 6?
VanDam: I cast it on top of the ledge and wound back very hard, so it would dig the bottom and come off the ledge. The bass were very active, so I didn’t slow down to fish the jig. I caught all those fish on that first ledge using the Series 6 crankbait in the sexy shad color.

Question: How big was the biggest bass you caught on your first stop?
VanDam: The largest bass I caught there was about 3-1/2-pounds.

Question: How much spectator pressure did you receive?
VanDam: At least 25 boats watched me fish, but these boats weren’t a problem. The spectators respected my fishing and were courteous. I reached the first spot, and the spectators just began showing up. Click to enlarge

Question: After you left your first fishing place, what happened?
VanDam: Although I caught many bass at this place, the 4-pound bass I caught was the only fish capable of upgrading my stringer. So, I left to travel to my third spot. When I reached my third place, the game was on. I was catching a 4-pound bass on each cast. I culled up 20 pounds in only a few minutes. When that bite slowed down on the crankbait, I cast the Strike King Sexy Spoon. On my second cast, I caught a 6-poundbass that added a few more dollars to my check. I didn’t travel to any more spots after putting this 6-pound bass in the boat on the first day. At the end of the first day, I had almost 25 pounds. I went early to the weigh-in to make sure my fish didn’t die, and so I wouldn’t receive a penalty. Also, I didn’t want to reveal my other spots to the 30 boats watching me fish. Once you fish a spot, often the locals will move in to fish the same spot.

Question: How were you working the Sexy Spoon?Click to enlarge
VanDam: I cast it out and let it sink on a tight line. Once it hit the bottom, I snapped it hard and then let it flutter back down to the bottom. The bass were taking the bait on the fall. By snapping the bait off the bottom, I was causing the bass to react to the lure.

Question: You haven’t fished a jig and spoon very often have you?
VanDam: Yes, but I haven’t fished anything like the Sexy Spoon previously. This type lure just became popular over the last year. Kelly Jordan was the first guy I saw use a spoon, and henearly won the tournament here on Kentucky Lake with this type of spoon. I roomed with him during that tournament, so I saw the spoon before anyone else did. Since then, all the tournament fishermen have kept this kind of spoon a secret because they don’t want other fishermen using this technique. However, the majority of fishermen in this tournament were fishing with the Sexy Spoon.

Question: What place were you in at the end of the first day?
VanDam: I was in first place by about 2 pounds.

Tomorrow: The Second Day of the Tournament

Check back each day this week for more about "Kevin VanDam Breaks the $3 Million All-Time Career Winnings Mark at the 2008 Kentucky Lake Elite Event"

Day 1: Practicing for the Tournament
Day 2: The First Day of the Tournament
Day 3: The Second Day of the Tournament
Day 4: The Third Day of the Tournament
Day 5: The Final Day of the Tournament


Entry 462, Day 2