John's Journal...

Victory from Defeat with Kevin VanDam on Lake Dardanelle

The Second Day of Competition

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If we learn how tournament fishermen achieve success consistently, we’ll be able to take those lessons and use them to reach success in our family and work lives every day. At the 2009 BASS Elite Series tournament held on Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Arkansas, March 26-29, Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, demonstrated how to deal with adversity, what to do when you’re in the middle of a crisis, and how never giving up can lead to victory. We’ll learn how VanDam has become one of the most-successful bass fishermen, as well as an accomplished businessman and family man. We all experience struggles, but how we deal with them dramatically impacts our success.Click to enlarge

Question: Kevin, did you go to your honey hole first thing in the morning on the second day of competition?
VanDam: Yes, I did, and so did two other competitors who were getting bites and catching bass, there. I started catching bass as soon as I put my trolling motor down. I used theStrike King KVD swim jig and the Caffeine Shad. I stayed in this section almost the entire second day of competition. I wanted to work as much of the area and catch as many bass as I could out of that spot. I caught a much-better bag of bass the second day than I did the first day. I had 18 pounds of bass for the second day of fishing. The water was still warm and high, and the bass moved into the region wanting to spawn.

Question: How many competitors were in the same section where you fished?
VanDam: There were three competitors in the top five fishing the same area I fished within 200 yards of me. Too, there were eight of the top-12 fishermen fishing in that same general region. Click to enlarge

Question: Were there any competitors fishing really close to you or fishing the same water you were fishing?
VanDam: Yes, I had two guys fishing the same water I was fishing.

Question: How do you handle that mentally?
VanDam: All three of us knew we’d found the same bass. There was a lot of water to fish there, and each of us had to figure out how we’d catch the bass we needed to win. I was fishing differently than the other guys on the same water. So, it didn’t really matter.

Question: You don’t normally like to fish in a crowd. Why did you stay in the crowd and fish this one section?Click to enlarge
VanDam: I knew there were plenty of bass holding there, and I couldn’t go anywhere else that had more or bigger bass. Besides, these other competitors had figured out the same thing I did, and we were all doing really well.

Question: In what place were you after the second day of competition?
VanDam: I moved up to third place, and Mark Menendez of Paducah, Kentucky, was leading the tournament. I was 5 pounds behind Mark, and when I found out that because of weather, the third day of competition had been canceled, I knew I’d have a tough time coming up with those 5-additional pounds.  Mark’s a good fisherman, he was having a great tournament, and I knew he’d be tough to beat. As the weatherman had predicted, we had a strong cold front with high winds move onto the lake on the third day when the competition was canceled. That cold weather stayed on the lake for the last day of competition too.

Tomorrow: Final Day of Competition – When All Hell Breaks Loose

Check back each day this week for more about "Victory from Defeat with Kevin VanDam on Lake Dardanelle"

Day 1: What I Learned in Practice
Day 2: The First Day of Competition
Day 3: The Second Day of Competition
Day 4: Final Day of Competition – When All Hell Breaks Loose
Day 5: Start Thinking about Tomorrow and Solving Problems In the Middle of the Disaster


Entry 504, Day 3