John's Journal...

Learn How Michigan’s Kevin VanDam Won the Bassmaster Angler-of-the-Year Title Again

Day 5: Kevin VanDam Explains How the New Summer Sexy Shad Color Helped Him Win Angler of the Year

Editor’s Note: Kevin VanDam won his 7th Bassmaster Angler-of-the-Year title and his 4th consecutive AOY title on Saturday, June 18, 2011, at the Wheeler Lake tournament. We wanted to know how he did it.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Kevin, what was another turning point for you in the race for the 2011 Angler-of-the-Year title?

VanDam: One of the tournaments I was most concerned about was the Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament on the Arkansas River in Little Rock, Arkansas. This tournament was held before the tournament at Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Alabama. The Arkansas River had flooded before we got there. Click for Larger ViewThe river levels were dropping, but the river was still pretty high. The Arkansas River is a tough fishery. There are four pools you can fish, but you have to deal with the locks. If you run through those locks, there’s a possibility that you may be blocked-out on your run back by a barge already in the lock when you arrive there. However, I decided to make a long run to Pine Bluff and go through two locks. Making that long run, I knew I’d only have 2 or 3 hours per day to fish. I went to Pine Bluff and caught most of my bass on the KVD 1.5 crankbait. I caught a limit on both days. Because I had two good days on the Arkansas River, I moved-up in the standings. Before we reached Arkansas, I was trailing Terry Scroggins in the race for the Angler-of-the-Year title, but I made a top-12 finish at the Arkansas River, putting me in the lead for the AOY Tournament.

Question: You mentioned that you fished the KVD 1.5 crankbait in that tournament. What color did you fish?

VanDam: I fished a new color for the 2011-2012 season, the Summer Sexy Shad, which won’t be introduced until about July of 2011.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: What makes this new color special?

VanDam: It’s a more-subtle color of Sexy Shad, and it fits that niche for water that’s a little clear. This color isn’t very bright. The water on the Arkansas River this summer was more clear and not quite as dingy as you often find there at this time of year.

Question: What does winning your 4th consecutive Angler-of-the-Year championship mean to you?

VanDam: Every Angler-of-the-Year championship is important and exciting to win. I’ve won seven, and Roland Martin has won nine. However, I’m the only angler who’s won four consecutive times, and that’s special. Roland has won three consecutive AOY titles.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: How much do you win for the AOY title?

VanDam: I won $100,000. The money is important, but finishing 1st in the points standing is really difficult, especially competing against all these great anglers on the Elite Circuit. I’m really excited to have won it. It wasn’t an easy win, and we didn’t know until the last tournament of the year that I had a chance to win it. The day after the 2011 Bassmaster Classic ends, we all start fishing for the AOY title. Winning the title proves your consistency over the entire year. It also proves the consistency of the Strike King lures I’ve fished. So, this was a great win for me personally and for Strike King and all my sponsors.

Check back each day this week for more about "Learn How Michigan’s Kevin VanDam Won the Bassmaster Angler-of-the-Year Title Again "

Day 1: Bassmaster’s 2011 Angler-of-the-Year Title Is Won by Kevin VanDam at the Wheeler Lake Tournament
Day 2: Kevin VanDam Explains How Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes Helped Him Win His 2011 Bassmaster’s Angler-of-the-Year Title
Day 3: Kevin VanDam Does Sight-Fishes for Bass at the St. John’s River Tournament
Day 4: Kevin VanDam’s Concern about Lake West Point Since He’d Never Fished There
Day 5: Kevin VanDam Explains How the New Summer Sexy Shad Color Helped Him Win Angler of the Year

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Entry 619, Day 5