Live News:

Rayburn is great and will get better

If you have been tuning into Bassmaster LIVE, I don’t have to tell you that Lake Sam Rayburn is a pretty amazing fishery right now. Admittedly, I didn’t do much the first day of the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest to show off the lake. Although my total weight didn’t show what this lake is capable of producing, the tournament is illustrating just how good the bass fishing is here. And man, are we catching a lot of bass. I caught more than 100 yesterday but couldn’t get the big bites that I needed to move higher in the standings. I know …

VanDam family showdown

RIDGELAND, Miss. – There’s a family feud scheduled for the final day at the 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Ross Barnett. In fact, it’s not the first. This is the third time Kevin VanDam and nephew Jonathon VanDam have made Elite Series Top 12 cuts since JVD joined the circuit in 2011. The previous times came during the 2011 season. On the Harris Chain of Lakes, KVD would finish fifth and JVD would finish fourth. Later that season the younger VanDam would find a leg up, finishing sixth while his uncle finished 10th on the Arkansas River. “Our …

‘Pots and pans’ led VanDam to top finish at Ross Barnett 32 years ago

A lot of things change in three decades, so Kevin VanDam is putting in long practice days on Ross Barnett in preparation for this week’s Bassmaster Elite presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, because the only time he fished the shallow reservoir previously was 32 years ago, at the age of 17. “Back then, I was fishing team tournaments and B.A.S.S. Nation Series tournaments around home in Michigan, and my team partner Don Stevens and I qualified for an end-of-the-year tournament down here at Ross Barnett,” explains VanDam. “To be honest, I don’t even remember what trail it was.” He may …

The magnitude of winning

In today’s society, it’s all about winning. It doesn’t matter whether it’s NASCAR, PGA, NBA, MLB or any sport, fans, media and sponsors of those sports gravitate toward winners. You can finish second 17 times or consistently be among the leaders, but nothing delivers the recognition or importance to one’s career like winning does. Especially in our sport of professional bass fishing. Think about this: We have only nine Elite events, one Classic and a Toyota Bassmaster Angler of Year Championship. During the Elite events, there are 110 anglers vying for one spot in those regular season events. Most other sports …

VanDam: “Wind is not your friend on Toledo Bend”

Wednesday morning had a weird vibe at Cypress Bend Park’s well-known boat ramp on Toledo Bend. It was as though all the stars slept in on the final day of practice for the Bassmaster Elite Series presented by EconoLodge. The top-notch boat ramp that normally has 50 to 70 pros launching from it, only had eight at sunrise. Gerald Swindle who is staying nearby, could be seen driving over the hill toward a far more distant ramp. Finally, Skeet Reese showed up at Cypress Bend. Then came Aaron Martens and Kevin VanDam. VanDam had barely put his Tundra in park when …

It’s time to fish for big ‘uns

It’s big bass time across the country, and now is when it’s great to be on the water. We’ve had a warmer-than-average winter and spring is popping earlier than normal. I’m hearing about spawning bass in Texas, Alabama and most of the southern states. In fact, we’ve got a lot of open water in northern states and bass are already showing signs of prespawn activity. When approaching this time of the year you have to remember everything is focused around the spawn. This isn’t so much about going to your favorite lake and throwing your favorite baits. To catch big bass, …

Tough conditions? Deal with it

I have to admit I have the jitters as I compile this blog prior to the start of the Bassmaster Elite on Cherokee Lake. Although this is the start of my 27th season, the pre-tournament jitters are always the same. Especially now. We can usually get those jitters out of the way at the Bassmaster Classic, but this year we’re kicking off the season before the Classic. Every man in this field knows the importance of a good start to the season, and the tournament here on Cherokee is really going to make us step it up a notch. That’s because …

VanDam calls Cherokee Lake a ‘stress sandwich’

A cold 50-degree drizzle couldn’t chill Kevin VanDam’s attitude as he launched for the final day of practice at the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament at Cherokee Lake in East Tennessee, but stress levels are heating up like a bowl of white sausage gravy in the foggy East Tennessee air. For starters, this is the first Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2017 season. Naturally, nobody wants to dig himself a hole capable of burying the season’s goodness right out of the gates. Secondly, the weather here has been like a roller coaster ride you might find 30 minutes from the boat …

Loving the Potomac River

With a spot in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic under my belt, I’m eager to get back to regular business at the Potomac River. I really enjoy fishing there and have had a lot of success. I’ve even won a Bassmaster event there. It’s a really unique fishery, and I like these kinds of challenges. I remember visiting there my first full season on the Bassmaster trail and finding out just how different it was. It looked a lot like the Grand River I fish at home with a lot of shallow grass, but the tidal situation makes it a lot different …

Bracket drama galore

Whoever said the Bassmaster Classic Bracket wouldn’t provide much drama was dead wrong. Only one of the eight pros had anything to sweat, but even so, the head-to-head matches had it all -- tension, drama, intrigue, rallies and potential disasters in various forms. It was an entertaining roller coaster of emotion. Kevin VanDam and Brett Hite had runaway wins in their two-day quarterfinals, and it appeared Jordan Lee was doing the same to Dean Rojas. Lee was up 5 pounds with 15 minutes to go. Then Rojas, who earlier in the week for a trash-talk video said, “Sit aside youngster, let …