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Florida is different

I just wrapped up the first day of the Bassmaster Elite event on the St. Johns River presented by Dick Cepek Tires and Wheels, and I had a pretty good day (20 pounds, 9 ounces for 11th place). Practice and the first day really reminded me of how different the fishing is here in Florida from what I’m used to back home in Michigan. I love sight fishing anywhere and anytime – not just when the big females are on the beds. There’s just something magical about seeing a fish in the water and trying to catch it, whether it weighs …

A Classic to remember

Obviously, my finish didn’t go the way I expected. On the other hand, the event was a huge success in all other aspects and provided the kind of drama that validates why it’s the greatest bass tournament in the world. I would have loved to be on that stage the last day, but I didn’t make the right adjustments when the when the water warmed up. I had a great practice fishing crankbaits in the same areas that produced the top results. I made adjustments, but not the right ones. As good as the catches were, any Classic angler will tell …

Evers slings ‘mudita’

TULSA, Okla. – There’s a Buddhist concept called “mudita,” which is “sympathetic joy” or “happiness in another’s good fortune.” Edwin Evers’ victory in the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro slung a lot of mudita this way. My household was a sloppy mess of mudita because the Oklahoman, who in the past has been so close to winning bass fishing’s major titles, finally won one. Take note that my wife and I have no skin in the game. We’ve never claimed to be fans of anglers. We’re both more like interested observers, objective journalists if you will, just waiting to see what …

It’s game day!

If you are reading this on Friday, chances are I’m somewhere on Grand Lake kicking off my 25th Bassmaster Classic. Believe me; I am just as jacked up as I was in 1991 when I fished my first on Chesapeake Bay. I may be more experienced and savvier as to how to juggle the Classic pressures, but I’m still jittery, excited and full of anticipation. One of my biggest thrills has always been that first day at the launch on opening morning of the Bassmaster Classic. There’s the massive throng of fans who get up early to see us off, the …

Business and fun at the Classic

In my last column I talked about the magnitude of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro and what qualifying and winning can mean to an angler’s career. A Classic win is life-changing, career-making and definitely all it’s cracked up to be. This time, I want to talk about the Classic as a business event, and for that we really need to divide it into two parts – the tournament and the Bassmaster Classic Expo. Everybody knows about the tournament – the biggest and most important event in our sport. But not everyone thinks about the business implications of the Classic. …

The magnitude of the Bassmaster Classic

Nothing in fishing compares to the grandness of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic. Our Elite events are hugely important, but nothing compares to the Classic given the way it’s viewed by fans, the industry, the world and the anglers. That’s why you see anglers who have had tremendous success with other major tours migrating to B.A.S.S. They know their careers aren’t complete until they qualify and compete in the greatest fishing event the world has seen. I’ve been to every one since 1991 and competed in all except for last year, but I was a fan well before that. In my early …

KVD takes lead in fan voting for the Classic

Kevin VanDam has unseated Aaron Martens but not Edwin Evers in our entirely non-scientific polls on who will win the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro on Oklahoma's Grand Lake O' the Cherokees. Even super-scientific polling didn’t predict the Iowa caucuses correctly, so we skipped the scientific part and went straight to our fans on Facebook and Twitter. In two weeks of polling, Martens has led the pack on Twitter and Evers on Facebook. But then we added VanDam into the bracket-style voting, and he got the edge — on Twitter. On Facebook, Evers fans clung tightly to their guy. Let me back …

It’s all about the bait(fish)

Aside from the fact that there is a lot of water to cover here at Sturgeon Bay, another big challenge we face in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of Year Championship is figuring out the bass’ diet. I say that because there are so many options for the smallmouth to feed on here and each species of bait has slightly different characteristics. To complicate things, the fish can change their diets from one day to the next or be targeting one species of bait in one area and an entirely different type of forage in another. Like most fisheries, bass will …

KVD catches six different species on one lure at Sturgeon Bay

Kevin VanDam is the greatest bass angler of the past two decades, and the all-time leader in B.A.S.S. prize money, but based on the healthy abundance of species swimming in Lake Michigan, even “KVD” can’t predict what he’s going to catch on any given cast here at the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year tournament out of Sturgeon Bay. “In the four days I’ve been on the water, I’ve caught king salmon, steelhead, smallmouth bass, northern pike, perch and walleye,” grinned VanDam, a proud Michigan native. “That’s the cool thing about fishing around the Great Lakes, you never know what …

VanDam stole the stage to express his heart for Make-A-Wish

If somehow you found yourself brushing your teeth next to Kevin VanDam, you can be certain he’d try to finish faster, and have his shining brighter than yours. VanDam is a tenacious competitor. Which is what makes his heartfelt stealing of B.A.S.S. emcee Dave Mercer’s microphone to talk about his experiences with Make-A-Wish, moments after finishing a disheartening 63rd on his home lake, even more impressive. In the wake of defeat and disappointment, VanDam brought the equivalent of a 25-pound bag of class and compassion to the stage following Day 2 of competition at the Plano Bassmaster Elite on Lake …
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