2007 Major - Legends
The Bassmaster Legends was moved to from Little Rock north to Lake Dardanelle because, BASS officials said, the amount of water in the Arkansas River would endanger the safety of its professional fishermen.
Heading into the BassMaster Legends we find that lake levels have dropped a foot since earlier in the week on Lake Dardanelle as well.
Fish that had been bunched up behind structure during practice seemed to feel more comfortable in the diminished current.
KVDs setup for his successful Legends tournament
> Day 1: 5, 15-15
> Day 2: 5, 16-02 (10, 32-01)
> Day 3: 5, 12-08
> Day 4: 5, 16-00 (10, 28-08)
KVD compiled a hefty 16-pound average for 3 of the 4 days. Had he been able to hit that mark on day 3 as well, he would’ve won for the third time this season.
He worked current breaks and jetties on the main river with a spinnerbait, crankbait and jig on days 1 and 2. On the hole course, most of his weigh-in fish were caught on Strike King Series 3 or Series 1 crankbaits.
He said there was a period of about 90 minutes on day 1 during which he caught approximately 100 fish. Only three of them were keeper largemouths (15 inches or longer).
“I caught largemouths, spots, whitefish, stripers, catfish, drum – just about everything you can think of. They were all feeding in that one area.”
Spinnerbait gear: 6’10” medium-heavy Quantum Tour Edition PT Kevin VanDam signature series rod, Quantum Tour Edition PT 1170 casting reel (7:1 gear ratio), 20-pound Bass Pro Shops XPS monofilament line, 3/8-ounce Strike King signature series spinnerbait (blue shad with Colorado/Indiana blade combination).
Jig gear: 7’4” heavy-action Quantum Tour Edition PT rod, same reel, 20-pound XPS fluorocarbon, 3/8-ounce
Strike King Denny Brauer Pro-Model jig (black/blue), Strike King Denny Brauer Chunk trailer (blue).
Crankbait gear: 7’ medium-action Quantum Energy fiberglass rod, Quantum Energy 750 casting reel (5:1 ratio), 14-pound XPS fluorocarbon, Strike King Series 3 or Series 1 crankbait (sexy shad).
KVDs Main factor in his success – “One thing that really helped me was my previous knowledge of the hole course (from Elite 50s in 2004 and ’05).”
Performance edge – “My Biosonix unit played a big role (in making the Top 12). I had a couple of places where they were schooling, and it helped me keep those fish aggressive. Lots of times the shad came right up to the speaker on the trolling motor and bass were busting them right at the boat.”
KVD audio updates in from the Legends tourney
Kevin called in from the road to leave some updates on his top 3 finish in the Legends tournament from Arkansas. Click here to head to the audio gallery.
Kevin finishes strong, 3rd in the Legends
Kevin finished right at the top in 3rd place, less than 2 pounds from the championship in the Bassmaster Legends. Full report and pictures coming…
Kevin near the top for the final day
After following up his day 1 (15-5) performance with another rock solid day 2 (16-2), KVD made it to the final two day top 12 finals. Sitting in the 3rd overall spot, Kevin will aim for his 3rd tournament victory of the season. The top 12 will fish the last 2 days of the tournament starting back at 0 pounds overall to begin.
Day 3 outlook:
“With the rain, I think the fish are going to be more aggressive in every hole on the course,” VanDam said. “They’ll bite a little bit better.”
Early day 3 report:
Kevin VanDam and local favorite Scott Rook began the day sharing hole six, and both simply dropped their trolling motors at the take-off to begin fishing a long rock jetty extending from the ramp. They passed each other numerous times, both traveling in opposite and the same directions, and casually visited as they worked the same area for almost the entire period.
A small flotilla of spectator boats respectfully kept their distance, while as many as 50 more spectators viewed from the jetty. It is a great place for a rare chance to follow the action.
Kevin VanDam struck first, but the fish was not a keeper. Largemouth must be 15 inches on the Arkansas River system, while you can keep spotted bass over 12 inches.
VanDam caught another short largemouth and then lost one more before Rook finally set the hook on a nice fish about 9:34. It appeared to be barely long enough, and he threw it into the livewell, hoping to cull it later. Both anglers left the ramp area and stopped to fish the entrance to the Russellville Marina for the last 15 minutes of the period.
KVD in 7th after day 1 -- 15-15
Three-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam thrives in any bass fishing environment — hot or cold, river or lake. He knows that even if he doesn’t figure out the fish on Lake Dardanelle this week, one of the Elite Series pros will.
“It’s river fishing, which really doesn’t change much, but what is unusual is the amount of current for this time of year,” VanDam said. “It’s too much really.
“With the 9 a.m. takeoff, we are losing that early morning bite when the bass are feeding. By the time we get to them, they are sucked up under the (aquatic vegetation) mats, or buried back in the grass, or deep under a dock.
“They are not feeding, so you have to make them react. But it will be good; these guys are the best in the world.
“You are also not going to win it in one spot. You are going to have to be on the move, and fish a lot of different techniques, a lot of different lures. Especially on that six-hole course. I love fishing that way; I would love to make it in to that course.”
Only the top 12 anglers after two days on Lake Dardanelle qualify to fish the six-hole course, which is set up in Illinois Bayou and off limits to the anglers until Saturday.
“The course would normally be really good,” VanDam said. “I have fished that area in the past, but now it’s August. The river is running, but the course is not in the river at all. You won’t be able to carry over the techniques you qualified with into these holes, typically. You have to be very versatile.”
“The key thing here is you have to make the top 12. From there on to the course it is anybody’s shot. First you have to get there. You have to focus on being in the top 12.”
Boyd Duckett - 30-1
Jason Quin - 29-5
Kevin VanDam - 28-8
Dean Rojas - 26-3
Ish Monroe - 23-0
Timmy Horton - 16-11
Aaron Martens - 11-9
Greg Hackney - 10-8
Scott Rook - 7-1
Mark Tyler - 6-3
Fred Roumbanis - 5-0
Jared Lintner - 3-10
History & Notes;
Day 3: Jason Quinn 5-6
Day 4: Kevin VanDam 4-4
- In 1984 and 1985, Pine Bluff hosted Bassmaster Classics on the Arkansas River. Rick Clunn won the 1984 Classic with a record catch weighing 75-9. It was Clunn’s third Classic victory.
- The 1984 Classic is also famous for the presence of two political giants. As Clunn accepted his championship trophy, he was congratulated on stage by future Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton.
- Jack Chancellor bested the field at the 1985 Classic with 45 pounds of Arkansas River bass that fell to a Do Nothing worm on a Carolina rig. His win started a “French fry” worm craze.
- The 2007 Bassmaster Legends tournament will be BASS’ first visit to the Arkansas River since 1996 when Elite Series pro Mike McClelland won with 25-2.