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2007 Southern Challenge


Don’t be surprised to see the usual suspects return to the finals this week. Many of the top anglers have fished Lake Guntersville for years. Last years finals included an All Star cast of KVD, Iaconelli, Swindle, Horton, Evers, Rojas, Omori, Kennedy, and Jones.

Webmasters note: During the Elite Series event at Lake Guntersville last year KVD gave some advice for the crowd before he left the stage. I remember the exact bait he recommended to the local anglers. I watched him tie that bait on several poles the night before. Let’s hope his competitors weren’t listening.

Tour Review

KVD Southern Challenge audio has been posted

Updates from Kevin have been posted from the Southern Challenge. Check the audio page for updates from KVD’s championship run.

KVD takes home the Southern Challenge 2007 Title -- 22-5 day 3 bag

KVD takes home his first regular season win of the 07 Elite Series with a win on Lake Guntersville. By a convincing 7 pound margin Kevin left no doubt he’d be the victor on this day.

“Without a doubt, this is the top series that there is in the world,” VanDam said. “These guys are really good. And I’ve been waiting since the inception of the Elite Series to win one. It’s been a while since I’ve won a regular-season event.”

KVD struggled to find fish early on Sunday, but after two moves, was able to boat a 20-pound limit by 9 a.m. “That gave me the confidence to sit down and fish real slow.”

“When it got sunny and bright (as it did Sunday), I could catch them ripping that crankbait out of the grass, better than with the spinner,” he said. “But after lunchtime, the spinner was better.”

VanDam said the shad bite was key in the overwhelming majority of his catches during the Southern Challenge. “If the shad get active, then the bass get active,” he said. “If they get nervous and start following your bait, the bass are sure take a look at it.”

KVD in the final 12

KVD stayed solid on the 2nd day of fishing, finishing the first 2 days in 4th place with 40-14 total.

Fishing: “I’ve been throwing a Strike King ¾-ounce Kevin VanDam Pro Model spinner bait and a Strike King Series 5 crank bait in a shad color.”

Where: “I’m kind of fishing the main lake, mid-lake areas. I’m just running some different ledges and points, things like that.”

Keys: “I’d like to see some wind and clouds and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get any. But it’s just going to be executing; capitalizing on my opportunities. The fish are out there.”

1st day of fishing a good one for KVD

Kevin showed that Lake Guntersville suits his style with a 21-04 bag good for 3rd place on day 2. After day 1 fishing was cancelled due to weather day 2 showed KVD not missing a step. Kevin is set up to make a top run the next 2 days of the tournament.

“I‘m not close to the bank, but I am covering a lot of water,” said KVD. “This lake really suits my style of fishing, a good bag of fish is not too far way, and you can really get them with a spinnerbait here around the grass, especially with wind and clouds thrown in. It’s a river reservoir, but it fishes a lot like the natural lakes back home.”
Day 1 audio update

Kevin was rested and upbeat, even with the stormy weather postponing day 1 in Alabama.

The tournament will go on Friday and Saturday with the full field of 100 anglers. They will not cut the field to 50 on Saturday. The final 12 will make Sunday’s final day of competition.

Audio updates from KVD have been posted:
KVD Audio Gallery

Day 1 Cancelled

Day 1 action from Lake Guntersville, AL has been cancelled due to impending thunderstorms.

KVD got the call while waiting with fellow Elite Series anglers under a tent at the launch point:
“The bottom line is from an organization’s standpoint, it’s awful hard for them from a liability standpoint to send us out (in weather like this,)” VanDam said. “When they’re forecasting awful weather … When you’ve got thunderstorms, possible hail, tornadoes — you can’t blame them for doing it. I saw the radar right before I came out and it’s fixing to drill us. So there’s no question, this was the right thing to do.”

“It’s going to be a post-frontal day tomorrow. Today would have been a great fishing day. But the reality is you’ve got to prepare for tomorrow. This is a pretty severe front. It’s going to affect the bite. It’ll change the fish a bit, not their locations, but their attitude.”

2007 Southern Challenge
Lake Guntersville, Guntersville, Alabama
Apr 26 - Apr 29, 2007


Kevin VanDam - 66-3
Mark Tucker - 59-1
Terry Butcher - 58-4
Terry Scroggins - 58-0
Jason Quin - 57-2
Kelly Jordan - 55-3
Yasuke Miyazaki - 51-9
Alton Jones - 48-0
Kotaro Kiriyama - 46-11
Shaw E Grigsby Jr - 44-13
Ben Matsubu - 43-3
Timmy Horton - 43-1

History & Notes;

2007 Southern Challenge
Big Bass
Day 1: Boyd Duckett — 7-15
Day 2: Rick Ash — 7-9
Day 3: Kevin VanDam — 7-5

Previous Tournaments

  • In 1976, Guntersville hosted the sixth Bassmaster Classic. Rick Clunn won the tournament with a then-Classic record 59 pounds, 15 ounces. It was the first of Clunn’s four Classic championships.
  • Also in the 1976 Classic, Ricky Green caught an 8-pound, 9-ounce bass that stood as the biggest caught in Classic history until 2006.
  • Elite Series pros have dominated on Guntersville in recent years. Michael Iaconelli won with 71-13 in 2006, Zell Rowland took the 2005 Tour event here with 87-0, and Kelly Jordon won the 2002 Tour event with 83-11.
  • It takes a lot to win at Guntersville. The past four Tour and Elite Series events were all won with better than 71 pounds of bass. The highest total was George Cochran’s 99-10 in 2004.
  • Alabama allows gillnetting on Lake Guntersville, and in 2005 North Carolina angler Dustin Wilks was arrested for tampering with a gillnet during the BASS Tour event there. Charges against Wilks were subsequently dismissed.