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2013 Elite Series Plano Championship Chase


The AOY race is heating up as KVD makes a final push to jump ahead of Edwin Evers for the 2013 title

Tour Review

Kevin finished 3rd for AOY on Lake St. Clair
AOY standings - day 3, Lake St. Clair


1 Aaron Martens 661
2 Edwin Evers 640
3 Kevin VanDam 624
4 Bobby Lane 619
5 Keith Combs 612
6 Alton Jones 590
7 John Crews 578
8 Chris Zaldain 562
9 Todd Faircloth 534
10 Cliff Crochet 530
11 Ish Monroe 528
12 Cliff Pace 520


KVD, JVD fishing next to each other on day 3

Kevin and Jonathon VanDam are fishing 100 feet apart in 13 feet of water not far from the launch location.  KVD makes cast after cast.



Lake St. Clair day 3, AM report
Day 2 weigh in - KVD with members of the Detroit Lions

Kevin takes the stage for day 2 of the Lake St. Clair championship, with members of the Detroit Lions: Jason Fox, Riley Reiff, and Willie Young.

AOY standings after day 2 on Lake St. Clair


1 Aaron Martens 662
2 Edwin Evers 640
3 Kevin VanDam 628
4 Bobby Lane 617
5 Keith Combs 613
6 John Crews 576
7 Alton Jones 572
8 Chris Zaldain 562
9 Cliff Crochet 542
10 Cliff Pace 530
11 Ish Monroe 528
12 Todd Faircloth 524


Day 2 PM report from Lake St. Clair
The home lake curse


Fishing your home lake can be a double-edge sword.

When conditions get really tough it can be an advantage because you know places that typically hold fish and you know what the fish do when you have a big weather change.

It’s really an advantage on lakes where blueback herring is a major forage or even smallmouth lakes where you kinda know what smallmouth do with different weather changes.

But St. Clair is a different animal because it has a vast playing field. You not only have Lake St. Clair, but there’s Lake Erie, Huron, the Detroit River and St. Clair River. Each one is different in many ways, plus the large area makes them hard to practice thoroughly during the three-day practice period.

The forage base is diversified, too. You have perch, bluegills, alewives, gobies, emerald shiners and crayfish so you really have to dial into the specific forage the base are targeting at that time. On Southern lakes, you’ve pretty much got shad, some bluegill and crawfish.

So, yes, I felt pretty good about my chances coming into this event. I figured my knowledge and experience would help me out.

I was here with my boys prior to the practice cut-off, and we caught them well on St. Clair. We had doubles and triples on, and the fish were fat and healthy.

I knew St. Clair was the place to fish. Making long runs into Erie and Huron can be risky and you can win at St. Clair.

But a lot has changed in a month and perhaps my history here has hurt me.

The St. Clair fish are in poor shape and that amazes me. Something is wrong with the forage. The lake is producing 20-inch fish with sucked in bellies. They’re running a pound less in many instances.

I’ve never seen this before and I’m completely blown away by how the condition of these fish has deteriorated in five weeks.

This tournament serves as another example of why keeping an open mind is so critical and how the so-called home lake advantage can hurt you.

It gets harder and harder for me to not think about the past and fish from memories. That’s not only the case here but at the other lakes we fish on the Elite Series.

Elite pros unfamiliar with this fishery went online before the cut-off and saw that most of the local and regional tournaments were being won on Erie fish. That led them to the decision to run there, and they’re being rewarded for it.

Erie and the rivers are producing healthier, fatter fish, but I have to stay with St. Clair. I haven’t fished Erie for five years and didn’t even bring those waypoints with me. I know places down there, but it wouldn’t be right for me to go there and fish in the area of one of the leaders.

So, I will stay with my plan on St. Clair and hope for the best. One positive note is the weather could change and that might affect the guys running elsewhere. I know what to do on St. Clair, but to have a chance, I’ve got to find and catch bigger fish. I found some in practice but they didn’t bite yesterday. Can I catch 22-plus pounds? No, but if the leaders slip up I can be in the hunt.

My goal is to gain ground each day, make the cuts and hope that the anglers fishing other waters stumble. It’s going to be a tough uphill climb but I’m up for the challenge!

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

KVD day 1 PM report from Lake St. Clair
AOY standings after day 1 on Lake St Clair


1 Aaron Martens 661
2 Edwin Evers 615
3 Keith Combs 610
4 Kevin VanDam 606
5 Bobby Lane 598
6 Chris Zaldain 587
7 John Crews 582
8 Alton Jones 569
9 Ish Monroe 562
10 Todd Faircloth 544
11 Cliff Pace 537
12 Skeet Reese 532


Day 1 updates from Lake St. Clair


10:45 AM EDT, AUG 22, 2013 | BY MARK HICKS

We took a long run around the north end of Lake St. Clair and spotted few of the pros. We ran into KVD again fishing in the same general area where he was earlier today.

He is still power fishing, casting and winding, and his trolling motor is moving him along at a brisk pace.

I notice that KVD is not making the supersonic long casts for which he is known. I suspect that he has shortened his casts so he can snap his bait free of the grass more easily.

The breeze has subsided. Even though many of the pros complained of slow fishing, I believe there will be several bags brought in that exceed 20 pounds. The conditions are just too conducive for catching today.

KVD is on the move. We did not get a chance to find out how many he has. If you're betting that he has a limit, the odds are with you.


9:14 AM EDT, AUG 22, 2013 | BY MARK HICKS

We start to idle away from KVD when he sets the hook with his long baitcasting rod. He's into a good bass and takes his time with it.
After working the bass at boatside for awhile, he swings what looks to be a 4-pounder over the side with his rod. The bass is quickly fixed to a culling float and dropped into his livewell.
We move a quarter mile or so to where JVD is fishing. He's drop shot fishing and has four in the box. Two of them will go 4 pounds.
"They look terrible," JVD says.
I heard that comment from several of the pros last night.

8:55 AM EDT, AUG 22, 2013 | BY MARK HICKS

We've been watching KVD casting and winding for several minutes without a fish. That doesn't seem right, given that he's the No. 1 bass angler fishing the No. 1 bass lake in the country.

KVD is doing his thing, working hard and snapping his bait through the top of the grass. Browning tells me that the fishing at St.Clair has been slow lately. He also says that he has had to resort to slow presentations. It's unlikely that KVD will slow down.

KVD switches rods. The bait is different but he is still power fishing. He appears to be committed to this area. The smallies are still thumbing their noses at him. They must not know who he is.



8:29 AM EDT, AUG 22, 2013 | BY MARK HICKS


I'm sharing a boat today with hard working photographer Darren Jacobson, who will prepare a gallery for later today.

Our boat driver today is Richard Browning from Roseville, MI. He has fished St. Clair for 25 years.

Our assignment today was to find King KVD and to stick with him. KVD said he would be fishing close to the Metropark.
We drove around for an hour before finally finding him. He's in the middle of the lake power fishing. No surprise there.
Jonathon VanDam is nearby, so this appears to be a family affair. There are two other tournament boats in sight.
I'm surprised to see JVD here. I expected him to run up the St. Clair River.
The water here is about 15 feet deep, Browning tells me. That means KVD is fishing submerged grass.
It's warm with a steady breeze and mostly overcast. There's a good chlop on the surface but not enough to hinder the fishing or prevent any of the pros from running to their fish.
It may get bumpy for the guys running to Erie, but they should have little trouble getting there and back.
KVD has one in the box. We don't know how big it is. He just caught what Browning called a silver bass.
News Flash! KVD just got a backlash. Even the Great One can't avoid them on every cast.

KVD day 1 AM - report from Lake St. Clair
2013 Elite Series Plano Championship Chase
Lake St. Clair / Detroit River, Detroit, Michigan
Aug 22 - Aug 26, 2013


Chris Lane - 82-4
1. 22-9, 2. 17-1, 3. 22-15, 4. 19-11
Mark Davis - 76-13
1. 22-1, 2. 20-10, 3. 20-15, 4. 13-3
Alton Jones - 76-6
1. 18-2, 2. 20-3, 3. 21-8, 4. 22-3
Takahiro Omori - 76-0
1. 18-2, 2. 20-3, 3. 17-0, 4. 20-11
Nate Wellman - 75-11
1. 17-7, 2. 18-3, 3. 20-8, 4. 19-9
Kotaro Kiriyama - 74-4
1. 20-7, 2. 20-0, 3. 17-6, 4. 16-7
Morizo Shimizu - 74-2
1. 17-0, 2. 18-9, 3. 20-11, 4. 17-14
Randy Howell - 71-5
1. 20-4, 2. 18-7, 3. 16-7, 4. 16-3
Jeremy Starks - 71-4
1. 18-13, 2. 18-4, 3. 17-14, 4. 16-5
Keith Combs - 68-11
1. 20-4, 2. 18-7, 3. 16-14, 4. 12-3
Derek Remitz - 63-7
1. 19-10, 2. 15-15, 3. 22-5, 4. 5-9
Aaron Martens - 62-2
1. 21-14, 2. 19-9, 3. 20-11
Kevin VanDam - 47-15
1. 15-6, 2. 17-7, 3. 15-2
Edwin Evers - 30-1
1. 13-1, 2. 17-0

History & Notes;

Big Bass

day 1: Chris Lane - 5-12

day 2: Chris Lane - 5-12

day 3: Alton Jones - 5-13