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Battle on the Border

Preview

The top anglers in the world head to Del Rio Texas for the first Elite Series stop of the 2007 season.

Tour Review

KVD's Lake Amistad 2007 recap

KevinVanDam.com exclusive

PRACTICE DAY 1 The first thing I assessed was the water temperature, which was in the mid-50s. I started covering pockets and shallower water…10 feet or less…looking for big bass and bait fish. Within an hour or two, I began to realize that I was seeing fewer beds, fewer bass and no bait in those areas where I saw them when we fished here last year.
That told me the fish were going to be more pre-spawn than the season before, so I geared myself to look for ditches and drains leading into spawning areas. The lake conditions were flat and the sky bright, so visibility was phenomenal. I fished fast with a jerkbait and a swimbait and looked for bass in these areas.
I started out in the 25-foot zone and worked my way up the ditches toward the banks. By the end of the day, I had caught 20 bass and my best five would have weighed about 25 pounds. My best lure was a Series 6 Strike King crankbait.

PRACTICE DAY 2 The conditions were different. It was calm in the morning but the wind picked up later. Air temperature was warmer, which caused the water to warm and the bass to move up.
I started throwing a spinnerbait and King shad. I caught the same number of bass, but my best five would have weighed in the low 20s. I caught a lot of 3 and 4 pound bass on a bluegill-colored spinnerbait. They came around deeper trees, but the bass were higher in the water column than the day before, because of the wind.
I also started flipping deep trees with a 1-ounce jig and got some bites, too.
I was fishing different areas of the lake and focusing on areas with large flats, which would be 20 feet deep or less at Amistad. After two days, I covered about 2/3 of the lake.
What I’ve seen here is you can fish through areas and catch a lot of small fish, but when you get in an area with big fish, they will be clustered in a small area. That’s why I used big baits and covered a lot of water. Even though I didn’t catch as much weight as I did the first practice day, I saw of schools of big fish and had 6 to 10 pounders following the 3 pounders I was catching. That showed me the potential of those areas.

PRACTICE DAY 3 The third practice day is shorter because of meetings we must attend. Therefore, I was trying to narrow down areas, patterns and techniques. I expanded on areas where I caught bigger fish the first two days, looking at outlying areas.
In the afternoon, it slicked off and the air temp rose to 80 degrees. With 20 feet of clarity, I started driving around looking into the water for big bass. I saw a number of big fish that had just pulled up and were cruising. The surface temp had warmed to almost 60 degrees but by next morning it was back in the mid 50s. Because the surface temp was warming each day, I felt a lot of fish were coming up to spawn.

COMPETITION DAY 1 – Kevin bags 26-8, but only good for 14th place on this big day.
Conditions – 20 mph winds, cloud cover – were perfect for fishing a clear water lake. Went to my first area and expected them to eat a spinnerbait. My co-angler started with a jerkbait. First pass, I caught several 2 pounders and had bigger ones bump the bait. My partner threw behind me and caught a 6 pounder on jerkbait. Before I knew it, he had 24 pounds and I had about 10.
He was throwing jerkbait out there and reeling it in. It only ran about a foot below the surface and these big ones would eat it. After about the third fish he caught over 5 pounds, I knew it was perfect for my King Shad, a shallow running swim bait. I put it on 25-pound line so it would run shallower and I immediately started catching quality fish. In two hours, I caught more than 26 pounds on the King Shad fished near the surface.

COMPETITION DAY 2 – Kevin bags 24-8, showing great consistency from day 1, moves into 5th.

I was confident I could do the same thing again. On my first cast of the day, I lost about an 8 pounder. I made another pass where I lost the 8 and hooked a 5 and 7 on one bait simultaneously. The 7 pounder straightened one of my hooks and got off, but I landed the 5.
The sun came out and it calmed down. It made it much more difficult. I switched to a Strike King Zero and caught a lot of bass and got a few 4s and 5s, and wound up with over 24 pounds. The thing I noticed by the end of the day was that a lot of those big fish had moved out of the shallows.

COMPETITION DAY 3 – Kevin holds onto the 7th position

This was my tough day. I fished through my best areas and didn’t get a single quality bite. I knew something had changed. I pulled out deeper. Still nothing. So, I changed areas. I ran 20 miles to some places I found in practice and scratched out about 17 pounds. I was really disappointed. I still can’t figure out why those bass left that area. They had no reason, but they did.
Fortunately, I had enough weight to make the cut.

COMPETITION DAY 4- Another good day, KVD finishes in 5th

The forecast was for clouds and big wind, much like the first day. That got me excited.
Since I was 12 pounds behind, the only baits I tied on my rods were 3/4 ounce spinnerbaits, king shads and big, soft swim baits. If I wanted a chance to win, I had to target big fish.
Fishing was tougher than I expected. I had a lot of bass following my bait despite the perfect conditions. On the first pass through my best area with the King Shad, I lost three, 5-pound-plus fish that just barely ate it. I did catch one.
I made a change to a spinnerbait when I noticed something unusual. In all the times I’ve fished Amistad, I’ve never seen shad flipping near the surface. When I saw two shad do it, I changed from bluegill to shad-colored spinnerbait and immediately caught two quality fish.
I only had about an hour to fish, so I started running similar water with a King Shad with hopes of catching a giant. I was reeling that bait through the top of a bush and a big bass “sharked” it. He came out of the water to get it. It was a 7 plus and I caught it. With an hour left to fish, I had four quality fish and one small one, thinking I could get another big one. I didn’t, but I still finished 5th. Considering that I had a bad third day, I felt good about coming out of there with top five finish. It’s a great way to start the season.

I’m really looking forward to the next two weeks at Delta and Clear lake where more big bass will be caught. Check back here after each of those events and I’ll fill you in on the details.

Lake Amistad quotes

KVD on Lake Amistad: “I’ve seen some of the biggest bass I’ve ever seen in the wild. The key is to have good sunglasses so you can see the fish coming. Then you can stop the bait or twitch it and try to get a reaction strike before they get too close to the boat.”

“This lake really fits my style. I grew up in Michigan fishing real clear water, and this reminds me a lot of the smallmouth fishing at home. I really like to target big flats up there, and here you have a lot of room to do that. I can run around, and fish my style.”

“You can fish a lot of dead water(on Lake Amistad), but when you get on them, it’s unbelievable.”

“It’s hard to be consistent here. You see people bringing in 25-pound bags, and it looks like it’s real easy. But it’s a lot of hard work. It was a much different day today (day2). I’d like to have a good day tomorrow and be in the hunt going into the final day.”

KVD on Remitz winning: “I met him at the Classic, and he seems like a nice kid. He flat put it to us. It wasn’t even close.”

Kevin reacts to the Battle '07

KVD on Remitz winning: “I met him at the Classic, and he seems like a nice kid. He flat put it to us. It wasn’t even close.”

About BASS tournament director Trip Weldon’s decision to cut the fishing short by an hour today, he said: “The forecast was for real strong storms to be here at about weigh-in. The National Weather Service probably missed it by an hour or two.

“I would have loved to have an extra hour, but I don’t blame them. I’ve always seen (Weldon), on days when the weather is forecasted to be real bad, get so nervous that any of us might get hurt. No tournament is worth getting somebody killed over. He made a call that he felt was the right thing to do based on the forecast. Safety should be first and foremost, and I think that’s why the decision was made.”

KVD before the final day of the competition

“My primary bait this week has been a Strike King King Shad, a swim bait. I’m just fishing it over spawning flats where the wind is blowing in a little bit. I can’t have too much wind, so it’s kind of tricky finding the right bank. Big fish like a big bait and this is a 5-inch bait.”

What does KVD need to win?: “105 pounds. I need to catch 30-plus, but today is a perfect day. I sure didn’t want to be 12 pounds behind going into the last day, but if I was, this is the right lake to be on and the right weather conditions.”

On Lake Amistad: “I’ve seen some of the biggest bass I’ve ever seen in the wild. The key is to have good sunglasses so you can see the fish coming. Then you can stop the bait or twitch it and try to get a reaction strike before they get too close to the boat.”

With Sunday’s overcast skies, there was a good chance that one of those Lake Amistad giants would show up at the weigh-in stand.
“They are a low-light predator. This is when they go on the feed. They have an advantage over all their other prey species on days like today. So they’ll be on the prowl.”

Battle ending 1 hour early - due to weather

Due to ensuing bad weather and for the safety of spectators and anglers alike, BASS Tournament director Trip Weldon has shaved an hour off of fishing time today, Suday the 11th. Making 4:00 PM EST the end of fishing in Del Rio, Texas.

Day 3 produces more big results

The 80 pound mark was broken on day 3, as 2 anglers were over the 30 pound limit today. Kevin turned in another solid performance to stay in 7th place, and earn a spot with the top 12 anglers to move on to the final day of competition. KVD will need to overcome a 12 pound deficit on the final day to take over the #1 spot, here’s what Kevin had to say about his standing heading into the final day with the top 12:

“I’ve got a lot to make up, but this is the lake you can do it on.”

“It’s a great weather forecast for my style of fishing added. That’s really what hurt me the last 2 days – there not being any wind. There won’t be any sight-fishing going on tomorrow, which is going to make it challenge.”

About his plans for tomorrow, he said: “I’m just fishing a pattern, and I’m going to let the wind dictate where I’m able to run it. There’s a certain type of water I’m looking for.

“I need to catch 30-plus to have a chance to win. But this is a lake where that happens on a regular basis.”

KVD jumps up the board, day 2

With another rock solid outing KVD leaps up to 5th place in Day 2 of competition on Lake Amistad. Up from the 14th slot after day 1. KVD posted a 26-8 bag his first day, and 24-8 his second. The type of consistency few other anglers found on day 2.

Some quotes from KVD:
“This lake really fits my style. I grew up in Michigan fishing real clear water, and this reminds me a lot of the smallmouth fishing at home. I really like to target big flats up there, and here you have a lot of room to do that. I can run around, and fish my style.

“You can fish a lot of dead water(on Lake Amistad), but when you get on them, it’s unbelievable.”

“It’s hard to be consistent here. You see people bringing in 25-pound bags, and it looks like it’s real easy. But it’s a lot of hard work. It was a much different day today (day2). I’d like to have a good day tomorrow and be in the hunt going into the final day.”

Notes from Kevin: Day 1 on Lake Amistad

• The weather was cold but heated up right before the tournament started

• Kevin knows his Day 1 weigh-in of 26.5lbs. is normally awesome for 5 fish; however a couple of guys were easily into the 30’s! A huge day on Lake Amistad.

KVD is digging through his tackle to find the biggest baits he has, he’ll now be going for those big Texas bass. Some serious Power Fishing is coming from KVD for the rest of the tournament!

• Kevin mainly used big swim baits and large jigs on Day 1.

• Kevin is literally throwing the biggest baits he can find…the old saying “big baits for big fish”

More notes to come from Kevin after today’s round.
KVD wishes everyone well and tight lines!

Test for the other event

battle on the border event. notes from the battle.

Battle on the Border
Lake Amistad, Del Rio, Texas
Mar 8 - Mar 11, 2007

Leaderboard

1
Derek Remitz - 111-7
2
Mike Iaconelli - 103-11
3
Steve Kennedy - 101-10
4
Todd Faircloth - 100-5
5
Kevin VanDam - 90-13
6
Ishama Monroe - 87-13
7
Davy Hite - 87-9
8
Edwin Evers - 87-2
9
Skeet Reese - 86-5
10
Ken Brodeur - 80-2
11
Jeff Kriet - 80-0
12
John Murray - 77-14

History & Notes;

2007 Battle on the Border

Big Bass:
Day 1 – Scott Campbell – 12-07
Day 2 – Jeff Kriet – 8-12
Day 3 – Todd Faircloth – 10-11
Day 4 – Derek Remitz – 8-11

  • Heaviest winning weight: 111-7, Derek Remitz, 2007

PREVIOUS TOURNAMENTS

  • 2006: Timmy Horton decided to spend most of the second day trying to catch a bedding bass that he estimated at 15 pounds! Horton had the giant almost up to the boat on two occasions, but the big female pulled loose each time.
  • The average bass weighed in at the 2006 Elite Series event on Lake Amistad weighed just over 3.75 pounds
  • The record for largest catch in a 4 day, 5 fish limit tournament is 115-15, set by Preston Clark in 2006 at Santee Cooper in South Carolina. Lake Amistad’s large Bass always put this record in jeopardy.
  • Lake Amistad forms on the Texas-Mexico border at the confluence of the Rio Grande, Devils and Pecos rivers. It covers some 67,000 surface acres.