Kevin VanDam, this year's Bassmaster Classic champion, closed the 2010 Elite Series season in typical fashion with a win on the Alabama River Saturday bringing his total BASS career victory count to 19 which ties him for most victories with Roland Martin. Along with the win came an even bigger prize: his sixth Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title and third in a row. Along with a Bassmaster Classic victory to start 2010, VanDam is only the second angler to take both of the top titles in bass fishing in the same season.
"I never get tired of winning," says VanDam, 42. "This title was the hardest for me to accomplish so it means that much more. I take nothing for granted because I face competition every day than can beat me. It's easy to stay motivated when that's the case."
The regular season started tough for VanDam, with several disappointing finishes in the first half. At mid-point in the season, it appeared to the fans that he was a long-shot at best for postseason qualification. Then the tour went to Kentucky Lake where VanDam dominated wire-to-wire and slammed 92 pounds, 5 ounces on the scales. The victory rocketed KVD from 26th in AOY points up to 8th to cement a place in the postseason.
"When people count me out, it really motivates me," said VanDam. "I have a lot of confidence that the next spot or that next cast is going to be the one. Every time I win, it gets better and I just crave that feeling."
The top 12 anglers of the season participate in postseason, and 11 of them were chasing an angler that enjoyed arguably the best season ever. Skeet Reese was the target, and everyone knew that to beat him they would have to bring better than their A-game. VanDam has been here before. In fact, it was Reese that stood at the top in last year's postseason when VanDam took him to school to win the 2009 Angler of the Year title. Says VanDam, "I don't really get nervous. I have a lot of confidence. And if you believe in yourself, eventually it's gonna happen."
It's happened for Kevin VanDam, a lot. In his 20-year career he's won the Bassmaster Classic 3 times, earned the title Angler of the Year 6 times, and raised the tournament trophy in victory 19 times, accumulating more than $4.5 million in total winnings. "The only thing you can do as an angler is try to compete and win – I love what I do," Kevin says.
|KVD's 2010 Season
|Duel in the Delta Gear: TKVD150HPT reel; TKVDC726XF rod
|Golden State Shootout Gear: TKVD150SPT reel; TKVDC6106F rod
|Blue Ridge Brawl Gear: TE40PTi-B reel; TKVDS744F rod
|Alabama Charge Gear: TKVD150PPT reel; TKVD705M rod
|Synergy Southern Challenge Gear: TKVD150PPT reel; TKVD610F rod
|Pride of Georgia Gear: TKVD150SPT reel; TKVD610F rod
|Tennessee Triumph Gear: TKVD150PPT reel; TKVD7106M rod
|Sooner Run Gear: TKVD150PPT reel; TKVD705M rod
|Trophy Chase Gear: TKVD150PPT reel; TKVD705M rod
|Trophy Triumph Gear: TKVD150PPT reel; TKVD705M rod