BassWestUSA - May/June 2009, Page 30

To truly appreciate VanDam’s career, one must begin with the statistics that have set the standard by which all other professional bass anglers are measured. In a BASS career that began with an entry into the 1987 New York Invitational on the St. Lawrence Riv- er, VanDam has collected 173 paychecks in a total of 212 entries, meaning he has been in the money nearly 82 percent of the time. In those 173 paycheck finishes, VanDam has racked up 129 top 20 finishes, 79 of them in the top 10, sixteen 3rd place finishes, nine 2nd place finishes and 14 wins. His victories include two Bassmas- ter Classic Championships in 19 trips to the event, the 2001 Classic in New Orleans, La. at the Louisiana Delta and in 2005 at Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, Penn. In a career that spans 19 years, VanDam has been the Bass- master Angler of the Year four times. He claimed the title in 1992, his second season on the Bassmaster Tour. He backed that up with titles in 1996, 1999, and again in 2008, where he was the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year on the Bassmaster Elite Se- ries. When the topic of multiple Bassmaster Classic championships and Angler of the Year titles comes up, VanDam is in exclusive company. Only nine anglers have won the Angler of the

VAndAm BY The numBers

Year title more than once, his name is on a list with Davy Hite (two times), Mark Davis (three times), Guido Hibdon (two times), Gary Klein (two times), Larry Nixon (two times), Jimmy Houston (two times) Bill Dance (three times) and of course Roland Martin who won the title a record nine times. To be among repeat winners of the Bassmaster Classic list is an even more exclusive club. VanDam is one of only four anglers to have won the prestigious event more than once. Bobby Mur- ray won the first Bassmaster Classic in 1971, and then won again in 1978. Hank Parker claimed the crown in 1979, then again in 1989. Then of course the name Rick Clunn is in the record books four times, having won the Classic in 1976, 1977, 1984 and again in 1990. As far as anglers who have claimed both titles, VanDam is again in an exclusive neighborhood. He is one of 11 individuals who have claimed both titles. Along with him, Skeet Reese, Mike Iaconelli, Jay Yelas, Denny Brauer, David Fritts, and the aforemen- tioned Hite, Davis, Clunn and Parker. While the focus of his professional career has been the Bass- master Tournament Trail, VanDam has shown his excellence on the FLW Tour as well. In 18 tournaments on the FLW Tour and two trips to the Forrest Wood Cup, he has finished in the top 10 eight times, earning himself the FLW Tour Angler of the Year title in 2001in the process. His career made of dominating the competition has produced impressive bank statements as well. His ca-

Kevin VanDam lunker landing.

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May/June 2009