MLF EMBEDDED: VanDam Accomplished Yet Another 'Only Angler to Ever'

By Joel Shangle - June 18, 2018

VIDALIA, Louisiana – Over the course of his 31-year fishing career, Kevin VanDam has established such an astounding pattern of success that many of his personal landmarks can be filed under the heading “Only professional bass angler to ever …”

  • Only professional bass angler to ever cross the $4-, $5-, and $6-million winnings marks.
  • Only professional bass angler to win four Bassmaster Classics.
  • Only professional bass angler to surpass the 20- and 25-win marks in tour-level events.

And now, after a dominating performance in the 2018 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup Championship on Lake Larto, Louisiana, VanDam adds another: Only professional bass angler with three Major League Fishing wins to his credit.

Leaning heavily on the same Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill that propelled him to the Championship Round, VanDam rang up 25 largemouth for 39 pounds, 14 ounces, dominating the rest of the eight-man field to claim his third Cup trophy in 12 Cup events.

As difficult as VanDam has been to beat in his B.A.S.S. career – where he’s racked up 25 wins in 304 events – he’s even more of a juggernaut in the MLF format, which demands speed and efficiency. VanDam has advanced to an unbelievable eight championship rounds in his 13 MLF events (62 percent) and has placed in the Top 3 in five of those. He’s caught 776 scorable fish in MLF competition: that’s 27 percent more than the second-most (Aaron Martens’ 572).

“This format just puts an emphasis on finding fish and putting together patterns quickly, and I think that’s one of my strengths,” VanDam says. “I like to fish fast anyway; don’t get me wrong, if I need to slow down and fish a jig or a worm, I will, but I really prefer to fish at a fast pace. It suits this MLF format pretty well.”

VanDam’s victory in Louisiana is his first in a Challenge Cup event. He previously won the Summit Cup in 2014 and 2016, and finished second in the 2012 Challenge Cup. He also placed third in the 2013 Challenge Cup.

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