VanDam Slams the Door on his Record 25th Tour-Level Win

By Joel Shangle - April 30, 2018

GROVE, Oklahoma – We’ve almost run out of superlatives to describe Kevin VanDam, so for this conversation, a simple number will suffice: 25.

That’s the number of B.A.S.S. tour-level championship trophies the VanDam household has now, thanks to KVD’s dominant performance on Grand Lake, Oklahoma. Relying mostly on the same Strike King KVD 1.5 squarebill crankbait that he’s thrown with great success in seven years of MLF Cup competition, VanDam piled up 83 pounds, 4 ounces on Grand Lake to win his record 25th B.A.S.S. competition.

“I never take any of it for granted.” 
Major League Fishing Pro Kevin VanDam

“Every one of these (wins) is special, but as I get older, I get a little bit more sentimental,” VanDam admitted. “You never know when you’re going to win your next one, or which win is going to be your last, so I really savor every one of these (victories). I never take any of it for granted.” 

VanDam entered the week with modest expectations – “My practice was just okay,” VanDam said – but methodically piled up 20 pounds a day targeting rocky transition areas where the lake’s big females were pulling up to spawn. He got a strong start on Day 1 with 21-15, and then followed up with 20-10 on Day 2, throwing the squarebill and a spinnerbait as he burned his way through roughly 50 spots a day in search of the right transition spots where the lake’s bigger females were located.

He narrowed his focus to a handful of his most productive spots on Day 3, weighing in his biggest limit of the tournament (22-4) to enter Championship Sunday with a 5-pound lead. VanDam’s bite slowed down on the final day, but his 18-7 was enough for a 5-pound final cushion over fellow MLF Cup competitor Tommy Biffle (78-2).

NOTES: Fellow MLF competitors Michael Neal, Jordan Lee and Zack Birge were still in diapers when VanDam won his first tour-level competition (the Georgia Bassmaster Top 100 on Lake Lanier, Georgia) in December of 1991: Birge was 8 months old, Lee 6 months and Neal 2 months.

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