Monday, March 25, 2013

Kalamazoo's VanDam-greatest bass angler in the world

   The first Bassmaster Classic Kevin VanDam won was in New Orleans. It was also a first for ESPN. They had just purchased BASS and were very much in the early throes of exerting muscle from a new owners perspective.
   Prior to ESPN, writers and photographers such as myself had an area right in front of the weigh-in stage where we could greet the pros and they were being towed in, get a quick shot of them holding fish and be ready for the next pro to be towed in.
  ESPN changed all of that by keeping us way back in a penned up area (really) while their camera crews were given preferential access to the best places to take pictures from. But all that is another story.
   I've known VanDam for many years going back before he was a Classic champion. The thing about him is he's always humble, and very accessible, at least to me. I have to add his fans too.
   He'll give a demonstration or a seminar at a show. When he's done there's line up to greet him. Some just wish to say hello, others stay in the background and listen to him talk, and still others may have a fishing question or want an autograph or a picture.
   He obliges them all. I've never seen him walk away or refuse time to anyone. That's saying quite a bit for the stature he enjoys.
   Asked by BASS to attend and cover a BASS University class in Lansing, VanDam, along with Mike Iconelli were the two featured professionals.
   Entertaining and informative as ever, as VanDam spoke he mentioned the equipment he was using and the manufacturer.
   "Of course, in order to see better, you'll want to be wearing your Kevin VanDam polarized sunglasses," he said plugging a style he was representing for an eyewear company.
   After his presentation I kidded him about Kevin VanDam this and that. He took the ribbing well as I figured he would.
   As a representative for Plano Molding, the folks that make all those wonderful boxes, bags and trays we all have in our arsenal of equipment, VanDam recently endorsed the Kevin VanDam Signature Series Bag.
   "Plano's new 4870-40 Elite series bag is the perfect size of the angler on the go, who needs everything yet doesn't want to tote a luggage-size tackle bag around.
   "It's medium in size, fits well on a shelf, yet can be filled with every essential piece of tackle no matter what type of fishing you do," Van Dam said.
   As I blogged a few days ago, smaller is better when it comes to fishing. This bag is a good example of not carrying all the tackle you own to fish one afternoon. For more information visit  

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