Skip to main content

Seven for Kevin

Wins Title At Season Finale Event

Seven for Kevin
Kevin VanDam celebrates on stage with his seventh Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year trophy

From Bassmaster

DECATUR, Ala. — Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., amassed enough points Saturday to close the deal he said he’s been focused on since his first cast this season: the 2011 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year award, his seventh best-angler title and fourth consecutive.

Not even the legendary Roland Martin, holder of nine Angler of the Year titles through 1985, strung together more than three in a row.

VanDam on Saturday also became the first pro to land AOY and Bassmaster Classic titles in the same season for two seasons running.


“This one means as much if not more to me. Winning never gets old when you’re competing against these guys,” said VanDam of his fellow Elite Series pros. “I’ve been out to win Angler of the Year since the first cast of the first tournament of the season.


“Every pro wants to win Angler of the Year because it is our sport’s highest award. It shows you’re at the top of your game and it rewards consistency. I haven’t won a regular-season tournament this year — although I’m trying to change that here on Wheeler.”

VanDam — many fans call him “KVD” — closed on the Angler of the Year title on the third day of the four-day Dixie Duel, the Wheeler Lake event in Alabama that doubled as the points race finish line and the Bassmaster Elite Series season finale. The tournament concludes Sunday, but by Saturday no angler had a mathematical chance of overtaking VanDam in the points standings.

Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., came the closest. Trailing by 55 points going into the Wheeler Lake event, Evers had been VanDam’s top threat.

The Oklahoma pro had, in fact, been nipping at the heels of the points leaders throughout the season: Shaw Grigsby after the season opener (which he won), Alton Jones from tournament No. 2 through No. 5, and Terry Scroggins, who took the lead after the sixth event but lost it to VanDam in Arkansas.


Evers — the runner-up to VanDam for the 2010 title — faded as a threat in the first two days of Dixie Duel competition. But the game wasn’t over, and Evers got another at-bat when the competition continued Saturday.

“I don’t have any quit in me,” Evers said as he set out Saturday for one more swipe at VanDam.

But the heroics Evers needed didn’t happen for him. There was no magic in Steve Kennedy’s hat either. Third in points behind VanDam going into the Wheeler event, Kennedy on Saturday also had had a mathematical chance of catching VanDam.


The $100,000 award was based on points earned in 2011 over eight regular-season tournaments. VanDam started the season with a fourth-place finish on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes. He followed with 11th place on the St. Johns River.

After the third and fourth events — finishing 22nd on Pickwick, 33rd on Toledo Bend — he was No. 3 in the standings. Then, fishing through back-to-back events in April at West Point Lake and Lake Murray, VanDam inched into second place in points.

He took over at No. 1 on May 12 after the Arkansas River event. At that point only one event, the Dixie Duel, remained.

VanDam won his first Angler of the Year crown in 1992 when he was the still the 24-year-old “Kalamazoo Kid.” The road to the Angler of the Year was much different in the early 1990s, VanDam said.

“It’s harder now to win,” he said. “And when I won that first one, I really didn’t understand the magnitude of what it meant to win an Angler of the Year title.”

He had to work four more years for his second title in 1996. He won for the third time in 1999. Then he started stacking the crowns: 2008, 2009, 2010 and now 2011. Meanwhile, he was winning Classics: 2001, 2005 and back-to-back in 2010 and 2011.

VanDam weighed in on the question of what the sport considers to be hardest title to win, Classic or Angler of the Year.

“Winning the Classic is a big deal — an incredible, awesome accomplishment. It’s the toughest tournament there is to win, but it’s one tournament. I think if you ask most anglers, they’d say winning Angler of the Year is harder,” he said.

VanDam, 43, has set the bar high on a list of statistics and records in Bassmaster tournament history. Since his first Bassmaster tournament in 1987, VanDam has won $5.2 million — more than the second- and third-place money winners combined — on the B.A.S.S. circuit.

When he won the 2011 Classic, he tied with Rick Clunn for most Classic victories, four. VanDam has qualified for 22 consecutive Classics (counting Classic 2012). He has posted top-10 finishes 94 times. He has stacked up a record 20 Bassmaster event wins, including the four Classics.

The competition among Elite Series pros for points wasn’t over when VanDam won the title. The Elite field will work through Sunday to claim spots below No. 1 and collect prizes awarded on a sliding scale to 50th place.

Photo by James Overstreet

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months.

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time.10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to the expectations demanded at ranges up to and beyond 500, 600 or even 1,000 yards. Try these different loads until you find the one that thumps steel at long ranges consistently.10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to...

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.12 Great Catfish Baits Catfish

12 Great Catfish Baits

Jeff Samsel

Dozens of different bait types are commonly used for catfish, including these great options.

It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads.Turning .30-30; It's Better Than Ever Ammo

Turning .30-30; It's Better Than Ever

Richard Mann - October 27, 2020

It may be 125 years old, but the .30-30 Winchester retains its status thanks to modern loads.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

A father-son fishing outing for bass culminated into a catch that tied a state record for yellow perch in Tennessee.Father-Son Outing Results in Tied State Record Stories

Father-Son Outing Results in Tied State Record

Game & Fish Online Staff - August 08, 2018

A father-son fishing outing for bass culminated into a catch that tied a state record for...

An hour here, 30 minutes there, 10 casts after work; sometimes that's all it takes.Perspective: Satisfy Fishing Passion When You Can Stories

Perspective: Satisfy Fishing Passion When You Can

Adam Heggenstaller - June 24, 2020

An hour here, 30 minutes there, 10 casts after work; sometimes that's all it takes.

Major League Fishing (MLF), a made-for-television bass fishing competition featuring the country's top professional anglers, celebrates its 5-year anniversary this summer with news it has become the No. 1 fishing show in the nation.Major League Fishing Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary with Top Rating Stories

Major League Fishing Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary with Top Rating

MLF Communications

Major League Fishing (MLF), a made-for-television bass fishing competition featuring the...

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths. Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths.Chase a Mixed-Bag Bite at Lake Oconee Fishing

Chase a Mixed-Bag Bite at Lake Oconee

Larry Larsen - April 28, 2020

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more...

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now