Kevin VanDam Vying for Historic Bassmaster Classic Three-peat

In the world of professional bass fishing, the first week of February marks the countdown to arguably the biggest event in professional angling – the Bassmaster Classic.

The 2012 Bassmaster Classic is set for February 24-26 on the Red River in the Shreveport-Bossier City, LA, area where 49 anglers from 22 states will compete for $500,000. Alabama leads the charge, with a total of 11 anglers from the “Heart of Dixie” competing. Louisiana native Greg Hackney, along with New Jersey’s Mike Iaconelli, are fan favorites and among the pundit picks to win the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.

In reality, the field will be trying to chase down the man from Michigan – Kevin VanDam. VanDam, simply known as KVD, has won bass fishing’s grandest event four times, including the 2010 and 2011 Bassmaster Classics. No angler has ever won the Classic three years in a row.

VanDam’s success in professional fishing is in stratosphere all its own. In addition to the four Classic wins, KVD has earned a record seven Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles, and 20 B.A.S.S. tournament wins.

This year’s Bassmaster Classic presents an array of challenges for VanDam if he is to accomplish the three-peat.

“I had hernia surgery a few weeks ago (early January), and I’m probably 90% right now,” VanDam said. “The biggest thing is I really can’t do any heavy lifting or anything like that. It was pretty rough for the first week but it’s gotten progressively better. Luckily I was able to get this taken care of before the Bassmaster Classic coming up.”

VanDam also didn’t have a high finish (30th place) the last time the Classic was fished on these waters in 2009. In fact, it was one of his worst Classic finishes.

In addition, as the top-ranked bass angler in the world – and the reigning Classic champ – he garners quite a bit of attention. And that includes the competition and the fans.

“I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect my fishing,” VanDam admitted. “Especially when you get 75 or 80 fans following you around. It changes the environment out there. Most people aren’t trying to get in your way, but if you’re on a shallow water pattern, it really does make things more difficult.

“Most of these people are just fans out there trying to learn or watch. It’s the one sport where the fans are on the playing field with you so it’s unique. It’s something I plan for, and I think I handle it pretty well. I’ve learned to deal with it – it’s a good problem to have.”

Also standing in VanDam’s way to an historic three-peat is what KVD himself calls “the toughest field ever.” There are five other former Bassmaster Classic winners competing as well.

Perhaps the key factor in his favor is KVD’s ability to focus and simply catch fish.

“I don’t like to lose,” VanDam sternly proclaimed.

Although we won’t give any Vegas odds here, let’s just say he’s the favorite.

The 2012 Bassmaster Classic will be held in Shreveport-Bossier City, LA, on February 24-26. Daily weigh-ins will take place at Bossier City’s CenturyLink Center, and the 2012 Bassmaster Classic Outdoor Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods will be at the Shreveport Convention Center.

For more information on the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, visit the official website at:

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