A Classic to remember

A Classic to remember

Obviously, my finish didn’t go the way I expected. On the other hand, the event was a huge success in all other aspects and provided the kind of drama that validates why it’s the greatest bass tournament in the world.

I would have loved to be on that stage the last day, but I didn’t make the right adjustments when the when the water warmed up. I had a great practice fishing crankbaits in the same areas that produced the top results. I made adjustments, but not the right ones.

As good as the catches were, any Classic angler will tell you that the fishing was extremely tough given how good of a lake Grand can be.

My hat is off to winner Edwin Evers and second-place finisher Jason Christie who put together impressive performances. It was fascinating to discover those two guys employed entirely different strategies to contend on the final day. That’s really unusual.

Both Jason and Edwin have intimate knowledge of Grand Lake and that helped them follow the conditions. That lake knowledge really pays off under tough fishing conditions, just as it did for Casey Ashley when he won on Lake Hartwell last year.

Even so, they did an amazing job. Jason fished one lure in one section of the lake and had a ton of confidence in that and made minor adjustments as the conditions developed.

As the lake cleared up and the water warmed, he continued to fish through the areas with a big spinnerbait rigged with a large Colorado blade and made it happen. It’s very rare for one angler to throw the same lure for three days and still win, yet it looked like he was going to do it.

Edwin, on the other hand, fished three different areas over the three days and changed his techniques and lures each day. You have to trust your instincts to take those kinds of chances and it paid off for him.

Until about 10 a.m. Sunday, this tournament looked like a Jason Christie beatdown. But that’s when Edwin began racking up big bass and the pieces all fell into place for him.

That’s the way it happens sometimes. On any given tournament day there are multiple patterns and areas that enable an angler to be successful. It boils down to having the right mental attitude and believing in yourself. Sometimes you fail and sometimes you hit the jackpot.

I felt that my pattern would hold up under the conditions we faced. You have to plan that way and take chances. I stuck to my game plan and believed I was doing everything right to catch a big stringer. I was dumbfounded when it didn’t happen.

That aside, it was an incredible Classic week. It drew big crowds to the Expo and weigh-in and the coverage on Bassmaster LIVE was phenomenal. The live coverage is having a remarkable impact on tournament fishing and will continue to add intrigue as time goes on.

We also had another successful KVD Fan to Fame Challenge at the Classic Expo. We gave away tons of prizes. You can find the winners on my website, www.kevinvandam.com.

Congratulations to the James Burns family, our grand prize winners who won more than $7,000 in prizes and accompanied me in a VIP backstage visit with the Super 6 on the final day.

Thanks to all who participated in the Challenge, especially my sponsors who supported this project. It made for a fun experience for a lot of the fans, many of whom I met and talked with at the Expo on Sunday.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

View Bassmaster Classic 2016 photo galleries here >>