KVD in position for fourth Classic title

Kevin VanDam went into the second day of the 2011 Bassmaster Classic in third place, but he had the No. 1 and No. 2 anglers fishing around him in Lake Cataouatche’s Tank Pond – and he expected the pressure from local anglers to have an impact on the catches.

And that turned out to be the case – for everyone in the Tank Pond but KVD.

VanDam actually upped his game, adding more than 3 pounds to his Day 1 sack of bass to bring his two-day total to 41-11. That was more than 3 ½ pounds more than his closest competitor.

“Luck counts,” the three-time Classic champion joked in press conference following the weigh-in. “Yesterday, I thought I should have had a lot better day than I did.

“I think you can catch a 30-pound bag there, if you’ve got the timing right.”

In second was Kansas’ Brent Chapman, who made the long run to Venice to bring 20 pounds, 1 ounce of bass to the New Orleans Arena. His two-day total was 38-1.

In third was Alabama’s Aaron Martens with a total of 33-2, in fourth was Idaho Bassmater Federation Nation qualifier Brandon Palaniuk (pronounced “Paula-nick”) with 32-8 and Arkansas pro Scott Rook rounded out the top five with 31-11.

Click here for full current standings.

The day began with a nearly three-hour fog delay, which meant the anglers in the Tank Pond only had about five hours of fishing time and Chapman was left with a mere hour and 10 minutes.

VanDam, Martens, Rook and Palaniuk shared waters in the Tank Pond, and all said the predominant first-day pattern of spinnerbaits was noticeably off.

VanDam credited adjusting his approach to his strong performance.

“I caught a couple on spinnerbaits, and I caught a couple on crankbaits,” he said. “I experimented a bunch yesterday, and I assume I’m going to have to do the same tomorrow.

“I’m going to throw something they’re going to bite.”

Martens said lost 8 pounds on his first-day limit, and said he had problems adjusting to the shortened day.

“It goes by really quick,” he said.

Chapman said he questioned whether or not to make the long Venice run, and actually had to follow a couple of other competitors whose boats were equipped with radar because the fog remained so thick.

Once in his area, however, he quickly put 12 pounds together – and then the last 20 minutes of fishing time turned magical.

“I was happy with that (12-pound limit) considering the amount of time we had,” Chapman said. “But I decided to make another pass down the little stretch and, boom, a 4-pounder, about three or four pitches later a 5-pounder and about another two or three minutes later I caught another 4-pounder, put it in the livewell … and left.”

In contrast to the other top-five leaders, Chapman said he has been flipping a Tightlines UV Beaver.

A dense fog advisory is in effect for tomorrow morning, tournament director Trip Weldon said, and Chapman said he’s prepared.

“I’ve already talked to the guys at Lowrance, and they’re going to do everything they can to have (a radar) on my boat tomorrow morning,” Chapman said.

B.A.S.S. rules state that a tournament day can be canceled after a delay of half the tournament day (about 11:08 a.m. in this case), but it’s not a mandatory call.

Weldon said after the weigh-in that even if the day is called because of dense fog that the tournament wouldn’t be over.

“If we have to cancel tomorrow, we’re fishing Monday,” he said. “We’ll take the top 25 anglers, and we’ll weigh in at Bayou Segnette (State Park).”

Be sure and check the dedicated Bassmaster Classic Updates page for constant updates. This special section of the site also includes a photo gallery and a variety of video interviews.

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.