LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Let’s be honest. After yesterday’s weigh-in most were already crowning Kevin VanDam Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
The one they call “KVD” has already won so many of the titles you can’t count them on one hand, and he’s intent on making it that way for the other hand. Then he’s going to start on the feet.
But a funny thing happened on Day Three of the Diamond Drive on the Arkansas River. Not really funny, unless you were Edwin Evers or one of the other 97 Elite anglers who wish for things like this, but odd: Kevin VanDam only caught two keepers.
It’s the first time in none of us know when since KVD didn’t show up with a limit. The biggest beneficiary of that is Evers.
So how did he benefit?
VanDam leads the race with 1,743 points. That’s 23 less than he had yesterday. Evers is second with 1,676. That’s 22 more than he had yesterday. Don’t do your math too quickly.
Going into the morning they were separated by 112 points; now there is somewhere around 67 points between them. That’s the difference between first place and 21st place.
And after Day Three it’s easy to think that all of the sudden KVD has a chink in his armor. Anglers are notorious for smelling blood in the water. Don’t be surprised to see more than Evers sniffing around with one event remaining.
Steve Kennedy is third in the rankings, some 130 points back; Alton Jones is fourth and Gerald Swindle is fifth. They are all probably too far back to catch KVD with one event left, unless something really funny, as in really odd, happens.
The worst thing that could happen to KVD between now and then is for him to lose another 18 or 20 points if he stinks it up again. Of course, he won’t see it that way. He will be looking for the 20-plus he could gain by doing better.
We can’t know how it will end. But with one event left, we do know this: Evers is more bloodthirsty than ever; VanDam normally does well on the Tennessee River. But so does Evers. So you can expect both to do well on Lake Wheeler next week.
VanDam may be playing defense. Evers will be on the bloodthirsty side. All it takes is a separation of about 20 places for VanDam’s chinked armor to turn into a title for Evers.
Don’t believe it?
Look at the scoreboard. Kevin VanDam only weighed in two fish today.