Limits or lunkers: Why not both?

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Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

I’ve spent this week in North Carolina filming Bass Pro Shops commercials with NASCAR drivers and doing segments for the store’s TV series, “Bass Pros.”

While down here, I heard Ken Duke did some digging through Elite Series statistics and came up with a new benchmark — “consecutive days with limits” — in Elite events, of which he says I have the record.

You can read the story by clicking here.

It's pretty cool that I have that record. To be honest, I’ve never given that kind of statistic much thought, but I can tell you that I can appreciate the importance of catching “five” in every event you can.

I’m not surprised the streak ended at Fort Madison, Iowa, on the Mississippi River in 2009, as that was a dreadful tournament for me and demonstrated just how important getting a limit can be.

Had I caught a small limit on the third day (I got skunked), I would have made the finals and been in good position to win. Or, had I simply caught one keeper, it would have moved me up at least six spots.

That’s how critical even one squeaker keeper can be in the Elite Series. In most of our tournaments, a few ounces can move you up in the standings, determine the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of Year or even whether or not you qualify for the Bassmaster Classic.

People ask me which is most important, big fish or a limit. Any big fish you can catch in a tournament is important, but it’s better to have five. With a limit in the livewell an angler can relax and focus intently on upgrading his catch. When you can cull a fish — even if you only gain six ounces — it’s a big step forward.

You’re going to see just how important it is during next week’s event on the Arkansas River. This is going to be a tough, tough event because of the flooding and a 14-inch size limit. Catching five won’t be easy in that environment, and the results could determine the Angler of Year race. Although we have one event after the Arkansas River (at Alabama’s Lake Wheeler, the next week), this fishery is going to a much bigger challenge. Wheeler is loaded with bass and catching them there should easier.

The Arkansas River will be tough on a lot of anglers. Any one of the AOY contenders who comes out of Little Rock with a good performance will be in a good position to win the title.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying my work here in Charlotte. We’ve filmed four different commercials with various personalities, including Jamie McMurray, Tony Stewart, Austin Dillion (Camping World Truck Series driver) and B.A.S.S. legend Bill Dance.

They’re different commercials from those that aired last year but still incorporate the humor that made them popular among race and fishing fans. Hanging out with the race drivers has been a blast. It’s hard work but these guys make it fun.

We knocked out the commercials the first two days and then began working on the Bass Pro how-to programs. We filmed a couple of segments on Randleman Lake near High Point, N.C., a new 3,000-acre lake that opened last year and is full of nice bass. We taped some good segments there that you'll see later this year.

After this week and the holiday, it’s back to the business of trying to win another Angler of Year title!

Remember: It’s all about the attitude.

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