PARIS, Tenn. — When the angler who's worst Elite Series finish on Kentucky Lake is a third place says that he's going to hold nothing back on Day Three, the bass had better look out.
Even with a 6-pound lead in the Tennessee Triumph, Kevin VanDam wants to catch as much as he can before the weekend, when hundreds more boats arrive.
"It's always a busy day out here on Saturday," VanDam said. "You have to get everything you can, because it's going to get tough on Saturday."
Rumors are that another several hundred tournament boats will be on the water when the final round of the Elite Series event gets under way, so the already pressured fish will have lockjaw.
Add to that the crowds normally attracted to VanDam on the water, and there is all the more reason for him not to lay off his fish. In 2008, VanDam led the tournament by 7 pounds with three straight 20-pound bags. The weekend traffic set in on Day Four and he only brought in 16 pounds, but still edged Timmy Horton out for the win because of the lead he built up.
"I've got a lot of spots that have been good in the past, that I haven't fished yet," VanDam said about his chances to catch another big bag. "I've got several schools."
VanDam is going to need every one of those schools. In the past, VanDam has had to visit new schools every day because he knows other anglers will move into those areas.
"You have to try to manage boat traffic," VanDam said. "The first day we had some weather and people left. Yesterday, I never had a break."
He might get a relief this afternoon, as weather forecasts put the chance of thunderstorms at 80 percent as the day goes on. Either way, he is used to dealing with the spectators and acknowledged that the majority of them are great to have along.
"Ninety percent of the people are really good," VanDam said. "There are a few that will try to steal your stuff — those are the people I'm worried about."
Even with consistent bags in the mid 20-pound range, VanDam found bigger fish in practice. If he should stumble across one of those fish on Day Three, it could be the insurance policy he is looking for heading into Saturday's final round.
"The fish I've caught have been smaller than I caught in practice," VanDam said. "I caught 7s and 8s in practice, but haven't seen any of those yet."
With an ESPN camera on board, find out how VanDam's day plays out by tuning in to "Hooked Up" after the weigh-in at 6:15 p.m. ET.