Elite Man Caves

Elite Man Caves: Kevin VanDam

There is no dark side to Kevin VanDam. This photo was shot in fun with the man most folks simply refer to as KVD. He’s regarded as a fearsome warrior on the water. A look around his home, along with his Man Cave, shows the bounty of achievement, while offering a glimpse of the meticulous attention to details KVD credits for so much of his success.  Take a look at KVD’s man cave, which is better described as his Oasis. <p> <em>All captions: Steve Bowman</em>
Photo: James Overstreet - There is no dark side to Kevin VanDam. This photo was shot in fun with the man most folks simply refer to as KVD. He’s regarded as a fearsome warrior on the water. A look around his home, along with his Man Cave, shows the bounty of achievement, while offering a glimpse of the meticulous attention to details KVD credits for so much of his success. Take a look at KVD’s man cave, which is better described as his Oasis. All captions: Steve Bowman
 Like many of the Bassmaster Elite anglers, VanDam has an “out” building or shop, where his boat and trailer reside. For the most part VanDam has a similar set up but with a twist.
Photo: James Overstreet - Like many of the Bassmaster Elite anglers, VanDam has an “out” building or shop, where his boat and trailer reside. For the most part VanDam has a similar set up but with a twist.
The four-bay shop offers a lot of room to house equipment.
Photo: James Overstreet - The four-bay shop offers a lot of room to house equipment.
Depending on what day it is and his schedule, you may find his Toyota Tundra parked just outside.
Photo: James Overstreet - Depending on what day it is and his schedule, you may find his Toyota Tundra parked just outside.
And inside is his Nitro Z21, sitting on a pristine floor and within a room clean enough to perform surgery if the need ever came up.
Photo: James Overstreet - And inside is his Nitro Z21, sitting on a pristine floor and within a room clean enough to perform surgery if the need ever came up.
This section of his man cave isn’t necessarily there for rigging and working on tackle.
Photo: James Overstreet - This section of his man cave isn’t necessarily there for rigging and working on tackle.
When the floor is polished and the boat is there, it’s most often used as a studio, where a lot of work is done with a variety of TV shows VanDam is part of along with his social media offerings that are so popular with his fans.
Photo: James Overstreet - When the floor is polished and the boat is there, it’s most often used as a studio, where a lot of work is done with a variety of TV shows VanDam is part of along with his social media offerings that are so popular with his fans.
While most of that revolves around fishing, VanDam isn’t shy about his love for deer hunting and this man cave, like so many showcases a sampling of his success in the woods as it does on the water.
Photo: James Overstreet - While most of that revolves around fishing, VanDam isn’t shy about his love for deer hunting and this man cave, like so many showcases a sampling of his success in the woods as it does on the water.
A large well-placed framed print of one of the catches of his career sets off the back wall, along with the metal cut out of his initials.
Photo: James Overstreet - A large well-placed framed print of one of the catches of his career sets off the back wall, along with the metal cut out of his initials.
When the lights are out in the studio, the red lights of the initials illuminate the room, and photographer James Overstreet and VanDam couldn’t resist having a little fun with the images it could create.
Photo: James Overstreet - When the lights are out in the studio, the red lights of the initials illuminate the room, and photographer James Overstreet and VanDam couldn’t resist having a little fun with the images it could create.
Even the bobblehead of the fishing star couldn’t help but smile. It sits on the bar near the ice bucket.
Photo: James Overstreet - Even the bobblehead of the fishing star couldn’t help but smile. It sits on the bar near the ice bucket.
A black and white print of “The Legends of Bass Fishing” is framed and hanging on the wall. VanDam is included in this print along with virtually every Hall of Famer in the bass fishing world.
Photo: James Overstreet - A black and white print of “The Legends of Bass Fishing” is framed and hanging on the wall. VanDam is included in this print along with virtually every Hall of Famer in the bass fishing world.
The next room is where things start to look more like a shop. But even all this gear stacked and ready isn’t for VanDam’s use.
Photo: James Overstreet - The next room is where things start to look more like a shop. But even all this gear stacked and ready isn’t for VanDam’s use.
Instead it’s part of a growing pile of prizes VanDam is gathering for his new College Bass Tour, in his home state of Michigan.
Photo: James Overstreet - Instead it’s part of a growing pile of prizes VanDam is gathering for his new College Bass Tour, in his home state of Michigan.
There are piles of KVD signature lures ready to be given to young anglers entered in the event that began in June.
Photo: James Overstreet - There are piles of KVD signature lures ready to be given to young anglers entered in the event that began in June.
On the opposite end of the shop are two lawnmowers and a variety of yard tools to help keep his oasis clean and neat.
Photo: James Overstreet - On the opposite end of the shop are two lawnmowers and a variety of yard tools to help keep his oasis clean and neat.
The back wall has shelving for containers and equipment and includes a whole row of yet-to-be hung deer mounts.
Photo: James Overstreet - The back wall has shelving for containers and equipment and includes a whole row of yet-to-be hung deer mounts.
In the center of the room is a rigged and ready-to-go Nitro Z19.
Photo: James Overstreet - In the center of the room is a rigged and ready-to-go Nitro Z19.
This boat, though, belongs to Nicholas and Jackson. The two compete in local events together and have the boat set up to go at all times.
Photo: James Overstreet - This boat, though, belongs to Nicholas and Jackson. The two compete in local events together and have the boat set up to go at all times.
Back in the studio/shop/man cave, VanDam has a rack of advertisements and posters he’s been showcased in for the past three decades from a variety of sponsors.
Photo: James Overstreet - Back in the studio/shop/man cave, VanDam has a rack of advertisements and posters he’s been showcased in for the past three decades from a variety of sponsors.
His relationship with his sponsors, forced him to go back to the shop where Nicholas and Jackson’s boat is sporting the new Mercury ProXS, one of the first to come off the assembly line.
Photo: James Overstreet - His relationship with his sponsors, forced him to go back to the shop where Nicholas and Jackson’s boat is sporting the new Mercury ProXS, one of the first to come off the assembly line.
The last stop in this part of his oasis is a bar at the back at the studio, where VanDam will gladly serve as bartender for any visitor.
Photo: James Overstreet - The last stop in this part of his oasis is a bar at the back at the studio, where VanDam will gladly serve as bartender for any visitor.
Away from the shop/studio is the main house and its garage where we start to get a glimpse of how VanDam stores his gear.
Photo: James Overstreet - Away from the shop/studio is the main house and its garage where we start to get a glimpse of how VanDam stores his gear.
A small gathering of tackle boxes are lined in enclosed cabinets and ready to be put in service.
Photo: James Overstreet - A small gathering of tackle boxes are lined in enclosed cabinets and ready to be put in service.
But the real man cave is above the garage.
Photo: James Overstreet - But the real man cave is above the garage.
When these photos were shot it was turkey season in Michigan and at the top of the stairs there were three turkey-hunting vests ready and waiting to go.
Photo: James Overstreet - When these photos were shot it was turkey season in Michigan and at the top of the stairs there were three turkey-hunting vests ready and waiting to go.
But inside the room the scene quickly turns to fishing and virtually everything VanDam has gathered from or needs for a bass tournament.
Photo: James Overstreet - But inside the room the scene quickly turns to fishing and virtually everything VanDam has gathered from or needs for a bass tournament.
The main room of the man cave has a series of dormers that serve as mini tackle stations and in a few cases memory lanes. The first is filled with hard baits.
Photo: James Overstreet - The main room of the man cave has a series of dormers that serve as mini tackle stations and in a few cases memory lanes. The first is filled with hard baits.
Many of these baits are hard to find, but still could come into service at some point.
Photo: James Overstreet - Many of these baits are hard to find, but still could come into service at some point.
They include some older model topwater from years gone by.
Photo: James Overstreet - They include some older model topwater from years gone by.
This one includes a life-sized KVD cut-out standing guard over the packages lining the walls.
Photo: James Overstreet - This one includes a life-sized KVD cut-out standing guard over the packages lining the walls.
And the next dormer is filled equally with baits lining the walls.
Photo: James Overstreet - And the next dormer is filled equally with baits lining the walls.
Most of it is filled with baits with the KVD signature on them.
Photo: James Overstreet - Most of it is filled with baits with the KVD signature on them.
He even has a miniature truck and boat rig almost identical to the one he competes in.
Photo: James Overstreet - He even has a miniature truck and boat rig almost identical to the one he competes in.
This area ensures he will never run out of crankbaits.
Photo: James Overstreet - This area ensures he will never run out of crankbaits.
And this one ensures he will never run out of spinnerbaits.
Photo: James Overstreet - And this one ensures he will never run out of spinnerbaits.
The alcoves of baits are tied together by a workbench with drawers that are equally filled with tackle. More on that later.
Photo: James Overstreet - The alcoves of baits are tied together by a workbench with drawers that are equally filled with tackle. More on that later.
One dormer is lined with special photos and really special guitars. This is a Sexy Shad guitar given to VanDam  by Dwayne Caulkin after he won one of his Bassmaster Classics. After his next Classic victory he was given a double-neck Sexy Shad guitar.
Photo: James Overstreet - One dormer is lined with special photos and really special guitars. This is a Sexy Shad guitar given to VanDam by Dwayne Caulkin after he won one of his Bassmaster Classics. After his next Classic victory he was given a double-neck Sexy Shad guitar.
Jeff Kolodzinski of Humminbird gave VanDam this guitar after his cumulative weight in all 27 of his Bassmaster Classics reached 1,000 pounds.
Photo: James Overstreet - Jeff Kolodzinski of Humminbird gave VanDam this guitar after his cumulative weight in all 27 of his Bassmaster Classics reached 1,000 pounds.
And this guitar with wood etching was a gift from Dwayne Caulkin after yet another Classic win.
Photo: James Overstreet - And this guitar with wood etching was a gift from Dwayne Caulkin after yet another Classic win.
The wood etching features VanDam, his family, his logo, a bass, a red-eye shad and a rod and reel.
Photo: James Overstreet - The wood etching features VanDam, his family, his logo, a bass, a red-eye shad and a rod and reel.
One of those special photos in the dormer is an original painting presented to VanDam and his wife Sherry.
Photo: James Overstreet - One of those special photos in the dormer is an original painting presented to VanDam and his wife Sherry.
No man cave is complete without an authentic Tennessee hat signed by Bill Dance.
Photo: James Overstreet - No man cave is complete without an authentic Tennessee hat signed by Bill Dance.
But VanDam’s man cave also sports two Bowie knives engraved and presented to him by Ray Scott during the Eagles of Angling events Scott hosted at his reservoir in the 1990s.
Photo: James Overstreet - But VanDam’s man cave also sports two Bowie knives engraved and presented to him by Ray Scott during the Eagles of Angling events Scott hosted at his reservoir in the 1990s.
Still other dormers are filled with Quantum rods, where VanDam can quickly add to his arsenal when he needs to.
Photo: James Overstreet - Still other dormers are filled with Quantum rods, where VanDam can quickly add to his arsenal when he needs to.
The whole room is watched over by VanDam through the ages with a cut-out that is 20 years old, one that is closer to his age now and of course the real thing. He’s on the far right.
Photo: James Overstreet - The whole room is watched over by VanDam through the ages with a cut-out that is 20 years old, one that is closer to his age now and of course the real thing. He’s on the far right.
Memorabilia is a big thing in VanDam’s man cave.  This shelf includes his carved initials, an American flag and a cut out of his head that was part of the set on ESPN’s PTI (Pardon the Interruption). The cut out includes autographs from show hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.
Photo: James Overstreet - Memorabilia is a big thing in VanDam’s man cave. This shelf includes his carved initials, an American flag and a cut out of his head that was part of the set on ESPN’s PTI (Pardon the Interruption). The cut out includes autographs from show hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.
Among the wall decorations are photos from his first Classic win in New Orleans, like this one as he and his family take the Championship ride around the arena.
Photo: James Overstreet - Among the wall decorations are photos from his first Classic win in New Orleans, like this one as he and his family take the Championship ride around the arena.
Years ago every B.A.S.S. tournament came with a patch and VanDam has every patch from every tournament he fished during that period.
Photo: James Overstreet - Years ago every B.A.S.S. tournament came with a patch and VanDam has every patch from every tournament he fished during that period.
VanDam is a tireless giver of his time and many of kids he’s helped in the Make-A-Wish Foundation have sent him photos and thank you notes. These moments were special to the kids, but VanDam is obviously moved by them as well. His man cave houses several of these kinds of tributes.
Photo: James Overstreet - VanDam is a tireless giver of his time and many of kids he’s helped in the Make-A-Wish Foundation have sent him photos and thank you notes. These moments were special to the kids, but VanDam is obviously moved by them as well. His man cave houses several of these kinds of tributes.
They share the same space as photos from his first Classic and those with his wife and sons.
Photo: James Overstreet - They share the same space as photos from his first Classic and those with his wife and sons.
The center of the room has a large HD television, where VanDam stores and watches past Bassmaster shows and other fishing shows that are of interest.
Photo: James Overstreet - The center of the room has a large HD television, where VanDam stores and watches past Bassmaster shows and other fishing shows that are of interest.
The door leading out of the other side of the man cave has a sign that leaves little doubt of whom it belongs to.
Photo: James Overstreet - The door leading out of the other side of the man cave has a sign that leaves little doubt of whom it belongs to.
As if yet another dormer filled with baits and tackle didn’t give you a clue.
Photo: James Overstreet - As if yet another dormer filled with baits and tackle didn’t give you a clue.
The room also has segmented closets where the bulk of his gear is stored. This one includes extra boxes, extra hats and hoodies.
Photo: James Overstreet - The room also has segmented closets where the bulk of his gear is stored. This one includes extra boxes, extra hats and hoodies.
Hanging on the door is a set of boxing gloves he received when he attended the ESPY Awards.
Photo: James Overstreet - Hanging on the door is a set of boxing gloves he received when he attended the ESPY Awards.
And next to it is a box filled with dollar bills all signed by Elite anglers who have lost bets to VanDam. The one he’s holding is from Gerald Swindle.
Photo: James Overstreet - And next to it is a box filled with dollar bills all signed by Elite anglers who have lost bets to VanDam. The one he’s holding is from Gerald Swindle.
Beside that is a net given to him by a fan after he won the 2001 Bassmaster Classic.
Photo: James Overstreet - Beside that is a net given to him by a fan after he won the 2001 Bassmaster Classic.
The net sits beside a jar with a jumble of baits in them. The baits are the winning baits from all of VanDam’s wins over the years.
Photo: James Overstreet - The net sits beside a jar with a jumble of baits in them. The baits are the winning baits from all of VanDam’s wins over the years.
That shelf includes some knick-knacks from friends who make some interesting baits like this Buzz Rat.
Photo: James Overstreet - That shelf includes some knick-knacks from friends who make some interesting baits like this Buzz Rat.
And there’s an original Charles Spence packaged Strike King spinnerbait. All those things are scattered around the real bulk of the man cave.
Photo: James Overstreet - And there’s an original Charles Spence packaged Strike King spinnerbait. All those things are scattered around the real bulk of the man cave.
The drawers in the main room are filled with tackle like Mustad Hooks.
Photo: James Overstreet - The drawers in the main room are filled with tackle like Mustad Hooks.
The closets are filled with gear as well, with boxes packed into every space.
Photo: James Overstreet - The closets are filled with gear as well, with boxes packed into every space.
And of course there are plenty of his own signature series Plano tackle bags.
Photo: James Overstreet - And of course there are plenty of his own signature series Plano tackle bags.
The walls have shelves for even more hooks and boxes. The big boxes are for storage too but mainly used for transporting tackle in bulk from event to event.
Photo: James Overstreet - The walls have shelves for even more hooks and boxes. The big boxes are for storage too but mainly used for transporting tackle in bulk from event to event.
When it’s time to pack, they look like this; filled to the brim with whatever VanDam thinks he might need for the coming event.
Photo: James Overstreet - When it’s time to pack, they look like this; filled to the brim with whatever VanDam thinks he might need for the coming event.
The deeper you dig there are more Quantum rods.
Photo: James Overstreet - The deeper you dig there are more Quantum rods.
VanDam is a big believer in hooks, changing them frequently. These Mustad Triple Grips are among his favorite. “I’ve won hundreds of thousands of dollars on these,’’ he said.
Photo: James Overstreet - VanDam is a big believer in hooks, changing them frequently. These Mustad Triple Grips are among his favorite. “I’ve won hundreds of thousands of dollars on these,’’ he said.
He has drawers filled with line, every size you can imagine and organized meticulously.
Photo: James Overstreet - He has drawers filled with line, every size you can imagine and organized meticulously.
When asked if he really used all that line, VanDam said, “I’ll go through every bit of it in a year’s time.”
Photo: James Overstreet - When asked if he really used all that line, VanDam said, “I’ll go through every bit of it in a year’s time.”
More walls are filled with containers full of baits and equipment.
Photo: James Overstreet - More walls are filled with containers full of baits and equipment.
And more shelves are filled with hooks and terminal tackle.
Photo: James Overstreet - And more shelves are filled with hooks and terminal tackle.
It’s all out of sight until VanDam pulls it out and starts packing.
Photo: James Overstreet - It’s all out of sight until VanDam pulls it out and starts packing.
He even has a wooden bowl filled with extra Quantum reels, ready to go if he needs them. But these are mostly semi-retired.
Photo: James Overstreet - He even has a wooden bowl filled with extra Quantum reels, ready to go if he needs them. But these are mostly semi-retired.
Looking around the room there are more logos and photos that are meaningful to him.
Photo: James Overstreet - Looking around the room there are more logos and photos that are meaningful to him.
But in much of the room there are tributes to others, like this blanket from a Make-A-Wish trip.
Photo: James Overstreet - But in much of the room there are tributes to others, like this blanket from a Make-A-Wish trip.
And this wooden plaque that is signed on the back.
Photo: James Overstreet - And this wooden plaque that is signed on the back.
But carved on the front. All of these pieces have a special place. VanDam gets close to emotional when he talks about each one of them. “For people to send me these kind of things, it’s just…,’’ and his voice trails off moving to another item in the room.
Photo: James Overstreet - But carved on the front. All of these pieces have a special place. VanDam gets close to emotional when he talks about each one of them. “For people to send me these kind of things, it’s just…,’’ and his voice trails off moving to another item in the room.
The dormer in the man cave is really special. It showcases each of the four jerseys VanDam was wearing when he won the Bassmaster Classic.
Photo: James Overstreet - The dormer in the man cave is really special. It showcases each of the four jerseys VanDam was wearing when he won the Bassmaster Classic.
It all connects to home that in many ways look like it came straight out of Better Homes and Garden magazine. That’s a tribute to Sherry VanDam.
Photo: James Overstreet - It all connects to home that in many ways look like it came straight out of Better Homes and Garden magazine. That’s a tribute to Sherry VanDam.
The home looks over 425 acres near Kalamazoo.
Photo: James Overstreet - The home looks over 425 acres near Kalamazoo.
It comes with a swimming pool.
Photo: James Overstreet - It comes with a swimming pool.
But it’s used more to test lures than for taking a dip or sun bathing.
Photo: James Overstreet - But it’s used more to test lures than for taking a dip or sun bathing.
The spacious home is comfortable for the VanDams.
Photo: James Overstreet - The spacious home is comfortable for the VanDams.
But no place is more comfortable than sitting in the trophy room.
Photo: James Overstreet - But no place is more comfortable than sitting in the trophy room.
With 25 Bassmaster wins, four Classic victories and seven Angler of the Year titles along with some FLW and MLF trophies, he needs a whole room.
Photo: James Overstreet - With 25 Bassmaster wins, four Classic victories and seven Angler of the Year titles along with some FLW and MLF trophies, he needs a whole room.
He didn’t say it, but we know he was thinking: “There’s room for more.”
Photo: James Overstreet - He didn’t say it, but we know he was thinking: “There’s room for more.”
The trophy room includes several photos of significance to him throughout his career.
Photo: James Overstreet - The trophy room includes several photos of significance to him throughout his career.
Including one of a farm field that was cut and planted in his logo a few years ago.
Photo: James Overstreet - Including one of a farm field that was cut and planted in his logo a few years ago.
But it’s hard to keep your eyes off the trophy rack when you are in the room.
Photo: James Overstreet - But it’s hard to keep your eyes off the trophy rack when you are in the room.
Even with a wall full of <em>Bassmaster</em> Magazine covers he has appeared on.
Photo: James Overstreet - Even with a wall full of Bassmaster Magazine covers he has appeared on.
Or with a shelf full of Bassmaster Classic rings.
Photo: James Overstreet - Or with a shelf full of Bassmaster Classic rings.
There’s a photo of him and Sherry with President George H. Bush from the Eagles of Angling event.
Photo: James Overstreet - There’s a photo of him and Sherry with President George H. Bush from the Eagles of Angling event.
And one of Nicholas and Jackson when they were children fishing on a creek bank. The trophy room includes all the things that VanDam really holds special in his heart.
Photo: James Overstreet - And one of Nicholas and Jackson when they were children fishing on a creek bank. The trophy room includes all the things that VanDam really holds special in his heart.
But his home is more than that. It has everything he needs to unwind after a long road trip.
Photo: James Overstreet - But his home is more than that. It has everything he needs to unwind after a long road trip.
Including a quiet balcony to enjoy his morning coffee or an afternoon drink.
Photo: James Overstreet - Including a quiet balcony to enjoy his morning coffee or an afternoon drink.
A VanDam home wouldn’t be complete without a fishing lake.
Photo: James Overstreet - A VanDam home wouldn’t be complete without a fishing lake.
The VanDam lake is managed and cared for to allow for a great day of fishing in his own backyard.
Photo: James Overstreet - The VanDam lake is managed and cared for to allow for a great day of fishing in his own backyard.
And his home is just a few steps away.
Photo: James Overstreet - And his home is just a few steps away.
Along with a fire pit and chairs to relax next to the lake.
Photo: James Overstreet - Along with a fire pit and chairs to relax next to the lake.
It connects the whole scene with VanDam’s shop/studio.
Photo: James Overstreet - It connects the whole scene with VanDam’s shop/studio.
And of course, VanDam catches them there like every where else.
Photo: James Overstreet - And of course, VanDam catches them there like every where else.
This one is a largemouth.
Photo: James Overstreet - This one is a largemouth.
And a nice one at that.
Photo: James Overstreet - And a nice one at that.
But the next one is a smallmouth.
Photo: James Overstreet - But the next one is a smallmouth.
And it’s a nice one as well.
Photo: James Overstreet - And it’s a nice one as well.
This is KVD’s oasis, the whole world, at least his whole home, seems to be his man cave.
Photo: James Overstreet - This is KVD’s oasis, the whole world, at least his whole home, seems to be his man cave.