Kevin VanDam Refuses to Slow Down, Wins In Florida

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Kevin VanDam Refuses to Slow Down, Wins In Florida

3/17/08

LAKE WALES, FLORIDA – Finally, BASS’ all-time earnings leader, three-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year and two-time Bassmaster Classic winner Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, can add a win in Florida to his resume.

While the inconsistent weather conditions shut down the bite for the most part Sunday, VanDam stuck with the same plan he’d used all week and weighed in a limit of 10 pounds, 6 ounces for a tournament total of 59-7 – good enough to hold off Ray Sedgwick of Cross, South Carolina, with 57-12 – to win the Citrus Slam presented by Longhorn on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.

Coverage from the second Elite event of 2008 airs Saturday, March 22, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

Scott Rook of Little Rock, Arkansas, finished third with 56-7, Kenyon Hill of Norman, Oklahoma, took fourth with 54-2 and Bill Lowen of North Bend, Ohio, rounded out the top five with 53-3.

Before Sunday, VanDam had not won a BASS event in Florida in his 18-year career. In fact, he said, he didn’'t recall ever leading a day at any event in the Sunshine State.

“I guess it’s a mental thing more than anything,” VanDam said. “So often you’ve got to fish so slow to catch them here, and it’s not in my nature, I just cannot force myself to do it. If I’m not getting bit very often I can’t stay still, it’s who I am.”

VanDam caught all of his bigger keepers through the week on a red-eye shad on scattered hydrilla clumps in 7-10 feet of water on Lake Tohopekaliga. He would let the bait hit the bottom, rip it up and let it flutter down, and he said the key was that it has a wiggle to it that no other lipless crankbait has. He said he was fortunate not to lose any quality fish, though he added that Sunday’s fishing was made tougher by wind direction and current.

“I was shocked at how tough it was out there,” VanDam said. “You just had to work really hard, and when you got a bite you had to be precise with your next cast. I could go back to those same spots, leave for a little while and come back and catch another – I learned a long time ago here, if you catch a bass out of the hyrdilla in the open lake, you better mark that exact spot.”

Sedgwick, who leap-frogged Rook for second place with a Day 4 limit of 11-8, agreed that the wind – especially the persistent gales Saturday – helped turn off the bite.

“Anytime with this water in Florida the wind knocks the silt and mud off of that grass, fish quit biting,” Sedgwick said. “These Florida fish are as finicky a fish as anywhere in the country. Anything changing, you can expect changes with the fish.”

Sedgwick’s approach was entirely different. He stayed in Lake Kissimmee throughout the tournament, using reaction baits and spinnerbaits in the mornings, and when the wind quit he would slow down considerably with a Zoom worm. He said the better fish seemed to be striking a 6-inch worm, but he had to soak it.

“You had to throw it in there and just count to 10 or so, think, daydream … I’m a Southern boy, and I’m pretty slow,” Sedgwick said, “but that was real slow.”

With the victory Sunday, VanDam, who has scored three victories in Elite Series competition, claims the $100,000 first-place prize, bringing his BASS career earnings to more than $2.7 million.

The 2008 Bassmaster Classic winner Alton Jones, of Waco, Texas, finished sixth with 52-10, while local favorite Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., took seventh with 52-9.

Kenyon Hill of Norman, Okla., earned a $2,000 bonus for the Purolator Big Bass of the tournament, a 10-3 lunker caught Friday, and Byron Velvick of Del Rio, Texas, earned the $10,000 Berkley Heavyweight award for his Thursday catch of 25 pounds, 0 ounces.

Elite pros are building points in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race. The winner of the seasonlong points competition will earn $250,000 and the standings will determine 36 qualifiers for the 2009 Bassmaster Classic.

Up next on the Elite Series circuit is the Lone Star Shootout, April 3-6 on Falcon Lake in Zapata, Texas.

Location and Field
Citrus Slam
Kissimmee Chain
Lake Wales, Fla.
March 13-16, 2008

Field
109 pros, 109 co-anglers
Cut to top 50 after Day 2
Cut to top 12 pro anglers after Day 3

Launch/Weigh-in
Camp Mack’s River Resort
14900 Camp Mack Road
Lake Wales, FL 33898

2008 Bassmaster Elite Series Event Dates

Date
Event Name
Fishery
Host City
March 6-9
Sunshine Showdown
Harris Chain of Lakes
Leesburg, Fla.
March 13-16
Citrus Slam
Kissimmee Chain
Lake Wales, Fla.
April 3-6
Lone Star Shootout
Falcon Lake
Zapata, Texas
April 10-13
Battle on the Border
Lake Amistad
Del Rio, Texas

May 1-4
Pride of Georgia
Clarks Hill Lake
Evans, Ga.
May 15-18
Carolina Clash
Lake Murray
Columbia, S.C.
June 5-8
Southern Challenge
Wheeler Lake
Decatur, Ala.
June 12-15
Bluegrass Brawl
Kentucky Lake
Gilbertsville, Ky.
June 26-29
River Rumble
Mississippi River
Fort Madison, Iowa
July 31- Aug. 3
Empire Chase
Lake Erie/Niagara River
Buffalo, N.Y.
Aug. 7-10
Champion’s Choice
Oneida Lake
Syracuse, N.Y.


Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series include Toyota Tundra, Advance Auto Parts, Berkley, Lowrance, Mercury, Purolator, Skeeter, Yamaha, Evan Williams Bourbon, Longhorn, OPTIMA Batteries, Triton Boats, Costa Del Mar, MotorGuide and Ramada Worldwide.


About BASS

For 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive web properties in www.Bassmaster.com and www.ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers a wide array of services to its more than 525,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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Media contact: Doug Grassian, (407) 566-

2008 Citrus Slam 3/13-3/16
Kissimmee Chain, Lake Wales FL.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 4

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 20 59-07 310 $100,000.00
Day 1: 5 18-00 Day 2: 5 17-11 Day 3: 5 13-06 Day 4: 5 10-06
2. Ray Sedgwick Cross, SC 20 57-12 295 $32,000.00
Day 1: 5 17-02 Day 2: 5 10-14 Day 3: 5 18-04 Day 4: 5 11-08
3. Scott Rook Little Rock, AR 20 56-07 290 $25,000.00
Day 1: 5 19-14 Day 2: 5 13-12 Day 3: 5 13-06 Day 4: 5 09-07
4. Kenyon Hill Norman, OK 20 54-02 285 $20,000.00
Day 1: 5 15-10 Day 2: 5 17-13 Day 3: 5 09-09 Day 4: 5 11-02
5. Bill Lowen North Bend, OH 20 53-03 280 $17,000.00
Day 1: 5 16-15 Day 2: 5 13-06 Day 3: 5 14-07 Day 4: 5 08-07
6. Alton Jones Waco, TX 20 52-10 276 $15,500.00
Day 1: 5 15-13 Day 2: 5 13-00 Day 3: 5 12-12 Day 4: 5 11-01
7. Bobby Lane Lakeland, FL 20 52-09 272 $16,000.00
Day 1: 5 18-10 Day 2: 5 14-13 Day 3: 5 08-00 Day 4: 5 11-02
8. Bryan Hudgins Orange Park, FL 18 52-07 268 $15,500.00
Day 1: 5 17-09 Day 2: 3 05-04 Day 3: 5 20-10 Day 4: 5 09-00
9. Kelly Jordon Mineola, TX 13 51-07 269 $14,000.00
Day 1: 5 22-14 Day 2: 5 21-05 Day 3: 0 00-00 Day 4: 3 07-04
10. Terry Scroggins San Mateo, FL 20 49-02 260 $13,500.00
Day 1: 5 23-02 Day 2: 5 11-11 Day 3: 5 06-08 Day 4: 5 07-13
11. Jeff Reynolds Idabel, OK 20 46-08 257 $12,500.00
Day 1: 5 20-12 Day 2: 5 08-05 Day 3: 5 11-12 Day 4: 5 05-11
12. Rick Morris Virginia Beach, VA 16 44-12 254 $12,300.00
Day 1: 5 13-09 Day 2: 5 19-04 Day 3: 5 10-02 Day 4: 1 01-13
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

PUROLATOR BIG BASS
Day
1 Jared Lintner Arroyo Grande, CA 08-13 $1,000.00
2 Kenyon Hill Norman, OK 10-03 $1,000.00
3 Ray Sedgwick Cross, SC 07-07 $1,000.00
4 Bobby Lane Lakeland, FL 04-12 $1,000.00

PUROLATOR BIG BASS OF TOURN
Kenyon Hill Norman, OK 10-03 $1,000.00

BERKLEY HEAVYWEIGHT
Day
1 Byron Velvick Del Rio, TX 25-00 $1,000.00
2 Jay Fuller Kingston, OK 22-08 $1,000.00
3 Bryan Hudgins Orange Park, FL 20-10 $1,000.00
4 Ray Sedgwick Cross, SC 11-08 $1,000.00

BERKLEY HEAVYWEIGHT OF TOURN
Byron Velvick Del Rio, TX 25-00 $10,000.00

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals
Day #Limits #Fish Weight
1 84 490 1040-05
2 93 516 1098-04
3 36 215 437-01
4 10 54 104-10
----------------------------------
223 1275 2680-04



Media Contact:
Doug Grassian (407) 566-2216 or doug.grassian@espn.com
 


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