KVD instantly thinks of Grand Lake when he says “Cold weather tournaments.” Grand Lake, in November 1991 was the coldest place I remember fishing. Ron Shuffield was the winner of that contest. Baby Carp the rod guides and boat ramps were also frozen. It was horrible. Then, one year later, in early November 2012, Jim Morton won with a buzzbait and snowstorm the 1992 Grand event. Cliff Pace won the 2013 Classic on Day 1. VanDam recalls that it was 23 degrees when they took off.
It’s Still Winter! – Sunday’s first official practice session ended in 70 degrees, but the participants started in beanie caps and temperatures in the 40s. This is similar to the water surface temperatures.
“Dude, this shocks me!” VanDam said, “48-degree water is way cooler than I was expecting,” to start the day.
“That is why I saw gulls diving onto stunned and dying shad at the bottom of coves. He said that the tournament would fish more like a late-winter event than a true prespawn springtime derby, given the overnight lows of 30 degrees for the remainder of the week.
VanDam’s Elite Series win at Grand Lake in June 2007 was VanDam’s launchpad for the now-famous color “sexy shad”.
Strike King’s “baby carp”, a brown-orange,-red craw color has been his true love this time of the year. It’s a lot of fun, so don’t be surprised if Grand becomes the stage for VanDam once more to make another pantones color famous.
Shotgun blast – VanDam was carrying his Series 3 crankbait, baby carp-colored Series 3, around the midlake creek at 9:30 am Sunday when a loud shotgun blast interrupted a peaceful and calm morning.
The elderly man was standing on his porch at his lakeside home and clearly wanted to scare the geese away. He apparently never saw VanDam’s boat.
VanDam’s trolling engine was 20 yards away when the shot pellets hit the water. Kevin hollered at the man to let him know he was there. He was clearly perturbed. The man waved goodbye and returned to his home.
- A younger man was doing landscape work and checked Kevin to make sure he was OK.
- No harm. It is likely an honest error. A little too close to home for comfort.
54 years old and still fast – VanDam has been a tournament angler for 30 years. He may have to use reading glasses from time to time, but at 54, he still aquarium parrot fishes at the same super-fast pace he was known for in 1990.
He can cover a lot of water with either a crankbait or a jerkbait that twitches with a fast cadence. He joked at one point that he hoped that the jig that he had just thrown near a dock wouldn’t bite him, as that would force him to fish more slowly.
VanDam spent twelve hours on Sunday practicing Grand Lake at the end of the day. He caught the first bite in 90 minutes, and then he caught five to six scorable bass that weighed around 16 pounds. Baby Carp Grand knows that Bites weren’t easy and that rain and colder temperatures are coming.
Two different groups of young fans spotted his Toyota Tundra, and waited at the boat ramp to see him arrive after a long practice day.
They shouted “KVD” and he graciously asked them if they would like to take a photo with him. They replied “yes” and one of them commented “Oh my gods, this is the greatest easy thing ever!”
Grand’s cold waters, and the careless shotgun blast were suddenly forgotten as The G.O.A.T. was able to see the good in Grand’s life and career.