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VanDam credits Humminbird depthfinders for his Classic victory

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RGecy:
Technology aids bass fishing
VanDam credits Humminbird depthfinders for his Classic victory
5:39 p.m. EST, March 11, 2010

Thanks to his knowledge, confidence and new depthfinders, Kevin VanDam made winning last month's Bassmaster Classic look easy.

VanDam, of Kalamazoo, Mich., won his third Classic, catching a three-day total of 15 fish weighing 51 pounds, 6 ounces on Alabama's Lay Lake. Jeff Kriet, of Ardmore, Okla., was five pounds back in second place after going into the final day with a two-ounce lead over VanDam.

The victory augmented the reputation of VanDam, 42, as the most dominant bass pro of his generation and perhaps of all time.

After becoming only the second angler to win more than two Classics Rick Clunn has won four and the first to surpass $4 million in Bassmaster tournament winnings, VanDam gave credit for his victory to his Humminbird 1197c SI Combo side-imaging depthfinder.

VanDam had recently become a member of the Humminbird pro staff and raved about how the 1197 on the console of his boat he has a 958c Combo by his trolling motor allowed him to find the exact spot on the 47-mile-long, 12,000-acre impoundment where he needed to fish after he ran the length of the lake on two different days during practice.

"Without a doubt, the biggest advance that I've seen technologically in our sport in many years is the input of our GPS mapping and side-imaging," VanDam said. "I covered every creek on this lake. I went in every pocket.

"Even in shallow water, I had mine set on 100 foot right and left and you could see the grass, I could follow a channel, you could see exactly how the bottom runs.

"That allowed me to really cover the lake a lot better. I did not get a lot of bites, but the areas that I got bites in, I knew that when you found that little bit of coontail [grass], and you found a defined channel, that's where those fish wanted to go, that's where they were eventually going to go and those were the areas that I was going to concentrate on in the tournament."

VanDam's knowledge of how the bass would react to the lake conditions helped him select his spot at the back of Beeswax Creek. Although the water temperature was cold in the low 40s he knew bass were going to be in his area, which had grass, tree stumps and two channels, and that more would move in as the water temperature warmed.

He was the only one of 51 anglers to catch more than 19 pounds a day and he did it twice. His only off day, when he caught 12-7, was due to a one-foot drop in the water level overnight, but the fish had adjusted to the drop by Day 3.

"What I was looking for was stuff you can't see with your eyes. You had to find it with your electronics. One of the great things about the Humminbird is when I'd find a stump I'd mark the GPS coordinate on it and you'd know exactly where the stump's sitting.

"I had one stump in there that I caught seven bass off of. A lot of them I caught two or three. That's all I did is just go around and around hitting these key little areas, certain stumps. All I'd have to do is let them rest for 15 or 20 minutes and I could go back in there and usually get a bite."

Humminbird started a promotion before the Classic to have your boat rigged with the same depthfinders as VanDam. Register online at www.vandamyourboat.com.


Copyright 2010, South Florida Sun-Sentinel


http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/outdoors/fl-outdoors-lead-0312-20100311,0,687494.story

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