We can debate his annual dominance as portrayed in his Angler of Year totals, but in a sport that puts so much emphasis on one contest, Kevin Van Dam’s career has reached historic eminence with his fourth Bassmaster Classic title, yesterday–by a 10-pound margin.

And while I will forever admire Rick Clunn for his 32 World Championship appearances, and his four World titles, including a pair of  back-to-backs, Kevin Van Dam has done it the American way: big and fast! And by all appearances, he is clearly in the best position to surge past the 64-year old Clunn, and even surpass his back-to-backs.

So my commentary is brief. KVD is the champion of professional bass fishing (sorry FLW, this is what the public believes). And this formula first created in 1971 is the very reason–this all-or-nothing tournament–is what makes it so critical you don’t have any amateurs (Federated anythings) in there by another qualifying route. Doing so is the equivalent of bass fishing welfare.

But I would also say, to those who deride the runner-up position, that old saying, “Nobody remembers second place,” is just not true. Aaron Martens, no longer living in California, is now the only 4-time  second place finisher in the Bassmasters Classic. And I wish they’d lay off the guy. Recognize his savant-like performances for what they are–genius.

So, Mr. Kevin VanDam, why don’t you go out get the only thing you don’t have? A U.S. Open title. They’ve got one coming up in July.


15 Responses to “Not a lot to say: VanDam is the guy”

Nice! A U.S. Open title would end any debate about who is the best. That is if there is still any debate. I always thought that the greatest angler debate that happened a couple years ago really provided KVD with some extra motivation. Not that he needed any. At the time I voted for Rick Clunn, who has always been one of my heroes in the sport. If I had to vote today…..

2nd Place in four Classics..2nd best in the World of Bass fishing. I think id be smiling if I was Aaron.

In my book, while I think he’ll eventually become the greatest bass angler of all time, at present, I’d have to put him in a tie with Clunn for that title. It’s close, but people forget all the titles Clunn has collected from all the various circuits, which in my book is worth more than winning a lot or even more in just a single circuit.

They both have 4 Classic wins, and KVD has him beat hands down in AOY titles 6(?)-1, but while he (KVD) won an FLW AOY title, he never actually won a single event in the 4 years he fished that circuit. Clunn won 3 FLW tour events and had Top-10 finishes in almost 35% of all the FLW events he fished (60), but could only muster a 2nd as his best AOY effort. In addition, Clunn has 1 All-American title, 1 MegaBucks title, and 2 U.S. Open titles to his credit. To offset that a bit, KVD has a few more B.A.S.S. indiviual wins than Clunn, but then again, Clunn has 32 Classic appearances, 28 of which were consecutive. KVD just finished his 21st consecutive Classic, meaning he still needs 7 more consecutive Classics and 12 more total to even tie Clunn in that category.

Overall, these two are head and shoulders above everybody else in my book, but I don’t put one above the other at this point. And yes, kudos to Aaron for his great accomplishment.

You’re right, Brian. “All-time” and hotter than a Mercury manifold in the last five years are two different things.

Four second place finishes by Martens in the Classic is almost as impressive as 4 wins.

KVD is fishing against better and smarter fishermen than Clunn. Sorry to put it that way, but it’s the truth.

Rick Clunn was kind of like UFC Hall of Fame fighter Royce Gracie. He was a pioneer and the best of his time but as mixed martial arts came to the forefront and martial artists became more well rounded, Royce was all of a sudden one dimensional and not the master anymore. The sport evolved faster than he.

KVD is that guy. He can beat you with anything in his arsenal and is very well rounded. Nothing against Clunn, but when it’s all said and done, Clunn will be an afterthought when you look at both his and KVD’s career. Remember, KVD has already achieved more and he’s at least 20 years younger.


Theres no question in my mind that Kevin has established him self as the G.O.A.T. greatest of all time.

It isn’t even debatable. Kevin Van Dam is not only the best Bass fisherman that has ever lived, but he is the best ambassadeur to the sport we have ever had. If you think KVD wouldn’t SMOKE the field in the US OPEN, you’re kidding yourself. Not to take any accomplishments away from Clunn, he was at one point the most dominant fisherman of his time. But like anything, there’s always somebody that is going to be better and that guy is KVD.

Best “tournament” bass fisherman and I would agree. But I think Lake Mead in July will be out there saying, “Here I am.” 🙂

The better smarter fisherman of today have the advantage of the data base that has grown from the foundation and body of work of hall-of-famers. Those trailblazers deserve the credit and respect for their accomplishments with out the advantages of the current volume of accumulated knowledge and resource of quantum leaps of technical refinements and innovation. Clearly, no one currently comes close to putting the pieces of the puzzle together as quickly or as often as KVD. A scary thought is that he has said referring to slow soaking a worm or a jig, that he “just can’t fish like that”. That tells me that he has not reached his full potential.

regarding Rick Clunn and Kevin Van Dam: Each man stands on his own lofty pedestal. They are both gods of our sport, and the “balance beam” is virtually level, with each of these amazing champions likely to defer to the other.

Hippie for G.O.A.T!!!

Way more talent today than in the 80’s and 90’s. More competition, better electronics, mapping and way more pressure on the water with other tournaments and pleasure anglers competing for the same fish on the same lakes the same day. KVD by a landslide. In fact he has won more money than the 2nd and 3rd alltime BASS money winners combined. Yes and the WON Bass Open is a challenge, and Mr Clunn is a stud, but back East he is having a hard time even keeping up with the younger guys on the Tour and struggles to even make the Classic anymore. KVD can beat you with a spinning rod or a baitcasting rod and is the complete and consumate basspro.

Always a risk to compare eras. Mickey Mantle never made more than $100,000 in a year–$1.1 million in his entire career. What was a bigger deal, the Wright Bros. or the Space shuttle? In 30 years they’ll be saying, “Can you believe KVD only won 7 Classics with that soft competition?” That’s progress. 😉

he is good