Kevin VanDam Leads Day One of 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Toledo Bend

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2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Toledo Bend Day One Leader Kevin VanDam - photo by Gary Tramontina - Bassmaster

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Toledo Bend Day One Leader Kevin VanDam – photo by Gary Tramontina – Bassmaster

MANY, La. — Kevin VanDam wanted badly to fish offshore during the three-day practice period for the A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend.

But a steady 20-mph wind just wouldn’t allow it.

The winds died Thursday as the tournament began, and fishing fans in central Louisiana got to see why VanDam was so anxious to move away from the banks.

The pro fishing superstar from Kalamazoo, Mich., brought in a five-bass limit that weighed 29 pounds, 5 ounces to top the leaderboard on a day when 12 anglers caught at least 20 pounds. He leads a star-studded Top 5 that includes 69-year-old Missouri legend Rick Clunn (24-10), North Carolina pro Hank Cherry, Jr. (24- 7), 2012 GEICO Bassmaster Classic winner Chris Lane (23-14) and reigning Classic champion Edwin Evers (22-11).

“I started on the shallow pattern and caught a good limit early, and that gave me the confidence to go and fish deep,” said VanDam, who has four Classic titles on his resume. “I didn’t get to fish deep in practice the way I like to because of all the wind. So I fished a lot of places today that I hadn’t fished at all this week.

“You just can’t physically fish out there when it’s blowing 20 — if you want to fish off the bank.”

VanDam, who also had the big bass of the day with an 8-5 largemouth, said he was keying on areas that had big numbers of white bass and yellow bass. Both, he said, are good signs that hungry largemouth will be nearby.

“There are a lot of yellow bass — they call them ‘bar fish’ here — and a lot of the big largemouth eat those,” VanDam said. “Those yellow bass and the white bass are all following shad just like the largemouth.

“I caught a lot of white bass — and when you’re doing that, you know there will always be largemouth in the area.”

Clunn, who also has four Classic wins, already wowed the pro fishing community back in March when he won the season-opening Elite Series event on the St. Johns River in Florida. That win made him the oldest angler to ever win a B.A.S.S. event.

On Thursday, he moved into position to equal that feat with a bag of 24-10 that was bolstered by one magic area.

“I have one spot that’s always been good for me,” Clunn said. “It’s only good for one to three fish a day, but they’re always big fish. You can fish there all day long, and that’s all you’re going to get.”

The spot produced three big fish Thursday — a 7-pounder, a 6-pounder and a 4-pounder. When asked how long the spot has been good for him, Clunn responded, “How old is the lake?”

“I think I’ve been fishing that spot since 1974,” he said. “A lot of people won’t fish it because it’s only good for one or two. They pull up there, and if they don’t get a bite pretty soon, they’re moving on.”

Clunn is just 3 ounces ahead of Cherry, who brought in 24-7 despite some bad luck early.

“I weighed in one 3-pound fish, and I hated to do that,” Cherry said. “I lost a 4 1/2-pounder and a 7-pounder this morning. So I could have weighed in close to 30 pounds.”

Cherry said his unfortunate near misses might have been the result of him being “too wired up” because he knew he was on good fish.

“I knew I was going to get a lot of bites,” he said. “I didn’t know how big they were going to be, but I knew I was around a lot of fish.

“The fish are still there, because I know I left some.”

In all, 99 of the 108 Elite Series anglers weighed in five-bass limits today, validating Toledo Bend’s ranking as the No. 1 bass fishery in the country, according to Bassmaster Magazine’s current 100 Best Bass Lakes list.

If no one catches a bass as heavy as VanDam’s 8-5 largemouth through the end of the event Sunday, he will win the Phoenix Boats Big Bass award, worth $1,500.

The tournament will resume Friday, with take-off scheduled for 6:15 a.m. CT at Cypress Bend Park. The weigh-in will be held back at the park at 3:15 p.m., with the field being trimmed to the Top 50 for Saturday’s semifinal round.

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Berkley, GoPro

2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, Power-Pole, Rapala, Shell Rotella, Shimano, Academy Sports + Outdoors, A.R.E. Truck Caps, Carhartt

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

2016 A.R.E. Truck Caps Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend 5/12-5/15
Toledo Bend Reservoir, Many  LA.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts 

1.  Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  29-05  110
Day 1: 5   29-05
2.  Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  24-10  109
Day 1: 5   24-10
3.  Hank Cherry Jr         Maiden, NC               5  24-07  108
Day 1: 5   24-07
4.  Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  23-14  107
Day 1: 5   23-14
5.  Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  22-11  106
Day 1: 5   22-11
6.  Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA         5  22-09  105
Day 1: 5   22-09
7.  Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         5  21-14  104
Day 1: 5   21-14
8.  Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  21-03  103
Day 1: 5   21-03
8.  Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  21-03  103
Day 1: 5   21-03
10. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  20-10  101
Day 1: 5   20-10
11. Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA        5  20-02  100
Day 1: 5   20-02
12. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  20-00   99
Day 1: 5   20-00
13. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  19-11   98
Day 1: 5   19-11
14. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  19-09   97
Day 1: 5   19-09
15. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  19-00   96
Day 1: 5   19-00
15. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  19-00   96
Day 1: 5   19-00
17. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  18-15   94
Day 1: 5   18-15
18. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           5  18-13   93
Day 1: 5   18-13
19. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       5  18-09   92
Day 1: 5   18-09
20. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  18-08   91
Day 1: 5   18-08
21. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  18-07   90
Day 1: 5   18-07
22. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL             5  18-03   89
Day 1: 5   18-03
23. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  18-02   88
Day 1: 5   18-02
24. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  17-13   87
Day 1: 5   17-13
25. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  17-11   86
Day 1: 5   17-11
26. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  17-10   85
Day 1: 5   17-10
27. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  17-05   84
Day 1: 5   17-05
28. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                5  17-03   83
Day 1: 5   17-03
29. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  17-02   82
Day 1: 5   17-02
29. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  17-02   82
Day 1: 5   17-02
31. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  17-01   80
Day 1: 5   17-01
32. Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 5  17-00   79
Day 1: 5   17-00
33. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  16-14   78
Day 1: 5   16-14
34. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  16-13   77
Day 1: 5   16-13
35. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  16-10   76
Day 1: 5   16-10
35. Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                5  16-10   76
Day 1: 5   16-10
37. Casey Scanlon          Rocky Mount, MO          5  16-09   74
Day 1: 5   16-09
38. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  16-07   73
Day 1: 5   16-07
39. John Murray            Spring City, TN          5  16-06   72
Day 1: 5   16-06
40. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  16-04   71
Day 1: 5   16-04
41. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          5  15-15   70
Day 1: 5   15-15
42. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  15-11   69
Day 1: 5   15-11
43. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  15-04   68
Day 1: 5   15-04
44. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  15-02   67
Day 1: 5   15-02
45. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  15-00   66
Day 1: 5   15-00
46. Billy McCaghren Jr     Mayflower, AR            5  14-15   65
Day 1: 5   14-15
47. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            5  14-13   64
Day 1: 5   14-13
48. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  14-13   63
Day 1: 5   14-13
49. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  14-12   62
Day 1: 5   14-12
50. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  14-11   61
Day 1: 5   14-11
50. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  14-11   61
Day 1: 5   14-11
52. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  14-10   59
Day 1: 5   14-10
53. Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN          5  14-08   58
Day 1: 5   14-08
54. Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         5  14-04   57
Day 1: 5   14-04
55. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  14-03   56
Day 1: 5   14-03
56. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  14-02   55
Day 1: 5   14-02
57. Jay Brainard           Enid, OK                 5  14-01   54
Day 1: 5   14-01
58. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  13-14   53
Day 1: 5   13-14
59. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  13-11   52
Day 1: 5   13-11
59. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  13-11   52
Day 1: 5   13-11
61. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  13-10   50
Day 1: 5   13-10
62. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  13-09   49
Day 1: 5   13-09
62. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  13-09   49
Day 1: 5   13-09
62. John Hunter Jr         Shelbyville, KY          5  13-09   49
Day 1: 5   13-09
62. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  13-09   49
Day 1: 5   13-09
66. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  13-09   45
Day 1: 5   13-09
67. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  13-03   44
Day 1: 5   13-03
68. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  4  13-02   43
Day 1: 4   13-02
69. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  13-00   42
Day 1: 5   13-00
70. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               5  12-12   41
Day 1: 5   12-12
71. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  12-09   40
Day 1: 5   12-09
72. Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ             5  12-08   39
Day 1: 5   12-08
72. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  12-08   39
Day 1: 5   12-08
74. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  12-07   37
Day 1: 5   12-07
75. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  12-06   36
Day 1: 5   12-06
75. Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             5  12-06   36
Day 1: 5   12-06
77. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  11-15   34
Day 1: 5   11-15
78. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  11-14   33
Day 1: 5   11-14
78. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  11-14   33
Day 1: 5   11-14
80. Chad Grigsby           Maple Grove, MN          5  11-08   31
Day 1: 5   11-08
81. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  11-07   30
Day 1: 5   11-07
82. Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         5  11-07   29
Day 1: 5   11-07
83. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           5  11-06   28
Day 1: 5   11-06
84. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  11-05   27
Day 1: 5   11-05
85. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  11-04   26
Day 1: 5   11-04
86. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                3  11-04   25
Day 1: 3   11-04
87. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  10-08   24
Day 1: 5   10-08
87. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  10-08   24
Day 1: 5   10-08
87. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  10-08   24
Day 1: 5   10-08
90. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  10-06   21
Day 1: 5   10-06
91. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  10-03   20
Day 1: 5   10-03
92. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            5  10-02   19
Day 1: 5   10-02
93. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  10-00   18
Day 1: 5   10-00
93. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  10-00   18
Day 1: 5   10-00
95. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  09-05   16
Day 1: 5   09-05
96. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  09-03   15
Day 1: 5   09-03
96. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  09-03   15
Day 1: 5   09-03
98. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  09-02   13
Day 1: 5   09-02
99. David Williams         Newton, NC               5  08-13   12
Day 1: 5   08-13
100. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               4  08-13   11
Day 1: 4   08-13
101. Ken Iyobe              Tokoname  Aichi JAPAN    5  08-11   10
Day 1: 5   08-11
102. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                5  07-14    9
Day 1: 5   07-14
103. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                3  05-07    8
Day 1: 3   05-07
104. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         3  05-00    7
Day 1: 3   05-00
105. Luke Clausen           Otis Orchards, WA        2  03-06    6
Day 1: 2   03-06
106. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA  1  02-01    5
Day 1: 1   02-01
107. Fabian Rodriguez       Ocean City, DE           1  01-15    4
Day 1: 1   01-15
108. Randy Allen            Shreveport, LA           1  01-06    3
Day 1: 1   01-06
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        99       517      1556-06
———————————-
99       517      1556-06