Unfortunately for the fourth week in a row we’re unable to name a winner of this week’s Bass Fishing Archives Trivia Contest sponsored by Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits! Some good answers but not the right ones. Please come back next week and try again. For the answers, read below.
Steve Price may have penned the understatement of the century when he wrote the following about Kevin VanDam’s victory in the December 1991 Bassmaster about the Top 100 on Lake Lanier:
“The victory was VanDam’s first in B.A.S.S. competition, but it probably won’t be his last.”
Indeed, KVD has gone on to win 19 more B.A.S.S events, including four Bassmaster Classic titles, and he’s probably not through yet.
At Lanier, five of the six anglers directly behind him were either past or future Classic winners, and the field was full of local experts including Tom Mann Jr. (9th), Doug Youngblood (14th), Cliff Craft (31st) and Mickey Bruce (35th). Nevertheless, observant fishing fans of that era should not have been surprised that KVD won, since he had been the top rookie the prior year.
Since recent questions have been a little tough, we’ll make this three-parter relatively easy:
- What was it about KVD’s catch that surprised the local experts?
- What category and brand of lure did KVD use for most of his fish?
- Who caught the big fish of the event and what did it weigh?
Here are the answers:
Heading into the tournament, it was expected that deep spotted bass would be the path to victory, with small finesse plastics and jigging spoons the primary techniques used to catch them. As Cliff Craft told Bassmaster, “During the prepractice time, the lake was clear and cold, and the largemouth bite up the Chattahootchee and Chestatee rivers was virtually non-existent. That’s what led everyone to believe they’d have to finesse spotted bass out of deep water.”
However, conditions changed, and heavy rains and warming temperatures moved the fish shallow. While a cold front and clear skies immediately preceding the tournament led many pros to believe that the shallow fish would either leave or develop lockjaw, VanDam and a handful of others were able to find bass in the upper reaches of the lake that remained shallow and active. He fished the Chattahootchee with two different Nichols spinnerbaits:
- ½ ounce double willowleaf with white skirt and silver blades
- ½ ounce with a white/chartreuse skirt and a single painted metalflake blade.
While a spinnerbait accounted for the bulk of his catch, he also used several different colors of Bomber Model A crankbait beginning on the third afternoon of competition.
Second-place finisher Denny Brauer caught the big fish of the tournament, a 9-06 largemouth, on the morning of the fourth day of the event. He used a big Stanley spinnerbait to lure it out of a fallen tree. He’d entered the day in 3rd place, almost 12 pounds behind KVD, but with his first two bites of the morning he’d made up that difference. Even though VanDam could only muster a total of 8-07 on that day, it was still enough to outlast Brauer by just over 3 pounds.