Kevin VanDam is a champion in the professional bass fishing community. He’s a 7-time Angler of the Year Champion, 4-time Bassmaster Classic winner, and recipient of ESPN’s first-ever “Outdoorsman of the Year” ESPY trophy. Needless to say, his name has become synonymous with the sport. But beyond being a fierce competitor and dedicated bass fishing ambassador, Kevin is a family man. When he’s not on tour, you’ll find him spending time with his wife and twin boys fishing and deer hunting in the off-season.
What goes through your head when you first wake up in the morning when you’re about to go fishing?
Check the weather forecast for the day and think about how that may affect the patterns and scouted locations on the water. It’s on way I game plan for competition day.
Where is your favourite place to fish?
Northern Michigan. There are a lot of options like inland lakes, Great Lakes and crystal-clear water with big smallmouth bass.
Tell us a favourite story from a day out fishing.
I was on a group trip with a bunch of buddies when I was 7 years old and I caught my first smallmouth bass. I remember the way it jumped, fought, and pulled. It left a lasting impression I’ll never forget.
How do you up your game year after year?
I control all of the variables I can. I use the very best equipment because I have to be able to count on it.
Who are your heroes? Who do you look up to?
Early in my career, I looked up to a lot of legends in the sport, but also my dad for getting me started and giving me the opportunity to learn about fishing. It’s how I got my passion for the outdoors.
What haven’t you accomplished that you aspire to do in your lifetime?
My goals are always the same. I want to win every tournament such as the Toyota Bassmaster Classic AOY Championship. It doesn’t happen all of the time, but you have to appreciate small victories along the way.
If there is any love-hate relationship with any aspect of what you do, can you describe what that is?
Travel, hands down. I love going to new places and learning new bodies of water, but being on the road away from home and family is a downside.
What would be your day job if you weren’t doing what you currently doing?
I would still be in the industry working at my brother’s sporting goods store and marine dealership in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
If you could bring anybody in the world with you to do what you love (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would love to take my grandfather out on the water at this point in my life. He was never able to see what I was able to do with my passion for fishing.