Van Dam Shatters Lake Record, Claims Opening Round Lead at Lewisville

Lewisville, Texas – They say everything is bigger in Texas. After an outlandish Day One limit of 24 pounds, two ounces at Lake Lewisville, 2001 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., would agree. Included in his limit was an absolute monster of a bass that tipped the scales at 11 pounds, 13 ounces – the biggest bass ever recorded from the lake.

VanDam cruised to a seven-pound, two-ounce advantage over Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers at the Bassmaster Elite 50 event near Dallas.

“I love Texas!” VanDam exclaimed after weighing in the biggest bass he has ever caught in competition. “The state absolutely has the best fishing in the country, and I just love this fishery.”

VanDam’s tournament can already be considered a success. His big bass earns him an extra $1,000 after taking Purolator Big Bass honors on the day. Additionally, his Wednesday catch earned him the Busch Heavyweight catch of the day and another $1,000.

The three-time CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year appears well on his way to making the cut to the top 12 anglers that comes after the second round. Unfortunately for VanDam, the weights will be zeroed after the first two days and the competitors will start over from scratch.

“We know about the weights being zeroed before coming into this tournament, so that doesn’t take away from my day,” VanDam said. “All in all, I have to say today went pretty well, and I’m extremely happy.”

Although VanDam wasn’t too forthcoming with information on his tackle and techniques, he did offer a few details.

“I’m using a worm, and I have it rigged a special way,” he said. “I’m keying on water anywhere from the bank down to ten feet deep. In the deeper areas, I’m looking for hard bottoms with rock, wood or clay.”

Nearly lost in the shadows of VanDam’s record-breaking day was Evers, who won a CITGO Bassmaster Tour stop at Lake Norman earlier this year. He’s alone in second place after catching a very respectable limit of 17 pounds. His bag included a five pound largemouth taken on a Bass Pro Shops flipping tube. The key to Evers’ day was variety.

“I had 12 rods on my deck when the day started,” Evers said, “and I must’ve caught a fish on every one of them.”

Evers affinity for variety also extended to the water he fished. He caught fish in as little as six inches of water and as deep as 20 feet. Helping the Oklahoma pro’s cause was the familiarity he feels with the lake.

“This lake really reminds me of Lake Texoma,” Evers said. “I grew up fishing there, and I feel really comfortable with this lake. I just have to go out and go fishing here.”

A pound behind Evers in third place is Alabama’s Randy Howell, who caught all of his bass on a slip-shot rigged lizard. His bag included a pair of five pounders and came in four to eight feet of water on points.

“I’ve got a pattern that should hold up,” Howell said. “I visited a spot I had yet to fish in practice and caught one of my five pounders there.”

Rounding out the top five are 2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Michael Iaconelli (15-6) and 2004 CITGO Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle (13-11).

This week’s visit to Lake Lewisville marks the first in BASS history. The tournament has already been a huge success. Forty-one of the 50 anglers brought limit catches to the scales, and the lake now has a new largemouth bass record thanks to VanDam.

Regardless of where any of the anglers finish in the standings, they all earn a check in the Elite 50 events. First place will receive $100,000. From there, the prize money gradually scales back until even the 50th place angler gets $5,000.

The anglers will launch at 10:00 a.m. at Sneaky Pete’s for the three remaining days of the tournament. Weigh-ins will be held at 7:00 p.m. at Lake Lewisville Park.

Part one of the Bassmaster Elite 50 Series event on Lake Lewisville will be telecast on The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2. Part two will air on Saturday June 18 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.

Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite 50 Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).

Local Sponsors include the Lewisville Visitors Bureau.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit