While all eyes were on Kalamazoos Kevin VanDam going into this weeks Bassmaster Classic, it was nephew Jonathon who appears to be the VanDam to watch after Fridays first round.
At least for now.
Jonathon sacked 20 pounds, 11 ounces that included two 2 ½ pounders that he couldnt cull out, good for 10th place. That left him less than 7 pounds behind leader Randall Tharp, a Floridian who once lived in Alabama and has a winning reputation on Lake Guntersville.
JVD could have done better, losing a 5 1/2 pounder at the boat and another 7 pounder later in the day.
I caught two 5s right off the bat and then lost the two big ones near the end of the day, said Jon. Without losing those fish, I could have been right there with the leaders.
Kevin also battled the lost-fish syndrome, losing more than a dozen keepers throughout the day.
Im around them and should be weighing in at least 25 pounds a day, he lamented. The fish were just biting my bait funny today whereas they were choking it during practice. I had several missed opportunities.
A bad storm rolled through Alabama overnight prior to Fridays opening round, flushing muddy water and debris down the Tennessee River and muddying up many of KVDs spots.
That wasnt the only problem that the four-time Classic champ faced. Rumors raced through the Outdoor Expo and were fueled by social media that Kevin had been DQd for having too many fish in the livewell.
I have no idea where that came from, said a surprised VanDam when learning of the rumor after the weigh-in.
If that werent enough, his facebook fan page was hacked this week when some unscrupulous person began posting phony pictures and wordage on his site.
Saturday is cut day in the Classic, meaning only the top 25 will advance into Sundays finals.
Im right on the bubble right now, said Kevin. I just have to keep them on better tomorrow.
Several bass over 6 pounds were weighed in Friday with Fred Roumbanis of Oklahoma taking big bass honors with a 9-3.