Kevin Van Dam is a legend in the sport of bass fishing. He qualified for his first Bassmaster Classic in 1991 and after that his career went into high gear and never backed off.
Vandam is known in the industry for his marketing expertise, professionalism, and affable personality making him an extremely effective marketing partner for brands. His ability to connect with consumers in a way that made them feel like they weren’t being “sold” on something helped quite a few companies build their business.
I’ve always told people – Kevin’s the complete package. He can back up his endorsement of a product by his stellar performance on the water. He’s always thorough with his engagement. He answers his messages, he follows up, he does what he says he will do. Other anglers can learn a lot about sponsor relationships simply by watching how he handles his. And he does it all with a smile and a wink. He’s a straight shooter too.
We know you’re busy and you probably don’t have time to pay much attention to social media, so wanted to round up some of the tributes to KVD that we saw last week that we really enjoyed reading.
Rick Clunn might be the only pro angler to equal KVD in status, accolades and fans. He penned a touching letter to his longtime friend and competitor that began, “Was I surprised by your announcement early this year that you were retiring? YES, only because you are still fishing at a very high level. NO, because I know firsthand the mental and physical wear this sport can put on you.”
Outdoor Creator Jake Latendresse is a shooter for B.A.S.S. and has been in the boat with KVD many times. He thanked Kevin for his career but also included Sherry and their sons.
Outdoor writer Lynn Burkhead called KVD “ the consummate champion, the unquestioned GOAT of modern day bass fishing and he will be greatly missed as he transitions into a career role away from tournament competition.
Fishing industry veteran and owner of the Big Bass Tour, Mark Jones, talked about his impact on the sport but also his impact of so many friends in the industry. Everyone who knows Kevin feels like they are a close friend. He’s just good like that.
One of VanDam’s oldest sponsors is Humminbird. They shared a moment with Kevin from the stage.