VanDam calls time on ‘unmatched’ professional bass fishing career
Kevin VanDam, widely acknowledges as the best bass fisherman of all time, is to stop competing at the end of this year’s Bass Pro Tour.
The four-time Bassmaster Classic Champion announced yesterday that 2023 will be his last as a full-time touring pro.
“I’m just about to start my 33rd season as a tour professional and man, what a ride it’s been,” said VanDam in a video on his personal social media (right of picture) “Being on tour is tough. Spending so much time on the road is hard on your family.
“But I have so many great memories. I’m very proud of the long-term friendships, relationships and partnerships I have made over the years – and that is something that I really look forward to continuing in the future.
“I’ve tried to be a great ambassador to grow the sport and pave the way for the next generation. I’ve been fortunate to be able to compete at the top level and I couldn’t have done that without great support from my sponsors.
“Another big part of the success of my career has been all the support I have had from fans and I can’t overstate what that means to me. Without the fans we have no sport.”
VanDam went on to stress that while he is stepping back from the pro tour, he will not be disappearing from fishing.
“I am not retiring,” he added. “I still have as much drive and passion for this sport as I’ve ever had. I look forward to being a great voice for fishing, the outdoors and conservation long into the future and to what the next chapter of my career is going to be.”
VanDam’s record is unmatched in the history of the sport. He has been Angler of the Year eight times, with 26 tour-level wins and tournament earnings of more than $7m – all of them records.
His first tour win was in 1991 when he was 23 and his latest just four months short of his 54th birthday.