A guest post by Field & Stream Editor Anthony Licata
The Bassmaster Classic on the Louisiana Delta is over, and there were two big winners.
The first was Kevin VanDam, who extended his dominance on the sport by winning his second consecutive Classic, his fourth overall, and shattering the tournament record for a 3-day, 5-fish bag that totaled 69 pounds, 11 ounces.
Vandam’s closest competition, Aaron Martens, finished 10 pounds behind him, ending up in the second slot for the fourth time in a Classic. On any other day Martens’ tournament bag probably would have been enough; at 59 pounds even it also surpassed the old record of 56-2 set by Luke Clausen at Florida’s Lake Toho during 2006 Championship.
Which brings us to the other big winner this past weekend: the Louisiana Delta. Despite fog delays on all three days of the competition, anglers were able to rack up big these big numbers. Fishermen either ran down the delta to fish in the Venice area or stayed close to New Orleans and fished Lake Cataouatche. The ones making the long run to Venice were left with little fishing time after the fog delays. Meanwhile the anglers who fished Cataouatche–including VanDam, Martens, and most of the other top finishers–produced huge totals.
Martens said it best during the weigh-in. “I’ve fished a lot of world-class fisheries,” he said “and this place is something special. Take care of it.”
It’s a good message for a region that is still recovering from last year’s oil spill. The fact that the best bass anglers in the world were positively gushing over the fishery helps make a point that guides and captains in the area desperately want the public to know: despite hurricanes and an oil spill, the fishing here is terrific.
It certainly was for Vandam.