Judging by the number of emails, comments and calls we have received since we launched, there seems to be a segment of the fishing population that isn’t convinced about our rankings … actually, make that one aspect of our rankings.
Like we said from the start, we weren’t looking to defy conventional wisdom or stir up a crazy debate. We simply wanted to create a fair and accurate ranking system, and that system ranked VanDam No. 3.
Baffling, surprising, crazy, downright idiotic – yeah, we have heard all these things from fans in regards to VanDam not being the top angler. But trust us, the numbers don’t lie. In fact, we’ll prove it.
First, let’s think back to February of 2010. VanDam had just won yet another Bassmaster Classic, his third at the time, and was coming off his second straight Angler of the Year title. In other words, he was exactly who we thought he was – the best.
Fast forward to May 5, 2010. Remember what was going on then? It was the day before the BASS Elite Series event at Guntersville, and everyone was talking about VanDam and the Classic … and how he was in jeopardy of missing it. On that date, VanDam sat in 46th place in the point standings, outside the cut for the Classic.
That wasn’t the only talk. Skeet Reese was in the midst of one of the best hot streaks the sport has ever seen. In four events he’d finished 2nd, 5th, 1st and 5th, and he would go on to win the Guntersville event. Suddenly, the sport had a challenger to the throne of who was the best. In three short months, VanDam had gone from The Great KVD to a slumping great, while Reese had taken over as the best in the sport. Don’t believe us, look up past articles proclaiming as much.
Of course, nearly two years later, many have forgotten about this moment in the sport’s history. After all, things have seemingly returned to normal. Reese had a lackluster 2011 season, effectively killing any talk of him being the best, while VanDam won another Classic and two more Angler of the Year titles.
Yet, that awful start to the 2010 season, while forgotten by most, is still included in VanDam’s current ranking. Hence why has slipped to No. 3.
However, we have recently updated our site to include a one-year criteria for our rankings. And guess who is No. 1? Yep, VanDam. Why? For exactly the reason everyone thinks: he has been the hottest angler over the last year.
So what does this all mean? Well, it means everyone who said VanDam is the best angler is right. Over the course of his career and in the last year, no one has been better. However, when you look back over a full two years, which are the parameters for our ranking, then he has unquestionably been the third best angler.
Now, if VanDam continues what he has been doing since his 2010 slump, watch for him to take over the top slot in early 2011.