It’s hard to believe the most decorated angler in our sport’s history hasn’t laid his hands on a trophy since the 2011 Bassmaster Classic trophy. Sure, he’s been close a few times, with three runner-up finishes the last few years, but the former No. 1-ranked angler nearly fell out of the top 100 after his finish two weeks ago at Wheeler (he was 98th).
As they say, though, winning cures all, and this one certainly did that for VanDam. By dominating wire-to-wire on Toledo Bend, VanDam won his record 21st BASS event and showed he’s still a force when the fish head out deep. The win also gave VanDam a significant boost in the rankings. After flirting with triple digits, VanDam bounced up to 85th, and that will only get higher when the 2014 Dardanelle tournament drops off later this week.
Meanwhile, the Toledo Bend event caused plenty of shake up at the top of our ranking. Keith Combs did what he does in Texas, which is beat nearly everyone. His fourth-place finish jumped him back in the top 10 (now ninth), with Dave Lefebre doing the same (now eighth). Edwin Evers was already in the top 10, but he also did some climbing, to seventh.
Chris Lane’s runner-up bumped him nine spots to 37th, with Ish Monroe also enjoying being back in the top 50 (now 49th) after his third-place finish.
Of course, for all that shuffling at the top, someone had to drop. That someone was Adrian Avena. The Jersey Boy’s 88th at Toledo Bend dropped him from seventh to 15th. Luke Clausen also went from nearly in the top 10 to nearly out of the top 20. He currently sits in 20th.