2012 schedule offers diverse challenges

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Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

When I scanned the lakes on the 2012 Elite Series schedule announced this week, it didn’t make me go, “wow.”

I was hoping to see places like Amistad and Falcon in Texas, where a lot of giant bass live.

But when I took a closer look at the dates of when we’ll fish these waters, I give the new B.A.S.S. owners credit; the lakes aren’t fabulous but the timing is superb. That’s hard to do when scheduling that many events over a five-month period.

It’s also a diverse schedule that doesn’t favor any one type of angler. That’s good.

We’ll fish rivers, reservoirs, natural lakes, spawning patterns, summer patterns and fall patterns. And as much as I’ll miss the Tennessee River system, I’m thrilled we’re going north for a couple of events.

Here’s how I see those lakes fishing next year:

St. John’s RiverWe’ll be there at time when we normally are, so it should be a good weigh-in with lots of spawning fish caught.

Okeechobee: Big O should be on fire and different from anything we’ve seen in previous years. Fish will be caught a lot of different ways, and the weather should be a lot more stable than in January and February when we’ve fished there before. It might taken 100 pounds plus to win.

Bull Shoals: This is where I learned to fish reservoirs on family vacations and where I fished one of my first B.A.S.S. events before turning pro. Bull Shoals will shock a lot of people, as I expect it to produce the most number of bass caught during the year. They’ve had a lot of good spawns and the lake is full of fish.

Douglas: Again, the perfect time to be there. The fish will be shallow, and while Douglas typically fishes small, it will fish big for this tournament.

Toledo Bend: I’m really excited about this because I don’t remember a major tournament on the Bend that late in the year, so a lot of different patterns will come into play. The entire Elite field may not do as well, but the winning weights will be big because fish will be schooled up in summer patterns.

Mississippi River(La Crosse, Wis.): I’ve never fished there but glad to be coming north when it’s brutally hot in the south where we normally fish that time of year. If we can avoid flood conditions, a lot of fish will be caught.

MysteryLakeIt’s an interesting concept – keeping it a secret until the last minute. Since we’re already in Wisconsin the week before, I suspect the tourney will be nearby where smallmouth may be a factor. There are a lot of quality bass lakes within a short drive of La Crosse, so this could be a blast.

OneidaAlthough we’re going back at a similar time as years’ past, Oneida will fish differently. The vegetation changes annually on natural lakes and so will the bass hot spots. It’s full of fish and good smallmouth, making it a great place to determine Toyota Tundra BassmasterAngler of Year.

The diverse schedule will no doubt be challenging with its wild cards. You’ll have to be consistent to have a shot at winning the Bassmaster Angler of Year title.

And I love challenges.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

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