Building momentum

Seigo Saito
2011 Bassmaster Classic champ Kevin VanDam

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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.

PALATKA, Fla. -- I'm thrilled with my fourth-place finish at the Harris Chain and would love a similar result this week at the St. Johns River for the Power-Pole Citrus Slam.

My success in Florida has been spotty throughout my career, although I did win at Toho a few years ago. So, to kick the season off with a Top 10 was critical for me.

I was happy with how I fished last week. A lot of guys were sight fishing, but I found an area where the post- and prespawners were setting up. It was a Kissimmee grassline where the fish would stop on their way in and out of a spawning area.

The first day I caught them on spinnerbaits and a Strike King Pure Poison, which is a bladed swim jig. The KVD 1.5 square bill was my money bait, though, as it produced most of my fish the last three days. It was the same lure (chartreuse/black back) that I used to win the Classic last month.

I had a feeling during practice that the crankbait would catch them because I caught a couple of big ones on it.

This week's event will be different. This will be a full-blown sight fishing affair, and I expect it to be tough. The water is low and the fish are very shallow. I know I'm going to have to sight fish because the weather is going to be stable and the moon is right.

I'm not known for sight fishing, but I can do it. I grew up sight fishing in Michigan, but it's a lot different there because the water is clearer and the fish tend to spawn a little deeper.

Everyone will be sight fishing, and we'll all be sharing similar areas. Because the fish are so shallow, they'll be skittish. The water isn't real clear in a lot of areas, so they'll be difficult to see.

 But I'm up to the task.

I had my boat rigged this week with a second Power-Pole so I can position it better around bedding fish. Two will make it easier to hold in one spot if the wind is blowing. The Power-Pole crew was kind enough to make a special bracket for me so that I can still use my boarding ladder. It comes in handy for my kids when they swim around my boat on my home lakes.

As for lures, I'll be throwing a lot of plastics. Each fish is different and reacts to a different type of bait. One might want the action-filled Rage Craw while another may prefer a more subtle finesse worm.

You have to read the mood of each fish and forget what it took to make the last one bite. I'll have at least 10 rods on my deck, each rigged with something different to show them.

I suspect it's going to be a tough week, but that's the way I like it.

Like I say, it's all about the attitude.

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