Christmas comes early

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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.

If I weren’t excited enough about the Christmas holiday, a couple of awesome Christmas presents came early.

A new truck and boat.

I picked up the truck (Toyota Tundra) Thursday and my boat (Nitro Z9) arrived at D&R Sports Center for rigging earlier this week.

There’s nothing cooler than the smell of a new truck, ‘cept maybe the smell and feel of a new bass boat.

The truck is identical to the one I had last year, complete with a built-in navigation system and back up camera.

If you’ve never had a back-up camera, you should consider one on your next vehicle.

I remember those rainy days when I’d get soaked from jumping in and out of the vehicle four or five times trying to make sure everything was lined up while hooking up the boat. With the back-up camera, you’ll put the ball under the trailer coupler the first time.

This year’s boat colors are dark charcoal and red with silver accents. You probably won’t notice it much because my wrap will be about the same, but it will be noticeably different than last year’s boat once the wrap comes off at the end of the season.

The boat will be rigged with the same accessories as last year – two Power Poles, a TH Marine Atlas Hydraulic Jack Plate, Stealth Charging System, four 31 series AGM batteries and a 36-volt MotorGuide trolling motor.

I’ll trick it out with a Humminbird 1198 and 998 at the console and another 998 and a HydroWave at the bow. It also will be rigged with a TH Marine Alarm System and Sarasota Key Captain that allows me to lock my storage compartments instantly with a key fob, the same way you lock a vehicle. It’s a great feature to have when you stop for gas or go into a restaurant. It alleviates the need to cover the boat.

In fact, I put a TH Marine Alarm on the Leer Cap I have on my truck bed. When you travel as much as I do, you have to take every precaution available.

I’ll start loading my tackle into the boat after New Year’s. That’s always an exciting time and something I take very seriously and do meticulously.

I put my gear in specific places that will maximize my efficiency on the water. I don’t leave anything to chance, packing tools, spare parts and props to do quick fixes in an emergency.

I’ll be packing the boat specifically for the Classic, including those lures and tackle I think I’ll need. The boat-loading process helps put me in the Classic mind-set and gets me fired up about what I need to do to win.

Until then, it’s all about Christmas and I wish everyone reading this a happy and safe holiday. This is a special time for me since I have no work obligations and can immerse myself in the family.

It’s even more important this year, as we’ve been hit by some tragedies that have occurred with family members and dear friends. That drives the point home even more of just how important quality family time can be.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude.

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