2012 Bassmaster Classic Red River - Shreveport-Bossier City, LA, Feb 24 - 26, 2012

The Classic is more than a tournament

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

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

Let the fun begin at another Bassmaster Classic!

You have no idea how excited I am. It’s been a long winter in Michigan and I’m ready to get back on the water.

But before I launch on the Red River for this weekend’s practice, I’m getting a sneak preview of some of the new products to be unveiled at the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods next week.

Although the tournament is the focal point of the Classic, the Outdoors Expo has become America’s premier event to launch new bass tackle. In my mind, this is the best outdoor show in the nation and yet another reason why B.A.S.S. and the Classic are so unique.

Whereas companies used to rely on the ICAST show in July to reveal new products to the trade, many manufacturers now wait until the Classic to display their products to the bass fishing world.

Show attendees are among the first in the public to see these items, and in some cases, buy them from retailers exhibiting at the show.

And believe me, there are some pretty amazing products that will be unveiled this year. I can’t talk about some of them until they’re released to the media Thursday.

I can tell you that Strike King is introducing its KVD Sexy Dawg topwaters there and that Mustad is rolling out the new Denny Brauer Flipping Hook for the first time.

One booth I encourage you to stop by is the TH Marine display and check out their two-way boat alarm system. It was introduced a couple years ago and I added one to my boat last year.

It proved its worthiness late last night when I stopped at an Arkansas motel on my way to Shreveport.

The motel was full so I had to park along a service road about 300 feet from the building. About 1 a.m., I was awakened by the boat alarm remote I had on the nightstand. I jumped out of bed, threw on my clothes and raced out to find my boat and equipment intact – Thank God.

I’d spent several days at home putting together my tackle specifically for the Classic. Had my rods and lures been stolen, it would have been devastating.

Unlike most boat alarms, the TH Marine sounds an alarm in the boat during an intrusion and sends audible signals to a hand-held keyfob for when you’re away.

Theft is something I worry about every time I’m on the road, but this experience gave me peace of mind that the Two-Way alarm System does the job.

There are a number of other fun activities during Classic week, but nothing compares to being in the stands during the final day weigh-in.

Watching the newly crowned champion make that victory lap around the arena is a moment to behold. Should I not make the finals, you can bet I will be among thousands of others in the stands soaking it up.

In my 22 years of attending Bassmaster Classics, it’s that moment that I look forward to seeing most, whether it’s me making the lap or one of my competitors. It’ an electrifying moment that the angler and the crowd shares - and never forgets.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

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