Off to a good start

Seigo Saito
2011 Bassmaster Classic champ Kevin VanDam

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.

The past two weeks were good for me. I left Florida with two top 12 finishes, only a few points behind in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of Year race and jacked up for the rest of the season.

Although I finished lower at the St. Johns River (11th) than I did on the Harris Chain (fourth), I'm pretty proud of what I did.

I generally don't do well in sight fishing tournaments, but I held my own in this one. You had to do it — the moon was full and bass were bedding everywhere. You could catch them doing a few other things, but you couldn't win doing them.

And I'm all about trying to win.

Sight fishing gets even trickier when the whole field is doing it. I've always been one to go against the grain of what the prevailing pattern is during the spring, but on the St. Johns, there were too many big fish on beds to ignore it.

I probably would have finished higher, but the wind kicked up the last day and muddied my area, so I had to go fish elsewhere and had too much ground to make up.

One thing I found out for sure — Power-Poles are must-have equipment on a bass boat. I've run only one in the past, but adding a second one definitely worked to my advantage because I could hold still in the wind while working a bedding fish. With only one Pole, the nose of the boat will sway; with two, you're locked into place.

The Citrus Slam was fun for another reason. Davy Hite, Scott Rook and I stayed at Terry Scroggins' house during the tournament. He lives near the St. Johns and was an incredible host. Each night, his family graciously cooked great meals for us and other pros that stopped by.

While I was there, Terry showed me this cool boat alarm on his boat, so I got one. It's a T-H Marine Two-Way Alarm that works better than any boat alarm I've ever seen.

It is easy to wire and works off a shock system. When the alarm is triggered, it sets off a siren at the boat and transmits a warning to a remote fob.

On my trip home from Florida, I stopped at a motel. I was too tired to cover the boat, so I set the alarm and went to bed.

At about 12:30 a.m., the fob siren went off in my room, and I looked outside. A woman who had parked next to my boat sat a coffee cup on the deck while she gathered up her things. That was all it took to set off the alarm! Had it been an intruder trying to break into my compartments, I would have known it.

I'm so impressed with it I'm going to get one to install on my truck topper. They sell for around $200 and are worth the investment.

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