Good times in Alabama

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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.

Yesterday was a wonderful day for me and the rest of the anglers fishing the postseason. Each of us took a wounded veteran out on Lake Cameron for a fun-filled, bragging rights tournament called the Hope for the Warriors Tournament. It was an experience to say the least.

My warrior was a fellow from California named Jacque Keeslar. He was seriously injured serving our nation in Iraq and has been rehabilitating for some time. It looks to me like his rehab has been pretty successful. It's amazing what can be accomplished when a person has a positive attitude.

He'd never fished for bass, although he did have some general fishing skills as a fly fisherman. Thanks to a great fishery and some good fortune we caught a number of quality bass including one over 6 pounds. He had a good time, and I had a good time helping him have a good time.

Holding fishing tournaments and other recreational activities is the least we can do for the men and women who make our lifestyles possible. I can assure you that every angler down here feels the same way. We all are more than willing to donate our time, effort and expertise for such a worthy cause.

After lunch with the warriors I had a little time so we started filming a commercial for a new sponsor I have — Eastman Kodak. They are coming out with a new camera that's designed especially for sports and recreation. That's just what we anglers need.

It's waterproof, takes both still photos and video, and is only about the size of a cellphone. It's easy to use, too. This thing will help us preserve all sorts of events and memories from our outdoor activities. I intend to use mine on a regular basis. That's for sure.

Jackson and Nicholas were out there with me. They participated in the making of the commercial. It's pretty neat when you can involve your family in what you do for a living. They had a good time, and I got to be the proud father.

And, to make things even better, they both caught a bass around 6 pounds — their biggest ever — as well as several others in the 4- and 5-pound class. They were excited, for sure. I'm proud to be able to be a part of their lives. Those memories will last a lot longer than the ones from my fishing tournaments.

The fun's over, however. Now it's time to go to work. I need to get my tackle ready for Wednesday's practice. The 2010 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race is turning down the homestretch. Two more days of competition and it's all over.

The guys that are here fishing are all good anglers. Someone will catch them; they always do. If possible, I want to make sure that's me.

Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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