2010 Elite Series - Alabama Charge Pickwick Lake - Florence, AL, Apr 29 - May 2, 2010

In the hunt

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 Pickwick event is only a few days away. It'll be an interesting tournament, that's for sure. With the wacky spring we've had and the tough weather the last few days — heavy rains and violent storms — I suspect the fish will be in various stages around the lake. This might be a deal where you can catch them any number of ways.

I haven't been on Pickwick in years, so I really don't know what to expect. Practice will be very important for me this week. I need to find my fish, my way, so that I can catch them my way. With the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race shaping up the way it is, I need to have a strong finish come next Sunday.

As many of you know I currently have 605 points. Mike McClelland and I are tied for 30th place. I'm 280 points out of first place, but I'm only 56 points away from the magic number 12. That's what it takes to compete in the postseason events.

Even more important, I'm only 88 points away from the eighth slot. As a practical matter, that's where I think you need to be to have a realistic shot at the title in July when the postseason starts.

Don't kid yourself about any of this. The postseason has changed the AOY race in a fundamental way. It isn't about jumping out front and holding on in a points race anymore. Now it's about qualifying — putting yourself in a position to make a hard run at it — and then performing in the postseason tournaments against 11 other guys.

Obviously this is not where I want to be. It's better to have the other guys chasing you than it is to be chasing them. There's no sense trying to kid anyone about that.

At the same time, however, my situation's not nearly as bad as a few in the media have said. If you believe some of what's been written, the race is over. There's no hope. You may as well order flowers for my visitation.

Well, not so fast. Don't order them just yet. We still have a lot of fishing left in this season — there are five more tournaments as of today. If I can fall behind in three of them, why can't I catch up in five? The answer to that question is that I can. If I don't, I assure you it won't be for a lack of effort.

Being realistic, I know this is not the time to fumble. A bad event here will really hurt. On the other hand, this is not the time to panic, either. I have no intention of getting stupid, of mindlessly swinging for the fences. This is not my first rodeo. I know how to put my head down and fish.

Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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