Kalamazoo on my mind

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.

I'm sitting here at Toledo Bend working on tackle as I dictate this, but I can't get my mind off being home.

This is the second week of back-to-back events and I'm missing my wife, kids and everything else back there in Kalamazoo.

My twin boys had their first track meet today and I wasn't there. They're seventh graders and growing up fast. Sherry does a great job juggling the homework, school activities and running our business when I'm gone, but it's very tough on her, too.

My parents are back in Kalamazoo from their winter home in Florida, and I miss seeing them. The last time I saw them was briefly in Florida, but there wasn't much time to visit.

When you're gone as much as I am, you miss important stuff that most people take for granted. I feel guilty about it, but this is my job — and a great one — but there are times I envy the guy who works 9-5 and sleeps in his own bed every night.

It's been a whirlwind season since I won the Classic. There have been show appearances, media events and tournaments. I've been home only six days and I'm starting to get homesick.

I call the family every morning before I launch the boat and again in the evening, and I can tell by the sound of their voices it's hard on them, too. The boys reminded me turkey season opens Monday, and they are chomping at the bit.

This is the hardest time I've had with being gone in my career. I'm trying to focus on the task at hand, which is finding quality schools of Toledo Bend bass, but I can't keep my home life off my mind when I hear about all that I'm missing back there. It was easier when I was in my 20s, but my priorities are different now.

My practice wasn't all that great here. The water is low, and the fish are in a bit of a postspawn funk. I'm catching a lot of bass, but not the big ones I need to win. I've got some good areas, and if I can hit a few quality fish, I like my chances.

The good news is I'm off to a good season with high finishes in the Florida tournaments and a so-so finish at Pickwick. Heading into Toledo Bend, I'm third in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of Year race, which is much better than where I was at this juncture last year.

Another Angler of Year win would be awesome, but let me tell you it won't be easy for whoever wins. It's super competitive out here now. The competition keeps getting better, and the man who does win the title will earn it.

I can promise you I'm going to give it my all here in Texas, but I sure look forward to getting home and enjoying a nice break for a couple of weeks.

Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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