2013 Elite Series Ramada Quest Bull Shoals Lake - Bull Shoals, AR, Apr 19 - 22, 2013

Prepping for Bull Shoals

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.

After a relaxing family vacation in Florida, I’m back on the road and preparing for Bull Shoals while working with a couple of my sponsors.

I rolled into Table Rock Lake, Mo., Wednesday night for the second annual Table Rock Media Outing with Toyota, Quantum and Carhartt.

As luck would have it, the event was scheduled a week before the Bull Shoals Elite Tournament which is on the same river system and not far from Table Rock.

While the chore at hand is to work with some of the top media people in the country, it enables me to get a feel for what the bass are doing on these highland reservoir systems.

Other Elite pros attending are Terry “Big Show” Scroggins, Casey Ashley, Gerald Swindle and Gary Klein.

Media folks include Bassmaster photographer Seigo Saito and senior writer Louie Stout; North American Fisherman Managing Editor Thomas Allen; and freelance writers Mark Hicks and Dan O’Sullivan.

We’ll spend two solid days developing stories, shooting photos, and conducting videos for the various publications and internet sites they represent.

Of course, we’re doing a little fishing, too. Media people love to fish, and we always manage to have some fun catching bass while still getting a lot of work done.

This is beneficial to those of us competing at Bull Shoals because it enables us to get a feel for the seasonal pattern on these kinds of lakes.

Like most of the country, we were hit with some drastic fronts the plunged air temperature from the 70s into the 30s, and we’ve even seen a few snowflakes.

The temperatures are supposed to get back into the 70s during next week’s tournament so I know to factor in the extreme weather change.

I’m simply looking at lake conditions, such as water clarity and temperature, comparing the main lake with the backs of creeks while getting a feel for what the fish are doing.

The weather has been the x-factor this spring. Normally, the Ozark lake fish are spawning by now but the super cold spring has pushed it back. So I will be trying to determine what phase of the spawn the fish are in with hopes of using that knowledge at Bull Shoals.

The thing I have to guard against is getting too focused on a pattern or technique and expecting to duplicate it at Bull Shoals. I’ve learned the hard way to not let too much get into my head and allow it to keep me from having an open mind when I get to Bull Shoals.

On the other hand, the experience of fishing on the same river system and type of lake will give me the insight I need next week when practice begins.

While we’re here, Quantum, Toyota and Carhartt use the opportunity to demonstrate their products while at the same time testing new products that the public will see later.

For example, I’m getting the chance to try out prototypes of some new Quantum KVD Tour rods and reels that will be introduced later this summer.

I’m really excited about some new spinning reels we’ll be introducing along with some improvements and actions in the KVD Tour Rods. Quantum has engineered some of the latest technology into the KVD lineup while keeping them at affordable prices.

I’ve always insisted that before any product bears my name that I have the opportunity to put them through the paces to make sure they are exactly like I want them.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

Kevin VanDam's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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