Sharing knowledge

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.

This long break between tournaments gives Elite pros a chance to spend quality time with families and work with the public.

Promotional work is a huge part of any pro angler’s career. Those appearances, whether we’re at large retailers, boat dealers or small tackle shops, afford us the opportunity to go face-to-face with fishing fans and share our knowledge.

To say we have a major impact on the public would be an understatement. We’re not only at these events to represent our sponsors and discuss product applications, but also to educate people on the best ways to catch fish. The fishing public’s thirst for new product knowledge is huge every year and pro anglers are an excellent conduit to provide information about how products work and the best ways to use them.

The seminar season began in early January but really hits its peak the week after the Bassmaster Classic. That’s when Bass Pro Shops holds its Spring Fishing Classic at various locations around the country.

Several of the top Elite pros visit Spring Classics that weekend to work hand-in-hand with the public. These appearances are especially beneficial to weekend anglers and casual bass fishing fans that may not be aware of the hot new products and techniques.

The avid public has heard about some of the hot new lures and techniques that have been dominating tournament wins and are eager to learn the little tips and tricks on how to make those lures and techniques more effective.

This season, the bladed swim has everyone in a buzz. Anglers have heard how successful those baits were during early season tournaments and want to know more about how to fish them on their local waters.

I’ve done about 10 of these promotions this spring, and while they take me away from my home and family, I truly enjoy sharing information with the public and helping people catch fish. There is nothing more rewarding than having an angler tell me that he caught the biggest fish of his life using a lure or technique I had shared in a story, video, seminar or television show. Everyone wins – the manufacturer, the retailer and more importantly, the fishing fan.

I’ll get another opportunity to do that again this weekend. As you read this on Friday, I will be at my brother’s store, D&R Sports Center in Kalamazoo, for his 26th annual Spring Fishing and Boat Show.

Other Elite pros appearing include my nephew Jonathon, Gerald Swindle, Ish Monroe, and Brandon Palaniuk as well as Bassmasters TV co-host Mark Zona and several top regional pros.

It’s always a good time for everyone and we all get a chance to hang out together when we’re not working.

In addition to the pros, several manufacturers participate and demonstrate their new products. The public gets to touch and see the products they’ve heard about and often turn to the pros for additional information.

While the fishing seasons in southern states’ are well underway, ours is just beginning. The ice just left our lakes – later than normal – so our anglers are champing at the bit. In fact, lakes in northern Michigan are still frozen!

But that doesn’t hamper Michigan anglers’ enthusiasm for the sport. This is a growing hot bed for bass fishermen who are just as rabid as southern anglers.

Like me, they know 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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