Texas bound and eager

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.

Here we go! I’m off to Texas to kick off the 2013 Elite tournament season.

After fishing the Bassmaster Classic, I’m anxious to get back on the water. I’m really looking forward to these two events.

I’ve been busy since I got home from Tulsa. I’ve done a couple of Bass Pro Shops Spring Classic appearances and have been scrambling around trying to get my tackle together.

My boat and gear needed a major changeover from the Classic since the two tournaments coming up are vastly different. They require different rods, lures and techniques.

The Sabine River is shallow, massive and has a lot of canals and cypress trees. Falcon is wide open for the most part, and the size of fish in both bodies of water is notably different.

I expect the fish to be in all phases of the spawn at both places, and probably shallow. These tournaments could easily be the kind where you have to catch them a variety of ways.

We’ve never been to Sabine which adds to the intrigue. Veteran Elite pros are quite familiar with Falcon and the quality of bass that live there.

So, Sabine practice will be interesting. There’s a lot of water to cover in 2 1/2 days, and we can run wherever we want. That makes for a lot of searching during practice, and then there’s the saltwater influx since it lies close to the ocean.

When hurricanes hit coastal river systems as they have there, they can decimate the bass population, but it sounds like the Sabine is making a comeback.

Goggle Earth will help me choose potential areas. I can get online and look at sections and backwaters, although I won’t be able to tell how deep they are.

From what fellow pros tell me, the Sabine is similar to what we saw in New Orleans, with a lot of canals. One of the problems with canals is some of them are private and we can’t go into them. The only way to find out what’s there is to see it from the water, and that consumes a lot of practice time.

I suspect I’ll still be practicing when the tournament begins. All I can do during the practice is see as much of the river I can, pick the areas that I think hold the largest quantity of fish and commit to them. It won’t be the first time I was still defining the pattern and best techniques when competition began.

Since these tournaments are back to back, the guys who make it into Sunday’s finals will see their practice at Falcon reduced. It’s about an eight-hour drive between Sabine and Falcon, which means the finalists will have to hustle to get there before Monday’s practice. If I’m one of them, I may get up early the next day and drive to the lake.

And that’s a good problem to have!

The first time we were at Falcon we shocked the world with the quality we caught, but it will be tougher this time because it’s gotten a lot of pressure. The lake is also down from the droughts they’ve had, so it will be somewhat different.

But it still has a ton of big fish.

Every cast has the potential to produce a 10-pounder, and catching five of those on as many casts isn’t out of the question.

Bring it on!

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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