2011 Bassmaster Classic Louisiana Delta - New Orleans, LA, Feb 18 - 20, 2011

Time to roll the dice

Seigo Saito
2011 Bassmaster Classic champ 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.

It's the first day of the Bassmaster Classic, and I hope I'm putting 5-pounders in my livewell as you read this.

It's possible.

Our three-day practice that ended last weekend was not very productive when it comes to actually catching fish, but I'm not discouraged. I did a lot of running and looking, but the water was so cold from the bad weather that the fish weren't active.

That changed this week as the air has warmed into the 70s, we're in a full moon and the water temps have climbed as well.

That means conditions are drastically different and could turn this into a slugfest. The bad weather during the three-day practice was an equalizer, as anyone who thought they found something then may find it's all changed quite a bit by today.

I know a lot of guys are making the two-hour run to Venice, which has a big fish reputation, but I won't be one of them.

The Classic could easily be won down there, but too many things can go wrong on a long run like that.

First, the water in the Mississippi River is cold and dirty. With air temperatures rising, that will likely bring a lot of fog and hamper navigation. There also is the chance that we get a fog delay at take-off and that would cut into the amount of fishing time we'll get.

Frankly, I don't think we can fish three days without a fog delay, so I'd rather maximize my time fishing than making a long run.

Fishing pressure is another consideration. As big as this water is, you're going to see a lot of guys bunched up on the same stuff.

Local pressure will be another factor. It's been cold down in Louisiana, so the warmer weather this weekend will bring out a lot of local anglers. I just hope they let us borrow their water for the next three days and give us the room we need to do our jobs.

We had another day of practice Wednesday, and I found some things I liked. I didn't catch many fish, but the areas I found had a lot of important ingredients that I'm looking for and I'm hoping they'll get better as the tournament progresses.

This tournament will be about gambles. An angler has to pick an area and commit to it, as time won't allow for a lot running to different areas or trying new things.

My Wednesday practice was hampered when I was stricken with some kind of flu bug and had to lie on my boat deck for two hours. It was not a pleasant day to be on the water.

The flu bug has hit a lot of other contenders, too. If I was going to be one of them, I'm glad to get it out of the way before the event begins and not after it starts.

I felt better Thursday and am ready to go get 'em. It's going to be a fun event.

Remember: It's all about the attitude.

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