2011 Elite Series - Diamond Drive Arkansas River - Little Rock, AR, Jun 9 - 12, 2011

Watch the outside, develop the inside

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 in Michigan right now and just finished filming an episode of "The Bass Pros." You'll know which one I'm talking about when you see it because the wind was really howling, and the microphones pick up some of that noise.

It was blowing about 40 mph when we were out, but the smallmouth were biting, and we had a great day. Even with the wind noise, I think we got a great show.

Tough work, but somebody's got to do it, right?

Before coming home to Michigan, I got to spend a little time in North Carolina, filming some commercials for Bass Pro Shops in Charlotte with some NASCAR drivers. I even had a chance to do a little fishing on Lake Wylie, throwing a crankbait, big swimbait and spinnerbait for some deep water bass.

It was good to get on the water and fun to do something a little different. I don't often throw a big swimbait or work a spinnerbait as deep as I was throwing it on Wylie.

Now, while filming in Michigan, it occurred to me how similar some of these fishing trips really are for me. Whether I'm competing in a tournament on Lake Murray, filming commercials on Lake Wylie or working on an episode of "The Bass Pros" in Michigan, a lot of the demands are the same.

I need to find fish — the bigger, the better — and I need to find them fast, no matter the conditions. There are no excuses.

It really doesn't matter if the wind's blowing, the rain's pouring down, the heat's unbearable or anything else. There's no rescheduling when you're talking about a camera crew or a tournament. You simply make the best of things and adapt.

I understand these circumstances might seem out of the ordinary or even unrelatable to some people, but if you think about it they're exactly what you face if you're a weekend angler, an occasional tournament fisherman or if you plan to do some fishing on your next vacation.

No matter how good your plans, you can't control the weather or a variety of the other variables that will influence your fishing. You're there, and you can't reschedule the weekend, the tournament or the vacation.

I mention all of this because it's something that causes a lot of anglers to struggle. When things get tough or the weather doesn't cooperate, they see a million reasons why the fishing will be tough rather than the key thing or two that will help them make it better.

Unlocking these situations may be easier said than done, but having the right attitude and refusing to give up is the biggest part of that battle. My fishing has taught me that when the going gets tough, way too many anglers give up before they even start.

They see excuses instead of opportunities.

Of course, that doesn't work in the Elite Series — or with television crews. When you're fishing against the best in the world, there's not a lot of quit in the competition. It's critical to keep a positive mental attitude, focus on the situation, adapt it to your style of fishing and make the most of it. If you can't do that, you won't last. The lifestyle is too demanding, and there will always be more excuses than opportunities.

We've got a potential situation like that at the next Elite event on the Arkansas River. I know it's going to be tough. The water's high and muddy, there will be a lot of barge traffic, and the river's going to fish small as most of the field will crowd into a few areas.

The bottom line, though, is that someone's going to figure it out, someone's going to make the most of the opportunity, and someone's going to win $100,000.

I want to be that someone, and I'm looking forward to going to Little Rock and doing all I can to make it happen.

You can do it with your fishing, too.

So, the next time conditions are tough or things just aren't going your way, remember that it's all about the attitude.

advertisement

advertisement