An important sponsor obligation kept Kevin VanDam away from last year’s Toyota Texas Bass Classic. But the 4-time Bassmaster Classic champion is back on Conroe competing this morning.
However, he makes his return with a sore back — thanks to a whitetail deer — strangely, a dead one.
“After an extremely busy mid-September, I had one free day at home before the B.A.S.S. Toyota All-Star tournament last week,” explained VanDam. “I was headed to get my hair cut when my nephew Jonathon called my attention to a dead whitetail buck near my house that had been hit by a vehicle. When I reached down to grab its antlers and pull its head off the ground to have a better look at it, I totally wrenched my back.”
Knowing he needed to leave for tournament practice in Muskegon the next day, he quickly added a visit to chiropractor Tim Karmon’s clinic to his schedule. Dr. Karmon graciously treated the 7-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, and realizing the seriousness of the injury, quickly booked a second therapeutic visit before KVD left town.
“Dr. Karmon definitely helped me get in shape to practice and compete, but the boat wakes were still pretty tough on my back during the All-Star tournament,” said VanDam. He felt well enough to finish second last week, but then faced a 20-hour drive to Conroe.
“That 1,200-mile commute made it hurt all over again, but it’s better than it was last week” said VanDam at a reception Thursday night, as he smiled and socialized through the nagging discomfort and talked of fishing to help ease the pain.
“It’s fishing like Conroe typically does this time of year,” said the career long Quantum pro. “It’s a bite here, then a bite there, but when you bump into a school of ‘em you better hammer down, because that school will likely be gone and impossible to catch the next day.
“I had a handful of bites in practice, but only a few quality ones,” he winked.
Even with an aching back, anybody that knows a flipping stick from a trolling motor wouldn’t dare bet against him. And besides, deer season opened Tuesday in Michigan. That’s got VanDam motivated too.