It's time to get back to work. The busy, pre-tournament season is on me and I'm ready to hit the road again.
My busy schedule begins now and will take me right into February's Bassmaster Classic. I try to do as many sport shows as I can now since they're difficult to schedule once the regular season begins in early March.
For example, this Saturday I will work a sport show in Novi, Mich., then fly to Cincinnati for another show on Sunday. I go home for a few days then head to the SHOT Show in Las Vegas to work for one of my sponsors, Irish Setter footwear.
The SHOT Show is where all the new hunting and shooting products are revealed. And while I will be busy working for Irish Setter, I'm hoping to find time to walk around and look at all the new gear.
I also have some appointments to meet with other companies to discuss new sponsorships. Like most Elite pros, I'm an all-round outdoorsman and believe there are opportunities that help bridge fishing and hunting, whether it's promoting equipment or getting more people to enjoy all outdoors activities.
I'm also updating my new tournament jersey with current sponsorships, such as Kodak's Play Sport waterproof video camera. I will use it throughout the season to provide on-the-water videos from the tournament trail and post them on my website, www.kevinvandam.com.
I've also redesigned my boat wrap. It will still be decked in my traditional red, black and yellow Nitro colors, but I'm tweaking it to add some new elements.
My new boat is being rigged and will be wrapped soon. I'm excited about a few new things added to the boat, and I'll share that new set-up in a future column.
While I wait for the boat, I've been going through all of my tackle, carefully stocking new Plano 3700s with the baits I think I will need for the Classic and our first few events.
Stocking my utility boxes with lures takes a lot of thought since we fish a lot of diverse waters this year. For example, I know I won't need my deep running Strike King crankbaits in New Orleans since there's no deep water to fish. We go from there to Florida, so I'll need to stock heavily with soft plastics. When you get on a good bite, it's nothing to go through 50 craws or lizards in one day!
That's what is great about Plano's 3700s. I can add and replace specific boxes of lures as I need them. I'll have dozens of boxes carefully packed with lake- and technique-specific baits that I'll carry in my truck and only put those in the boat that I feel I might need.
It may be cold and snowy here in Michigan, but I feel that sense of urgency to get ready for spring — the fishing season will be here before we know it!
Remember: It's all about the attitude!