Here we go – my 23rd Bassmaster Classic – and what a special one it’s going to be.
As I said here last week, my twin sons Jackson and Nicholas turn 16 today, my nephew Jonathon is fishing his first Classic, and we will have a ton of family here.
Also, Tulsa is the home of Zebco/Quantum, a longtime sponsor of mine, and Dynamic Sponsorships that oversees the Toyota team and Carhartt, a major B.A.S.S. sponsor.
And let’s not forget that this is the home of Bob Cobb, the father of Bassmaster Magazine and The Bassmasters TV Show; Don Butler, the first B.A.S.S. member and the second Bassmaster Classic winner; and the legendary Tulsa Bass Club.
Also, we are launching a social media campaign with Nitro Boats this week called “Ride with a Pro.” You can find details on it at my website (kevinvandam.com), my Facebook page and Nitro’s Facebook page.
Basically, my boat wrap is covered with face pictures submitted by fans and one of them at the end of the year will win a fully-rigged Nitro with all the gear I use. We will rewrap the boat a couple of times this season to include more fans as thousands will be pictured on my boat and “ride” with me throughout the Elite Series season.
We will conduct monthly contests for those who submit photos and anyone attending the Classic can get their photograph taken right at the Nitro Booth at the Outdoor Expo Show. Check my website and Facebook Page for details.
Of course, the serious part – the competition – all starts today.
We launched in Michigan-like winter temperatures this morning and it’s going to be a little rough out there. We practiced Wednesday in a snowstorm and who knows what all the snow and rain we’ve had the past couple of days will do to Grand Lake during the tournament.
All I can say is I’m ready and I feel good about my practice. I know the weather is the wild card right now, but I’ve tried to prepare for it accordingly.
I would have preferred it been cold earlier then go to a warming trend, but that’s not what we got. On the other hand, I feel really good about not practicing here last December, because I may not have discovered what I learned this week.
I figured out a couple of unique patterns, and while I’m not saying I will win with them, I feel very good about how they play into my style of fishing and the conditions we will be fishing.
If I would have practiced here last December, I may not have had such an open mind this week and might have missed the subtleties I uncovered.
However, those “unique” patterns aren’t producing the size of fish I think I will need, but that could change. I have confidence in my game plan and style of fishing that gives me the best chance to be in contention on the final day.
Today will tell me a lot. Every competition day in the Classic is critical; you can’t have a bad one on such a good lake like Grand.
This lake will produce. As tough as the weather has been, this is the first Classic I’ve ever attended that I haven’t heard contenders complaining about the quality of fishing.
If you’re within driving distance, you need to get here. This is going to be a good one!
Remember, it’s all about the attitude!