KVD: New look, same attitude

I know I’ve said it before, but the “off-season” for Bassmaster Elite Series anglers is a lot more “on” than “off.” It’s not a complaint, though — just an observation. I love the off-the-water aspects of the sportfishing industry almost as much as I love catching fish.

Since the Elite season ended, I’ve stayed busy working with sponsors to get things lined up for 2018. There have been contracts to negotiate, appearances to make, events to attend, commercials and videos to shoot, products to design and refine, jerseys and wraps to create, friends and family to see and lots more things that I can’t even recall right now. It’s been hectic, but in the last couple of weeks I’ve been able to fit in a little deer hunting, and that’s always an off-season highlight for me and my two boys.

Usually, when a bass pro goes from one season to the next, the changes that the fans see are subtle. There’s a new sponsor here or there on the jersey or wrap, but mostly things stay pretty much the same. This time, however, you’re going to see one of my biggest changes every time you see my jersey, my boat or my new 2018 Toyota Tundra.

My jersey and wraps will be quite a bit different next year thanks to one of my sponsors, Mossy Oak. They have a new camouflage pattern you probably heard about or saw from ICAST this summer. It’s called “Elements” and it features designs from the four classical elements that ancient philosophers came up with thousands of years ago.

In particular, the new Elements patterns are based on Earth, Water and Wind (the other was Fire), and you probably don’t have to guess which one is just perfect for my jersey and wraps. But rather than call it “Water,” Mossy Oak uses the Spanish word “Agua,” and it comes in four colors: Blacktip (a dark black-and-white pattern), Manta (light black-and-white), Seawater (blue) and Crimson (red).

They all look really cool.

And Mossy Oak Elements Agua is going be a big part of my new look for 2018. I’ll keep my basic color pattern, but the design will represent a pretty significant change. I’m looking forward to it!

Fishing camouflage has been around in one form or another for a long while, but it’s never really taken off in the bass market. Generally, you don’t need to hide from fish like you do from deer or turkeys when hunting.

Some bass anglers use camo when fishing super-clear water or sight-fishing, and it’s common with a lot of trout fishermen who fly-fish on small streams.

I think the Elements Agua series is going to be a big breakthrough for Mossy Oak. Not only are the patterns great for breaking up your outline when fishing where the bass might see you, but it comes in the kinds of colors that allow you to show some personality. I think it’s going to help me take stealth to the next level while still supporting my sponsors in style.

Helping me put the new look together are my wife, Sherry, and the folks at Wrap This, Inc., in Florida. Wrap This is the best in the business at designing and wrapping boats and vehicles. They do the work you see on the rigs from B.A.S.S., Toyota, Nitro and lots of other industry leaders. Sherry will coordinate with the wraps and oversee my jersey design. She has a real gift for creating a clean, professional look that my sponsors and I love.

While all of that is going on, I also need to get my tackle ready for the upcoming Elite season and the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic. It’s all still a couple of months away, but it will be here before we realize it. I’ll start getting a handle on my baits and the rest of my tackle around Christmas.

More on that later.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude … but the look helps, too.

Kevin VanDam's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.