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Tough conditions? Deal with it

I have to admit I have the jitters as I compile this blog prior to the start of the Bassmaster Elite on Cherokee Lake. Although this is the start of my 27th season, the pre-tournament jitters are always the same. Especially now. We can usually get those jitters out of the way at the Bassmaster Classic, but this year we’re kicking off the season before the Classic. Every man in this field knows the importance of a good start to the season, and the tournament here on Cherokee is really going to make us step it up a notch. That’s because …

VanDam calls Cherokee Lake a ‘stress sandwich’

A cold 50-degree drizzle couldn’t chill Kevin VanDam’s attitude as he launched for the final day of practice at the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament at Cherokee Lake in East Tennessee, but stress levels are heating up like a bowl of white sausage gravy in the foggy East Tennessee air. For starters, this is the first Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2017 season. Naturally, nobody wants to dig himself a hole capable of burying the season’s goodness right out of the gates. Secondly, the weather here has been like a roller coaster ride you might find 30 minutes from the boat …

Mental toughness separates winners and losers

We have an epic Super Bowl coming this weekend that pits two great teams – the best offense against the best defense in the NFL. I really expect a great game, but as always, one team will persevere, and it will be the one that wins the mental battle. I point this out because the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series kicks off next week on Cherokee Lake in Tennessee pitting dozens of great fishermen against each other. At stake in the season-long battle are the coveted Toyota Bassmaster Angler of Year title and a 2018 Bassmaster Classic invitation. And like the Super …

T-H Marine Partners with Kevin VanDam

Huntsville, AL – January 25, 2017 --  T-H Marine Supplies, Inc., of Huntsville, Alabama, announces that it will be a partnering with legendary Bassmaster Elite Series and Major League Fishing angler Kevin Van Dam for 2017.   T-H Marine CEO Jeff Huntley stated, “Working with KVD is amazing.  Not only is he known as one of the most dominant bass fishermen of all time, he is also one of the greatest promotors of product in history.  He could pick any product in any category to have on his boat, but he used our products many years before we ever sponsored him …
Paper maps and technology give anglers an edge

Paper maps and technology give anglers an edge

There’s no question that today’s electronics and GPS mapping programs are good. I mean, real good. However, there are other tools that belong in anglers’ fish-finding strategies. Like, I still use paper maps and utilize satellite imagery even when I’m on the water. In my mind, it’s important to use every mapping tool available to me. I know some anglers may think paper maps are antiquated and seemingly useless when they have detailed maps on their graph screens. But that’s not the case. They remain critical to my studies because they give me a broader overview of what a system has …

Save time, be prepared

My previous blogs discussed the importance of restocking and organizing tackle during the offseason, but carrying sufficient boat gear can make you more efficient on the water. I’m probably over the top with everything I carry and some of the items have never been used. On the other hand, I want to be prepared to fix any boat or tackle problem that might occur that can save me time. We have excellent service crews at the national tournamentsm, but I never want to take the time to go back to the launch for them to fix a problem if I can …
A great time to learn

A great time to learn

This is the season of learning for all anglers interested in bass fishing. I say that as I kick off my travel schedule to do seminars and sport shows around the country before the Bassmaster Elite season kicks off next month. It began this week when I flew to Bass Pro Shops in Destin, Fla., for a store managers’ workshop program. It’s an annual program that Bass Pro Shops puts together to educate sales people on new products. The workshop lasts a week and is quite comprehensive. Tackle companies visit Destin to spend time with the managers, teaching them the ins …
Are you properly ‘hooked’ up?

Are you properly ‘hooked’ up?

As I explained last week, now is a good time to inventory your terminal tackle needs and get organized. We covered sinkers and what I carry in the previous blog, so today I’ll the most critical terminal gear I carry - hooks. It’s vital that I have precisely the right hook because I make adjustments all the time, especially when conditions change and call for a different presentation. You can use any utility box for hooks, but I’ve found the Plano FTO Elite Terminal Tackle Organizer to be ideal for a number of reasons. First, it has 26 fixed compartments rather …

KVD’s 6-season bass guide

Kevin VanDam needs no introduction. He's done everything there is to be done in the world of professional bass fishing ... multiple times. I've shared a boat with VanDam several times, and I have been amazed at his uncanny ability to find and catch bass on lakes he either hasn't fished for years or has never fished before. When I asked him about his gift, he shrugged his shoulders and said, "I just follow my Seasonal Guide. It works on any bass lake, anywhere in the country." Just what is this mysterious "Seasonal Guide" VanDam refers to? How is it different …

Undisputed

What a dummy. Prior to our holiday break, I compiled a list of tournament statistics for your review that included major victories and the attributable lure category. Surprised by a lack of crankbaits, I inadvertently reported that the once-dominant bait choice was completely absent from the win column.  However, as I was quickly corrected by our readers, a crankbait did factor in for a major title: Kevin VanDam’s beat down at Toledo Bend, where he won by nearly an eight-pound margin.  Somehow, I overlooked it, despite VanDam making headlines for needing a cameraman to assist with removing a whopper treble hook …