Bryan Robinson sure knows how to connect with BIG fish! He’s holding an 11 lb, 14 oz Largemouth caught on O.H. Ivie Reservoir Lake in West Texas. This fish is a definite “wow” to all of us here at ALFC!
Skeet Reese or Kevin VanDam? Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson? Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon? Whatever your sport, we all have our favorites.
We were discussing our favorite Pro Anglers the other day. You know what? There are lots of Pro anglers. There are lots of species specific tournaments going on anymore. Walleye, catfish, bass, crappie, redfish, you name it. The number of pro fishing these many series has to be in the ten thousands. Perhaps more. But, there seem to be two who really stand out in the biggest tournaments of them all. Bass tournaments. These are pros who catch big fish and win big money. One of these fisherman is our gang’s unanimous favorite. Kevin VanDam. Sorry Skeet, you came in second.
For those of you who are not familiar with Kevin VanDam the best way to introduce you to him is to simply tell you he is a consistent winner and the all-time money winner in tournament fishing with lifetime earnings now surpassing $5 million. The last two years he has won the Bass Master Classic. This year in New Orleans, Louisiana, last year in Birmingham, Alabama. That gives him a total of 4 Bass Master Classic wins. Since turning pro he has placed in the top 10 in 91 tournaments, 20 of those first place finishes. He has been named Angler of the Year 6 times. More than any other pro.
Now I’m not a tournament fisherman. Simply put, I’m just not on the water often enough to be that good. Even if I was I’m not sure I would be comfortable with the pressure nor the discipline the schedule demands. Plus, there’s a thing called “paying your dues” that, at my age, I’m just not willing to invest in. But any angler, freshwater, saltwater, casual or tournament can learn something from Kevin VanDam.
That “something” is called focus. No tournament angler is what you would call a casual angler. They’re out to win and very disappointed when they don’t. They eat sleep, breathe, and who knows what else fishing. I seriously doubt they read books on model railroads or quilt design or converting a gas engine to used cooking oil fuels. Probably not big computer game buffs or…Well, you get the picture.
Knowledge is power. This applies to anyone and everything, not just fishing. Casual angler or top-ranked tournament bass fishermen. Businessman or clergy, lawyer or teacher. I’m sure that when Kevin VanDam leaves the dock ready to fish a tournament he knows the water temperature, the moon phase, the weather conditions for the day and beyond, the barometric pressure, and whatever else may or may not produce a bite from fish that will help him win. He’s aware of the sun, clouds, currents, and anything else that may influence a fish and the bite.
Luck isn’t much of a factor here. Matter of fact, I doubt it’s even a consideration. You can’t have the record Kevin VanDam has relying on luck. It may happen on odd occasion, but when it does it’s just that, luck. It’s not something he counts on or expects. It’s a “bonus” and I’m betting a rare one at that. My Dad always said “you make your own luck.” KVD makes his own luck. Yes he does!
Think about it. His boat maintenance is perfect. His equipment is ready to go and nothing has been overlooked. Fresh line? Check. Reels lubed and adjusted? Check. Rods inspected? Check. Boat deck clear? Check. Rod locker arranged for today’s strategy? Check. Tackle boxes/bags arranged for today’s spots and tactics? Check. Cigars and lighters on board? Check…Ooops, never mind, that’s one off my personal list.
Here’s the point. Kevin VanDam, and any serious tournament angler for that matter, leaves n-o-t-h-i-n-g to chance. It’s not just making sure the equipment is right, but that the strategy is right as well. That’s where good research comes in. This may take some time, but the upside is you’re prepared. You’re ready to maximize your time on the water. You’re ready to maximize your number of casts. You’re ready to maximize your chance of landing that winning fish. Or two. Or three.
Every winning team, every winner for that matter starts the game with a well thought out strategy. Whether it be team sports such as basketball or football or soccer or individual sports such as boxing, skiing, or whatever. Everyone has a game plan that has been developed well before the first pitch or the first round or the first cast. Sometimes it’s days or even weeks before the event when a plan is created. As the day approaches small adjustments are made, but the basic plan is in place. It allows for adjustments, but only if the results don’t go as expected. Only after the game begins are adjustments made. But at the beginning the plan is “it”.
For well over 50 years I’ve gone out with high expectations and a tackle box (OK, 4 or 5 tackle boxes) full of almost any bait imaginable. My many, many reels are well maintained and the boat, motor, trolling motor, etc. in excellent working order. My rods are really about as good as money can buy. I mean, I’m the G. Loomis guy, so that’s a given. BUT, more often than not I don’t have a plan. I have an idea of what I want to do, but I don’t have a solid plan. I haven’t done my homework. Which means I’m not perfectly familiar with the lake, methods, fish structure, wind abnormalities, incoming weather, existing barometric pressures, currents, movements, etc. I’m a wonderful optimist, but typically a mediocre fisherman. This is why.
Now there’s nothing wrong with this approach. Not as long as your expectations match your preparation which mine usually do. As I’ve told you many times, I just like being outside on the water. But, if your expectations include fish for dinner or placing high in a tournament, whether it be a local event of a major, then you may well be disappointed if your preparation emulates mine. And I suspect this may “sometimes” be the case.
The more I’ve thought about this the more “my way” becomes somewhat illogical. Think about it. Everyone of us has far more money tied up in fishing gear than we will ever admit (at least to our better half). Quite possibly we have the added investment of a boat and motor as well. Plus insurance on the rig. Plus the tow vehicle. And, we have the cost of getting to the water. With gas at $4.00 a gallon or more we ARE making an investment. Finally, I’m pretty sure few of us have unlimited free time.
So who, other than yours truly, would go fishing not caring if they catch anything? Honestly I can’t even include myself in that. My expectations may be low at times, but they’re not that low! Nope. I like fishing, but I like catching fish more. We’re doing most everything right, just not everything right. What’s missing in our plan is perhaps the plan itself. At least as it relates to the catching part of our fishing trip.
Don’t want to be Kevin VanDam? No problem. I understand. Neither do I. Too much work. Too much stress. Too much travel. But use him (or any favorite pro fisherman) as a role model. Think about how they develop a strategy and a plan and try to do the same. You may not have access to all the information the pros do, but use what you can, research what you don’t know, and at least start with a plan that includes a strategy developed from information on where you’ll be fishing and what fish are biting on.
OK, homework takes some time. But so does stopping every 100 miles or so for the “little woman” to use the potty. Or waiting on a Starbucks for 10 minutes (20 minutes plus last weekend!). Or going after fast food that’s not that fast. Point is we do lots of stuff that takes our precious time and don’t even give it a second thought. But for some reason many of us are unwilling to invest a small amount of time in some research that can make our fishing trip(s) hundreds of times more productive. I know you don’t like asking for directions (what guy does?), but this isn’t the same. It’s simply doing a few small things that will put the odds in your favor when it’s man vs. fish. I’m willing to give this a try before my next fishing trip. You may want to consider doing the same.
Well, we are seeing spring rains as well as some very encouraging reports of big fish being caught throughout the country this last week or so. Our pictures this week offer some proof. The season is definitely “on” and business has been hectic as we do everything we can to make sure your needs are met and shipped the same day as your order is placed. We have some new stuff this issue that we’re really excited about. Be sure to check out the long awaited Shimano vented fishing shirts that finally came in. All the details are below. We also just received the brand new 10,000 sized Shimano Spheros and Saragosa spinning reels. Again, see below. Best yet, we just received three brand new models of the very popular Shimano Cumara rods. Great stuff!
On a more somber note, we are all very sad about the events in Japan since our last newsletter. Please be sure to take a look below about our plans to try and help and how you can participate as well. This is the most important part of this newsletter in our opinion.
We’ve also got another article from Brian Dolne as well as some other information we’re sure you will enjoy. Be sure to take a look.
Once again, we can’t thank all of you enough for your friendship and loyalty. It’s been an amazing March so far thanks to all of you. We wish you the very best and…
Tragedy in Japan and How YOU can Help……………
It’s now been 9 days since the tragic earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. The more we see the devastation the more saddened we are. It simply breaks out hearts. These are our fellow citizens of the world and they have been devastated by what has to be one of the worst disasters ever experienced by modern man. Both an unbelievably strong earthquake as well as a monster tsunami.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Japan. We know we can’t possibly understand what they are dealing with. I’m sure you too are heartbroken. We are introducing a program as of today where EVERY customer can help as well through American Legacy Fishing. After doing some research on ways to help we have decided that the best option for all of us here at American Legacy Fishing Company would be to contribute to the American Red Cross which is directly assisting Japan’s Red Cross Society.
Although we have already sent a donation, we want to give all of you a chance to participate as well. So, For EVERY ORDER of $100 or more we are donating $10 to the Red Cross. We will do this starting today until the end of April. This means that every time you order $100 or more from us between now and May 1st we will contribute $10.00 to the Red Cross’ efforts to assist Japan. This program is in addition to any donations we have already made, individually or as a company and has no limit as far as the size of our gift. That will be determined by you, our wonderful and caring customers.
If you want to contribute directly rather than through us you can go to this link:
Once you click here just check the top box (Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami) and then hit the “Continue” button which will take you to a page where you can make a contribution using a credit card. Your donation will then be directed to Japan Earthquake Relief through the American Red Cross.
We know we are a small company and the needs of the Japanese people are great, but if we all pull together and help in whatever small way we can then we CAN make a difference. We ask all of you to keep the people of Japan in your thoughts and prayers.
Don’t Forget ~ OUTFITTING SERVICES Now Available at American Legacy Fishing Co…..
Starting in 2011 we are announcing a special service to all of our customers, especially those outside of the USA. We know finding hard-to-get fishing gear can be very frustrating for many of you outside of the USA. You read a USA fishing magazine or visit web sites that feature some highly desirable gear only to find out that manufacturer does not offer the product ion your country. Or, you find what you want only to be told the dealer will not ship to you.
We now offer our exclusive “Outfitting Service” that will purchase the items you need, create an invoice for you, allow you to check out using a credit card or PayPal, and Immediately Ship Your Order WORLDWIDE as soon as it has all been received by us. Even if we don’t carry a brand we will locate it and purchase it for you. In many instances we can sell you what you want at the low USA prices due to our volume. When this is not the case a small service fee will be added which we will let you know up front.
Why? Well we have always promised to go “above and beyond” for you, our customers. We feel by offering you this service we are keeping our pledge to be the best fishing gear dealer in the world. Give us a try and we think you will be very pleased. How? It’s simple. Just email us a list of what you need to [email protected]. We’ll get back to you with prices and availability and in no time you will get what you need when you need it. Try it, you’ll like it!