This is about the time of year when the north country wakes up, and tour level smallmouth fiends who’ve been eating grits and drinking sweet tea for the past six months expect to come into their own. If you’re from Michiana or Minnebraska and you’re just outside the Classic cut, heading up to bronze country is like a gift from the fish-bearing gods, an opportunity to cement a spot next March at Guntersville.
The Elite takes a pause after the completion of the Guntersville tournament on June 24 until St. Lawrence practice starts on August 12, a hiatus of seven weeks. Some of the older and injured pros among them will use the off time to heel their bodies. Some of the ones close to the bottom of the AOY race will have to lick a different kind of wound.
For a long time, Kevin VanDam was the model for building a bass career. Not only was he exceptionally gifted and ruthless on the water, but he simultaneously seemed to understand the media and business side of the sport as well. He was able to focus on each individual event without losing sight of the long game. Whether he knew it or not, he served as a template for the next group of super-successful pros – the Ikes, Swindles, AMarts and even Skeets.