If you want to know what’s made Kevin VanDam the most dominant professional bass angler of the past 30 years, the decal on the rear window of his Toyota Tundra’s truck cap provides profound insight.
Like most hall of famers, greatness is anchored in their heads and hearts. VanDam is no exception. And the “It’s the all about the attitude” decal is glaring proof.
“My wife Sherry has said positive things like, ‘I know you can do it,’ to me thousands of times in my career, and so our ‘It’s all about the attitude’ slogan is just a derivative of that positive mental mindset,” VanDam said. “You can say it, but if you don’t believe it in your heart, it ain’t gonna happen.”
VanDam believed it in his heart once again during his first day of competition at the Bass Pro Tour Stage One on Lake D’Arbonne near West Monroe, Louisiana.
The fish he found in practice the day before were good ones. He had six bites in one small area, and three of them were game-changers, but on tournament morning he never had a sniff. In fact, he went several hours without catching a scoreable bass on Day 1.
“During the 15-minute break between periods 2 and 3, I sat down and re-grouped. I thought about pulling up stakes and trying a whole new area. But I told myself, ‘Nope! I’m gonna give this area a full day and try to make it happen’,” VanDam said.
Finally, with just an hour and 20 minutes left in an otherwise scoreless day, VanDam caught the first one that counted, and you could say King Kong starting drinking jet fuel at the point.
“I actually hooked and lost what looked like a 4-pounder right after that, but instead of throwing a fit, I used it as a confidence booster, because it told me I was for sure in the right area,” VanDam said with a grin.
Indeed, he was. In the last 20 minutes, he caught four more scorable bass, including the last one with just one minute remaining in the tournament day, vaulting him from “out of the cut” to yet another Top 10.
“I can’t tell you how many times in my 30-year career I’ve caught a bass in the last five minutes of the day that changed my day or the entire tournament,” VanDam said. “And that’s why I try to live in a positive mindset. Be positive and good things can happen. Not just in fishing, but in every aspect of life.”
If you don’t believe him, just look to the 4-inch-tall decal proudly displayed on the rear window of his Tundra’s truck cap.