KVD at REDCREST: Mental focus, hand warmers, and a lotta gloves

Courtesy of Alan McGuckin / Dynamic Sponsorships


Even after 32 years of competitive bass angling, Kevin VanDam admits he spent a large portion of Tuesday night tossing and turning in a downtown Tulsa hotel room as his mind raced with thoughts of how to attack Day 1 of REDCREST on Grand Lake amid 38-degree air temps, spitting rain, and a ripping north wind.


“I said that Monday’s final day of practice featured weather for the ducks. Well today might be better suited for geese,” grinned the always classy pro from Kalamazoo.


But don’t think for a minute Northeastern Oklahoma’s raw weather had him defeated before the first cast.


Razor sharp mental focus


“Conditions like this make the mental part of this sport super important. You have to accept the weather conditions for what they are, do what you gotta do to stay warm, and believe with razor focus that the next cast is going to produce a bite,” says VanDam.


It’s about a 90-minute drive from his hotel in Tulsa to the boat ramp on Grand, and VanDam says he never even turned on the radio in his 2022 Toyota Tundra. Instead, choosing to spend the 95-mile commute thinking about wind direction, lure selection, and focusing on shorelines that should produce bites on a raw Wednesday morning.


Gotta have a lotta gloves


A huge part of VanDam’s success in staying warm is packing plenty of thin gloves in his Nitro. He’s got six pair in the boat with him Wednesday. When one pair gets wet, he takes them off, and trades for dry ones.


He also keeps a long-lasting air activated Hot Hands Mossy Oak camo hand warmer fired-up in the pocket of his jacket to grab hold of throughout the day.


What KVD says fans should watch for on Day 1


“Pay attention to the guys who get on a decent roll in the first couple hours of the day. In the MLF format, especially in these weather conditions, getting off to a good start will be pretty critical. But I’ll also say, the fishing should get better as the air temps warm up a little throughout the day,” says the Team Toyota angler.


As of 9:30 a.m. Grand Lake time, two hours into REDCREST competition, VanDam’s intense mental focus, handwarmers, and dry gloves had him sitting solidly inside the Top 10.