HomeblogsJonathon VanDam – Elite Rookie on Tour Getting Ready and Answering Questions It’s been a busy offseason since I qualified for the Elite Series. I’ve been going to school, and I’m working full time at my Dad’s store here in Kalamazoo; D&R Sports Center. The store is an outdoor retailer and a boat shop that sells Triton and Nitro in the bass lines, and we have a full service department too. Along with working and school, I’ve been trying to find a title sponsor for the year. I’d like to be able to pull together something, but if I was to head for Florida as it is now, I’ll run a wrap for my Dad’s store, and include Strike King in it as well. I’ll be at the Classic working the show. I’d rather be fishing the tournament, but I didn’t quite make it. I’ll be there and spend some time in the Triton and Strike King booths as well as walking around meeting and greeting folks. I’m really excited to get started with the season; I’ve been looking at the schedule and am really excited about the way it lays out for my style of fishing. My first real chance to show the fishing world what I can do was at the St. John’s River in the Bassmaster Opens in 2008, and I’m excited to get back there. I’ve been hearing a lot about West Point Lake and from what I hear; we have a lot to look forward to. From what I can tell, it sets up really well for me to have a good tournament there too. Now that I’m stepping up to the Elites, I get asked a couple of questions that I wanted to answer here. The first one is always this, “Do I mind being compared to my uncle?” and second, “Am I nervous about going on tour against these guys?” To answer the first question, I don’t really think about being compared to Kevin; he’s my uncle. Our family is really proud of him and everything he’s accomplished, but he’s still a competitor on the water. Our family likes to compete, and he’s always been a big help to me as far as the career goes, but when it comes to fishing, it’s not that way. I’m going to go out there and work hard, leave it all on the water and try to make my own path as an angler. As far as fishing against the other guys, I know how good they are, because of being around my uncle, but mainly because of the fact that I’ve been fishing against so many of them in the Opens. I’m not scared of any of them, but mainly because I’ve known them for so long. It’s really hard to be scared of guys when they’ve been friends for so long. That being said, I know the Elite Series is the best and brightest stage in the business, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and performing on it.