KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Mercury Pro Team member Kevin VanDam has been competing in Florida for 30 years, and the conditions he’s seeing this week on the Kissimmee Chain for General Tire Heavy Hitters Presented by Bass Pro Shop have him in a “KVD” mindset. The tournament’s mid-May time frame brings multiple factors into play that are different than the usual January/February: Fish are feeding, weather is more stable and grass is flourishing.

“These lakes change from year to year, and even though I’ve been here a bunch of times, it’s always a new challenge,” VanDaM said ahead of Day 2 takeoff. “We fished Heavy Hitters here in June (in 2020), and it blew me away. It showed me the potential of what these lakes down here have to offer. This lake has got ’em.”

His first-day results proved it: VanDam started the day with a 5-pounder and caught 13 fish for 43-8, good for second place in his group. He’ll return to the Kissimmee Chain on Tuesday in good position to qualify for the Knockout Round and its $30,000 big-fish bonus.