John's Journal...

Catch Deep Summer Bass with Kevin VanDam’s New Strike King Series 6 XD Crankbait

Day One of the 2009 BASS Elite Kentucky Lake Tournament

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, one of America’s top bass fishermen, has solved a major hot-weather bass-fishing problem for all of us.  When the weather’s too hot to breathe, a new lure that VanDam has designed – the Strike King Series 6XD crankbait – will help us catch bass holding on deep ledges. In 2008, on Kentucky Lake, VanDam needed a crankbait to dive 18- to 20-feet deep to win. But getting a crankbait down that deep is pointless unless the crankbait has the right wobble and will run true to attract bass on deep-water ledges duriClick to enlargeng hot summer months. So, VanDam worked with the Strike King lure designers to develop a new crankbait that would deliver the performance he needed for the June, 2009 BASS Elite Series event on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee. VanDam was willing to gamble $100,000, the first-place prize in this tournament, on this newly-designed bait. Although the Series 6 XD crankbait hadn’t yet come to themarket (it should be available in August, 2009), VanDam had six or eight prototypes in factory-painted colors to use in this tournament event. This week, VanDam will tell us about the new Strike King Series 6 XD crankbait, and how he fished it in this year’s tournament on Kentucky Lake.

Question: Kevin, what was your game plan on the first day of this tournament?
VanDam: I knew from past tournaments that I needed to catch five bass weighing 20-pounds or more each day of the tournament to win. I wanted to make sure that each day my five-fish limit weighed more than 20 pounds. Too, I knew I really had to manage my bass. During this 4-day tournament, there would be a great deal of local fishing pressure on the lake. Spectators watched where I fished and marked those spots after I’d left. I didn’t want to go to my very-best spots until I had no other options. At my first spot, I sorted through a lot of small bass until I caught a five-fish limit that weighed about 18 pounds. Then, I set up a milk run of several-different sites where I thought I’dClick to enlarge catch bigger bass. When I left my first spot, I headed north toward the dam. Fishing really slowed-down after the morning bite, but in the afternoon, I pulled-up on one place and caught two, 7-pound largemouths on back-to-back casts. I went to another area and caught a bass that weighed almost 6 pounds. I ended the day with almost 29 pounds for my five-fish limit. My final weight was 28 pounds, 11 ounces. Click to enlarge

Question: What was special about the spot where you caught the two 7 pounders?
VanDam: Nothing was very special about this location, except those two bass just happened to be holding there. This year, I fished main-river ledges on the main-river channel, and the bass seemed to be holding deeper than they were the year before when I won this tournament. I caught most of my bass from 16- to 20-feet deep, using the new Strike King Series 6 XD and the Sexy Spoon.

Question: How did you fish the Sexy Spoon?
VanDam: I cast it out and let it sink to the bottom on a tight line. Then, I’d pop it up about 3 feet or more off the bottom and let it fall back to the bottom with a semi-slack line. The Sexy Spoon had a really-wide wobble as it fell and triggered strikes from big bass. But during the four tournament days, I caught about 90 percent of the bass I weighed-in on the Series 6 XD. The other 10 percent I caught on the Sexy Spoon. When I reached a spot to catch a big bass, and the bass stopped biting, I’d cast the 10-inch Anaconda, Strike King’s new 1-3/8-ounce spinner bait or the Football-Head Jig. Although I’d catch bass on all these lures, the biggest bass always would hit the Series 6 XD crankbait or the Sexy Spoon. The two 7 pounders and the 6 pounder all took the Series 6 XD.

Question: In what place were you at the end of the second day?
VanDam: I was in second place.

Tomorrow: Day Two of the BASS Elite Kentucky Lake Tournament

Check back each day this week for more about "Catch Deep Summer Bass with Kevin VanDam’s New Strike King Series 6 XD Crankbait"

Day 1: Practice Days with the New Strike King Series 6 XD
Day 2: Day One of the 2009 BASS Elite Kentucky Lake Tournament
Day 3: Day Two of the BASS Elite Kentucky Lake Tournament
Day 4: Day Three of the BASS Elite Kentucky Lake Tournament
Day 5: Final Day of the BASS Elite Kentucky Lake Tournament


Entry 515, Day 2