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Bass Tournaments How to Win Them with Bass Angler Kevin VanDam

Getting Your Stuff Together and Keeping it Together to Win with Kevin VanDam

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: One of the most-successful bass fishermen of our era is Kalamazoo, Michigan’s Kevin VanDam, who has won more than 100-bass tournaments in his career and the Bassmaster Classic twice and has earned the title of BASS Angler of the Year five times, including the 2009 title. VanDam will be competing for his third Click to enlargeBassmaster Classic win in February, 2010, on Lay Lake near Birmingham, Alabama. This week, VanDam will give us his five secrets for winning a bass tournament.

Question: Kevin, what’s another important key factor in preparing to win a bass tournament?
VanDam: I have to be organized from my tackle and my clothing to my rods and my boat. At any time during a tournament, you should be able to ask me where any item – a Sexy Shad-colored Red Eye Shad, a Strike King swim jig, an Ocho, an extra split ring for my crankbait, a spare trolling-motor propeller, sunglasses, ChapStick, sunscreen, a No. 4 Elite Series treble hook in my replacement hook box or anything else I may need during the day of competition – is located. I should be able to tell you exactly where it is in my boat without ever having to look for it. Not only should I be able to tell you where the item is located, I should also be able to reach the item lickety-split (quickly). I have my crankbaits organized by the depth at which they run. I know where the Series 1 crankbaits are located for shallow-water fishing, the Series 3 crankbaits for the mid-range of the water and the Series 6XD crankbaits for the extra-deep water. But my organization regimen doesn’t just take place in my boat. I also have the back of my truck well-organized. When I come in from a day of competing, and I’ve lost three or four lures I need to win, I don’t want to spend 1/2-hour digging in my truck to find those lures. I want to go right to my Plano tackle box where those lures are located and know which drawer to open to get replacement lures to add to the tackle boxes in my boat for the next day of fishing. Click to enlarge

All the competitors have the same number of hours to fish. So, one wayClick to enlarge to gain an advantage is to not spend a lot of time looking for your equipment. Too, if you have a breakdown, you need to know exactly where the spare parts and the tools are located. If a rain front moves in, the faster you can find and put on your raincoat, and the quicker you can return to fishing. To be competitive and have a chance to win, I have to maximize my fishing time on the water. The fisherman who has the most time to make his casts and fish his lures will catch the most bass. I want to know if I lose a particular crankbait that if I don’t have another one, it’s the last type of crankbait I had with me. I don’t want to waste time digging through my tackle boxes, hoping and praying I can find another lure like the one I’ve lost.

Question: Okay, let’s take a test. Where are your Rage Craws?
VanDam: They are right behind the driver’s console in a Ziploc plastic bag. I have a 100 bag of Rage Craws in various colors because I use a lot of them in most tournaments I fish. I not only want to know where the Rage Craw is located, I want to know where I can find each color of Rage Craw.

Tomorrow: You Can Convince Yourself to Lose, Even Though You Practice to Win with Kevin VanDam

Check back each day this week for more about "Bass Tournaments How to Win Them with Bass Angler Kevin VanDam"

Day 1: Win a Bass Tournament Before You Leave the House with Kevin VanDam
Day 2: Getting Your Stuff Together and Keeping It Together to Win with Kevin VanDam
Day 3: You Can Convince Yourself to Lose, Even Though You Practice to Win with Kevin VanDam
Day 4: How Kevin VanDam Makes the Mental Decision to Go for the Win – The Man He Learned From
Day 5: How to Make Sure You Can Win by Capitalizing On Opportunities with Kevin VanDam


Entry 534, Day 2