John's Journal...

Kevin VanDam Wins Fishing Tournaments by Letting Bass Tell Him What They Want

Day 3: Kevin VanDam Explains the Importance of Sunglasses When He’s Sight-Fishing

Editor’s Note: In the world of bass fishing, Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has set the bass-fishing world ablaze with his winning efforts. He was crowned the 2010 BASS Angler of the Year and the winner of the 2011 Bassmaster Classic, besides finishing in the top-12 cuts in a couple of BASS Elite tournaments, in this spring of 2011. But until he fished the BASS Elite Series Tournament on the St. Johns River in March, 2011, his three primary baits since the summer of 2011 had been the Strike King KVD 1.5 and 2.5 and the Strike King Premier Pro-Model spinner bait. However, at this tournament, VanDam’s best efforts came by fishing the Strike King Perfect Plastic lures. VanDam has learned over the years not to argue with the bass. He feeds the bass the lures they’ll eat, not just the lures he thinks they should eat, which is a critical element to his success.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Kevin, one of the critical keys to sight-fishing is having a quality pair of sunglasses and being able to see the bass you’re trying to catch. What color lenses do you use in your sunglasses, and why?

The key to the type of sunglasses you wear when you’re sight-fishing depends on the water clarity and the amount of sunlight on the day you’re fishing, and which lenses suit those conditions best. Choosing the right sunglasses for sight-fishing is like selecting the correct lure color to catch the bass. You have to let the water and the weather conditions and the amount of sunlight dictate which color lenses are best for that lake on the day you’ll be fishing. So, I keep several pairs of sunglasses with different-color lenses in my boat. Click for Larger ViewThis way, I can pick the right color of lenses to match the water conditions and the light conditions that will provide the best vision to look down into the water on that day, in that spot, on that lake.

Question: What color lenses do you like, and why?

When you’re sight-fishing, you’ll need an amber color. Now, there are different shades of amber from which you can choose. There’s light amber, dark amber and an in-between amber color. You also have yellow, which is a form of amber. Too, Strike King has different mirror coatings you can put-on a pair of the company’s amber sunglasses. You can get blue and mirror coatings, so that even though you’re seeing amber, the people looking at you are seeing mirrored or blue sunglasses. To get the very-best visibility I can for sight-fishing, once I see a bass, I change sunglasses, until I identify the pair that allows me to see the bass the best and the clearest on that day, in that section of the lake where I’m fishing. So, I’ve found that having several pairs of sunglasses to pick from every day I fish gives me the opportunity to choose the pair of sunglasses I can see best with on that day. Remember, you can wear a different shade of amber sunglasses each day you fish in a 3-day tournament, if the light and the water conditions change every day.

Click for Larger ViewAnother important factor to remember is that if you’re fishing one part of the lake and move to another area of the lake, the water and the light conditions may have changed. A different shade of amber sunglasses may give you better vision than the ones you’ve been previously wearing. If the sun goes behind a cloud, or the day’s overcast in the morning and sunny in the afternoon, the light conditions have changed. You may need to change your sunglasses to give you better vision. When you’re fishing, you may get sun, clouds, fog, haze or rain. You also can have clear, cloudy or dirty water. Even at various times of day, the light conditions will change. Click for Larger ViewHaving two or three-different shades of amber and different sunglasses, so that I can change my sunglasses with the changing water and weather conditions, has been successful for me.

Question: Is there any-other color of sunglasses besides amber that you take fishing with you?

I’m sold on amber and having more than one shade of amber.

Question: How do you tell if one pair of amber sunglasses works better than another pair?

I’ll put-on a pair of sunglasses and then another pair and look at a bass or a stump and try to determine which pair of sunglasses allows me to see that object the best and see the most definition of that object.

Tomorrow: Strike King’s Perfect Plastics Catch Bass with Kevin VanDam

Check back each day this week for more about "Kevin VanDam Wins Fishing Tournaments by Letting Bass Tell Him What They Want "

Day 1: What Lure to Fish When You Can’t See the Bass Going to the Bed with Kevin VanDam
Day 2: Kevin VanDam Quit His Run-and-Gun Bass Fishing Tactics to Fish the Ocho Slow and Steady
Day 3: Kevin VanDam Explains the Importance of Sunglasses When He’s Sight-Fishing
Day 4: Strike King’s Perfect Plastics Catch Bass with Kevin VanDam
Day 5: The Rodent for Bass with Kevin VanDam

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Entry 606, Day 3