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

Day 5: The Rodent for Bass with Kevin VanDam

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, you’ve mentioned the Strike King Rodent several times this week. The Rodent has become one of the hottest, best-selling soft-plastic lures on the market today. Why? It doesn’t really look like a rat, a crawfish or a baitfish.

VanDam: You hit the nail on the head. The beauty of the Rodent is it’s a nice, compact bait that’s good for a number of different fishing applications, and it can look like anything you want it to look like. The Rodent is an excellent flipping bait. It can be used on a Carolina rig.Click for Larger View It’s great for bed fishing. It also can be used on the trailer of a jig. It has a lot of action, because it’s got a numerous appendages. The Rodent comes in plenty of colors. So, you can make it look like almost any type of forage the bass would eat. If you’re dragging a crawfish-colored Rodent on the bottom, it can resemble a crawfish. If you swim the Rodent in a bluegill color, the bait can imitate a bluegill. You can put a heavy or a light sinker in front of it. Now that we have two sizes – the 4-inch and the 3-inch – you can power-fish or flip the Rodent. Most of the fishermen I know who really like the Rodent comment that the plastic is so soft that the Rodent has a lot-more action than other baits that are similarly shaped.

Question: If you only could pick three colors of Rodents to fish, what three would you choose and why?

VanDam: Blue craw, double header red and black-and-blue flake – I can fish those three colors anywhere in the country. I use these colors the most. Remember that water clarity dictates the color I’ll choose. I prefer the blue craw, because it has a little flash and a blue tint to it. I use that color a lot when I’m fishing for bedding bass, because the bass think that color and shape resembles a bluegill trying to get into the bed. Black-and-blue flake is a productive dirty-water color, and the double header red is one of the most-natural-looking colors you can use.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Let’s talk about double-header-red color for a minute. That color has been to soft plastics pretty much what the sexy shad color has been to hard baits. What makes double header red such a good color?

VanDam: Watermelon red and green pumpkin are two of the best colors of soft-plastic lures, because they catch bass in a number of different water and weather conditions. When you put those two colors together in double header, so that you have watermelon red on one side of the lure and green pumpkin on the other, you’ve combined two of the best-selling and best fish-catching colors in the world of soft-plastic lures.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: How do you decide which color to put-up and put-down when you’re fishing a Strike King double-header-red soft-plastic lure?

VanDam: Color is more about water clarity than anything else. The clearer the water is, the more I prefer the watermelon side of the bait to be up. If the water’s got a little color in it, I’ll go more toward the green pumpkin on the double-header-red baits. But if the water’s dirty, I prefer Junebug or black-and-blue flake. I let the water color, not my personal preference, dictate which side is up, which side is down, and when I use certain colors.


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 5