John's Journal...

Why Kevin VanDam Is a Bass Fisherman Who Constantly Wins

Day 5: Kevin VanDam Enjoys Fishing New Lures for Bass

Editors Note: Seven Bassmaster Angler-of-the-Year titles, four of those consecutively in the last 4 years, and back-to-back Bassmaster Classic Championships make Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, one of the most-consistent bass anglers on the professional-bass-fishing circuit today. This week, VanDam will tell us his tips for catching bass continuously.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Kevin, throughout these last 3 or 4 years, the one type of lure we rarely ever hear your name associated with is a top-water lure. Do you ever fish a top-water lure?

VanDam: Yes, I do fish top-water lures, especially when we go to the lakes that have a shad spawn. If we happen to be fishing a tournament on a lake that’s having a shad spawn, you’ll see me fishing top-water lures, just like the other pros. But I’ve had a little edge this year. Working with the Strike King lure designers, we’ve wanted to come-up with a better and a more-versatile top-water lure than the lures Strike King has produced in the past. This lure I’ve been fishing will be introduced at the 2011 International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) Show in July, 2011. I’ve been working hard on this lure for the last 6 months. It’s a walking-stick-kind of top-water lure. I’m really excited about having this new walking lure in my arsenal of lures, especially when the conditions call for a top-water lure. Not only does this new walking bait have the right action, but it makes a unique sound unlike any other top-water bait. The lure is so new that the name of the lure hasn’t even been decided yet.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: What makes this new walking-stick type bait better than any other manufacturer’s walking-stick-kind of bait?

VanDam: In the past, some anglers have had problems making a top-water bait perform the walk-the-dog-type action. So, we wanted to make it easy for anyone to make this bait do that action. Also, when this bait walks the dog, it doesn’t dive under the surface. Rather, it stays on top of the water, even in choppy water. This lure also has a great gliding action. It will come in a variety of colors. Of course, there will be a sexy shad color and some natural and translucent colors. Strike King also will introduce some brighter colors for stained water and translucent colors for clear water.

Click for Larger ViewQuestion: Since you’ve been testing Strike King’s new top-water lure, what have you been catching with it?

VanDam: I like to use this lure during the post-spawn, and I really like to cast it around targets when the bass are holding on bushes and boat docks. Too, I like to fish it around grass beds. This new top-water lure has a drawing ability to pull bass out of their hiding spots and cover. Click for Larger ViewOf course, during the shad spawn in the spring and then the bass spawn, this lure will be dynamite. Even when the bass pull-out of the shallow water and move-out onto the deep-water ledges, you’ll be able to pull them up to the surface to take this bait. Then, when the bass move into the creeks in the fall and start schooling, this new Strike King lure will be hard to beat. This year, I caught a number of bass at the Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament at Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, in May, when we had a blueback herring spawn. I cast this lure off shallow rocky points and around schools of herring. One of the things that helps me in my fishing is I’m always looking for a new, a better or a more-efficient lure than what’s in my tackle box. Because I’m fortunate enough to be able to help design most of the lures I fish with, I feel that when I’m not catching bass, I need a different lure that will help me start catching bass. One of the big advantages all Strike King pros have is we get to field-test many of the Strike King lures before they come to the market. Any tweaking that needs to be done can be done during the prototype-testing period. So, every year, as focused as I am on catching more and bigger bass, I’m also focused on how to develop a lure that will help me catch more and bigger bass. The new lures have helped me to accomplish that goal.

Check back each day this week for more about "Why Kevin VanDam Is a Bass Fisherman Who Constantly Wins "

Day 1: Bass Fishing Consistently With Kevin VanDam
Day 2: Fishing Ledges for Bass with Kevin VanDam
Day 3: Bass Fishing and Finesse Worms with Kevin VanDam
Day 4: Never Abandon the Spinner Bait for Bass with Kevin VanDam
Day 5: Kevin VanDam Enjoys Fishing New Lures for Bass

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Entry 622, Day 5