John's Journal...

Kevin VanDam on 12 Months of Successful Bass Fishing

Day 2: Kevin VanDam Has Confidence in His Bass Fishing

Editor’s Note: Kevin VanDam tells us the five things that have made him so successful in tournament bass fishing, especially during the 12 months of 2010 and 2011 in which he won the Bassmasters Classic Championship and the Angler-of-the-Year title on the BASS circuit.

Click for Larger ViewAs VanDam explains, “Another key ingredient that I believe has made me as successful as I am on the water is confidence. I always believe that regardless of water, weather, wind conditions or the type of lake I’m fishing, I can catch bass. If we’re fishing on a lake where I know everyone will be weighing-in a number of 4- and 5-pound bass like we will on Lake Guntersville in Alabama, I not only believe I can catch those size fish, I believe I can catch even bigger fish. Click for Larger ViewOr, if we’re fishing a lake where you’re hoping and praying to get a handful of keeper bites, I feel like I can get those bites with my lures. Even if we have to check-in at the end of the day at 3 pm, if I don’t have a good bag of fish at 2:45 pm, I still believe that in that last 10 minutes before I have to make a run to check in, I can catch the size and number of bass I need to win that day. I don’t back-off during a day of competition. I don’t slow down, and I won’t accept defeat until all the fish are weighed in by the anglers. I think I was born with a competitive nature. I love to compete, I like to win, and I won’t give up until a contest is totally over. I think Yogi Berra said it best, when he said, ‘It ain’t over, till it’s over!’

“From when I first started entering bass-fishing tournaments when in my teens, I’ve always demonstrated that kind of confidence. However, in my early days of competitive bass fishing some anglers viewed me as a cocky young kid. I don’t think confidence is learned. I think a competitor is born with it - either you have it or you don’t. I’m a come-from-behind fisherman. In many tournaments, I’ve had to come from behind to win. In the last two Angler-of-the-Year tournaments, I was pretty much out of the hunt on the first lake that I fished. But then on the second lake in both events, I came from behind to win. Every day that I fish, I try to learn how to be a better fisherman. And I continue to learn more and more each day. I learn how to figure-out patterns that produce bass quickly. Too, the more time I spend on the water, the faster I’m able to learn where the bass are, what type structure they’re holding on, what water depth they’re holding in, what type of lure presentation they will bite, and what color lure seems to be most important on that day. I spend probably 175 days on the water fishing per year and that’s where much of my confidence comes from, because I’ve been tournament fishing for 20 years. I have a lot of experience to draw-from on how to fish under just about any weather or water conditions we may face.

Clici for Larger View“Also, because we’ve had tournaments all over the country on a wide variety of lakes, I now feel confident that I can go to any lake and find and catch bass. For instance, I can remind myself that back in 1998, I fished Lake Guntersville at about this same time of the year, under these same weather and water conditions, so possibly the same lures I caught the bass on then, will produce bass now. From those assumptions, I at least have a place to start trying to find and catch bass.

“Technology has probably been the biggest-single ingredient to change the way we all bass fish in recent years. The quality of depth finders we have now is far superior to the old flashers with which many of us started fishing. Humminbird’s new Side Imaging Sonar has drastically changed the way I find cover and bass and the way I fish. Then when you add in the use of GPS receivers with mapping devices, we all have become better fishermen because of technology. Click for Larger ViewAnd, I’m not the only one. Any angler can become more proficient and fish with far-more confidence with the new technology that we’ve seen in depth finders. I’ve learned that you need to embrace new technology as soon as you learn of it. When new and better ways to fish are introduced, I definitely want to learn about those new innovations. If you’re going to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series, you better know about new innovations, new lures and new and better ways to fish. If you don’t, you won’t be competitive.” To learn more about Kevin VanDam and his fishing, go to

To learn more about how to catch bass successfully, click here, or visit, and type-in the name of John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” that’s now available from Kindle books and contains information on all aspects of bass fishing across the country from top pros like Denny Brauer, Mark Davis, Mark Rose and others.

Tomorrow: Kevin VanDam Says to Use Your Body’s Metabolism and Don’t Be Afraid of Change



Check back each day this week for more about "Kevin VanDam on 12 Months of Successful Bass Fishing "

Day 1: Kevin VanDam Suggests You Prepare and Fish Your Strengths in Bass Fishing
Day 2: Kevin VanDam Has Confidence in His Bass Fishing
Day 3: Kevin VanDam Says to Use Your Body’s Metabolism and Don’t Be Afraid of Change
Day 4: Kevin VanDam Recommends You Rely on Your Instincts to Bass Fish the Best
Day 5: Kevin VanDam Explains Why Not to Be Afraid to Fail Whenb Bass Fishing

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Entry 662, Day 2