John's Journal...

Learn from Top Bass Pros Kevin VanDam and Rick Clunn

Day 3: Know When to Continue to Fish for Bass and When to Leave to Catch Bass Elsewhere with Kevin VanDam

Editor’s Note: One of the most-dominant anglers on the bass-fishing circuit, Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan has won several Bassmasters Classics, besides Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles.

Click for Larger ViewThe most-critical decision any bass fisherman has to make is whether to continue to fish the water he’s fishing or leave that spot to go look for new water. You must consider several variables to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. You have to decide if the region you’re fishing is either a place where bass rest, or where bass feed all day. The all-day fishing spots must have water, structure, current and preferably stained water.

For instance, if I’m fishing a point on a main lake with current on it and structure with deep water nearby, I’ll consider this place a feeding site. The bass continually will come from deep water up onto the cover on that point to ambush baitfish. If I pull-up on a point like this during the summer months and take two or three bass really quickly on a crankbait, I’ll continue to fish that point, even if the bass stop biting. I know the bass will move onto and off of a point like this all day in the summertime. If I’m fishing a 200-yard stretch of bank that has 10 blown-down trees on it but no current, catch four or five bass out of those trees, make another pass down that bank and don’t take a bass, then I’ll probably leave that area and go look for bass elsewhere. Although I may return to those trees again later on in the day, I’ll designate this region as a resting spot where bass may pull into and hold.

Click for Larger ViewTo determine whether to stay with an area that’s producing bass, current must be associated with it. Current can be created by several different factors, including the flow of a river downstream, hydroelectric generation and the movement of tides. A site with current constantly will replenish itself with bass throughout the day, as long as current’s running. If the current stops running, that hot spot often will turn cold and not get hot again until the current starts back. The presence of current usually defines a location as a feeding site. The lack of current generally denotes that the area where you’re fishing is a resting place.

When I Held ‘Em:

Click for Larger ViewI was fishing on the Potomac River and had located an underwater barge about 20-feet wide and 60-feet long. Having fished this spot for several years, I’d learned that the bass would hold and feed on this barge, which provided a current break, all day. When the tide was coming in, the bass would be positioned on one part of the barge. When the tide was going out, the bass would move onto another section of the barge. I moved up and down the barge, fished a wide selection of lures and continued to catch bass almost all day on this hold ‘em spot.

When A Fold ‘Em Place Became A Hold ‘Em Spot:

Click for Larger ViewAnother time on the Potomac River in a tournament, I fished in an area that generally would be a fold ‘em spot, a bank with some blow-downs on it, like the one I described earlier as a resting spot. However, when the tide came in, these blow-downs would be deep in the water. As the tide went out, the trees would be more shallow. The bass would hold on these trees and move up and down them, depending on what the tide was doing. For 4 days, I fished this same stretch of bank, about 200-400 yards long, and won the tournament. What appeared to be a resting place was actually a feeding site because of the tidal current on it. I weighed-in a limit of bass each day with an average of 4-pound bass.

How to Bass Fish Like a ProHow to Catch the Most and Biggest Bass In Any LakeTo learn more about how to fish for bass, click the titles for the new ebooks by John E. Phillips, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro” and “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake,” or go to, and type in the names of the books to buy them. Too, you can download a Kindle app for free and buy the book from Amazon to read it on your iPad, Smartphone or computer.

Tomorrow: Kevin VanDam Explains Other Ways to Evaluate Where You’re Bass Fishing

Check back each day this week for more about "Learn from Top Bass Pros Kevin VanDam and Rick Clunn"

Day 1: What Being Readily Adaptable Means to Pro Basser Kevin VanDam
Day 2: Kevin VanDam’s Three Keys to Consistent Bass Fishing
Day 3: Know When to Continue to Fish for Bass and When to Leave to Catch Bass Elsewhere with Kevin VanDam
Day 4: Kevin VanDam Explains Other Ways to Evaluate Where You’re Bass Fishing
Day 5: Cranking Tactics for Bass with Rick Clunn

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Entry 681, Day 3