John's Journal...

Tournament Fishing with Kevin VanDam

From Goat to Hero – Day 2

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, currently ranks number 29 on the B.A.S.S. trail, and led in the last B.A.S.S. Elite Tournament held on Kentucky Lake in Benton, Kentucky, for two out of the four days of the tournament. This week we’ll learn how VanDam found, caught and lost fish, and what elements caused him to drop from first to third place. We’ll also learn how to find and catch bass in the summer by following VanDam through the tournament and learning why he made the decisions he made. This week, you’ll be able to get inside the head of Kevin VanDam and learn what makes him tick.

Question: What happened on the second day of the tournament?
VanDam: I had to relocate a school of fish. After fishing for awhile, I finally found a good school of bass in the middle of thClick to enlargee morning and caught between 12 and 15 bass consecutively. I had a 14- to 15-pound stringer.

Question: Okay, Kevin, wait a minute. Let’s go back to the start of the second day of the tournament. You said you had to relocate a second school of bass. What happened?
VanDam: A school of bass will move every day. They don’t build little houses and live on a spot. Main lake fish move up and down ledges. If there are many shad in the area, the bass will move on tops of the ledges and start to feed. If there’s not a school of shad on top of those ledges, the bass will scatter and hang out and wait for conditions to be right for the shad to be back on top of the ledge. The second morning of the tournament, I didn’t find the bass where I’d expected to see them. I realized that if I kept moving around and checking different places, eventually I could find the fish. That’s summer fishing. You have to keep moving until you pinpoint basClick to enlarges on a ledge that are actively feeding. Another thing I learned from Thursday and Friday’s fishing was that on Saturday there was going to be a big local tournament held on the area of the lake where I’d found all my fish. I was fishing in the Paris Landing region, which was where the tournament would be held. For the first few days of the tournament, all the locals who were going to be in it were following me around and using GPS on my sites. I knew those guys were probably going to be fishing the water on Saturday. Besides worrying about trying to catch bass and win the tournament, I became concerned and distracted by the other fishermen who were using me as a birddog to find spots for them to fish.

Question: How distracting is having other fishermen follow you around and mark your favorite spots?
VanDam: To be honest, it’s hard not to let this kind of activity bother me. I was getting irritated because I knew those other fishermen were marking the spots I’d fished and planned to fish them on the final day of the tournament.

Question: On the second day of the tournament, how many pounds were you in the lead?
VanDam: I would say maybe by a pound or more.

Question: At the end of the second day, did you think you could fish any of the spots that you’d pClick to enlargereviously fished, or did you think that those other fishermen who followed you around would be on those spots on the last day of the tournament?
VanDam: I was pretty confident that I would have a hard time fishing the spots I’d found and catching bass. I was betting that those other fishermen would be sitting on my spots on the last day of the tournament, and I was right. When I arrived at most of those spots on the last day, local tournament fishermen were on every one of my best spots. However, I didn’t give up because the places that were holding bass on each of these spots were so small that I didn’t think most of the local anglers could trigger a strike. As it turns out, I was right. However, I was blocked from reaching my good spots. When I was able to get to one of my better spots, I caught a few bass. I wasn’t able to spend as much time as I needed to on the last day to catch the really-big bass that were holding on those places. Knowing bass are on a spot and you can catch them, but there’s another boat sitting there is frustrating. But that’s tournament fishing. That’s the reason you have to have plenty of backup spots.

Tomorrow: From Goat to Hero – Last Day

Check back each day this week for more about " Tournament Fishing with Kevin VanDam"

Day 1: How It All Began
Day 2:Critical Factors to Success - GPS and Wind
Day 3: From Goat to Hero – Day 1
Day 4: From Goat to Hero – Day 2
Day 5: From Goat to Hero – Last Day


Entry 358, Day 4