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Top Professional Bass Fishermen Say, We Fish to Win

Target Fishing with Top-Pro Kevin VanDam

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: Why do some bass fishermen consistently win tournaments and other good, even great, bass anglers never win tournaments? To learn the answer to this question, I’ve interviewed some of the most-outstanding bass fishermen in the nation, and they all agree that to win an angler has to make a conscious decision to fish to win and leave the security of trying to catch a limit behind.

With two Bassmaster Classic championships under his belt and national recognition as one of the most-productive bass fishermen, Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, alwClick to enlargeays fishes to win.

"I never fish for second place," VanDam says. "When I’m competing in a bass tournament, I’m here to win. I’m not here to earn points or a paycheck. To win, you have to know what fishing tools you can use to win on certain lakes. For instance, at Table Rock Lake, you may have to use spinning tackle and finesse worms because those are the tools that can help you catch bass on that type of lake. But on other big-bass lakes like Lake Amistad on the Texas-Mexico border and lakes in the California Delta, you have to use big-bass baits, if you intend to win. I have to use the lures that target big bass on every lake I fish.

"Luckily, I work with Strike King Lures, and that company has Click to enlargea wide variety of great bass baits. But I can’t always just fish Strike King’s products, because weather conditions dictate what tools I’ll use. However, my primary big-bass baits are the King Shad, a Strike King spinnerbait, a Strike King jig and the Strike King Red Eye Shad. On Lake Amistad, where I finished fifth with a five-bass limit each day and a total of 90 pounds of bass in four days, I fished the King Shad as my primary bait, and then when the weather changed, I used the Zero, a cigar-shaped worm, and the 8-inch Iguana, a big plastic lizard.

"My number-one go-to big bass bait is the Premier Model Strike King jig. A black-and-blue combination is one of my favorite colors, and I also like the Texas Craw or Green Pumpkin. In recent years, we’ve seen more people fishing big swim baits like Strike King’s King Shad. We know that when you’re fishing on a big lake with big bass, the fish generally prefer big baits. The King Shad isn’t so big that other fish won’t bite it, but it’s a large bait that big bass really like. This bait enables me to catch 3-pound-plus bass on many lakes. Click to enlarge

"Fishing to win isn’t conservative fishing. You take chances that you won’t take, if you’re just trying to catch bass. You target big fish instead of sitting in an area and attempting to catch a limit of bass. Rather than fishing to upgrade your catch by 1 pound, you’re fishing for bass that will upgrade your stringer by 5 pounds. Remember, when you cull a 3-pound bass with an 8-pound bass, you’ve increased your stringer by 5 pounds. That’s the kind of attitude you need to win bass tournaments. You need to fish the part of a lake where the big bass live with the lures designed to catch those big bass. When you fish to win, you’ll either win the tournament or finish in the top-five places, or, you’ll go home in the bottom of the pack."



Check back each day this week for more about "Top Professional Bass Fishermen Say, We Fish to Win"

Day 1: Rick Clunn Fishes to Win
Day 2: Denny Brauer’s Gambling Attitude When He Fishes
Day 3: Michael Iaconelli Fishes for Certain Size-Sized Bass
Day 4: Research Tactics from Alabama’s Hot Young Pros
Day 5: Target Fishing with Top-Pro Kevin VanDam



Entry 398, Day 5