John's Journal...

Kevin VanDam's 11th B.A.S.S. Tournament Victory

Day Two of the B.A.S.S. Elite Tournament

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: On the last weekend in April, 2007, even with one day cancelled due to bad weather at the B.A.S.S. Elite Series Tournament at Lake Guntersville in Alabama, Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, pulled off a win, earning $100,000. This year’s win was VanDam’s 11th B.A.S.S. Tournament victory and his 67th, top-10 career finish. This week, we’ll look at how VanDam found and caught the bass, lost the fish and relocated them to win the tournament. You’ll see the strategy that’s required to win a big-league bass tournament, and how to apply techniques to win like a pro.

Question: Kevin, where did you start on the second day of the tournament?
VanDam: I returned to some of the same places where I’d caught bass the prevClick to enlargeious day. There was current moving through the lake on the first day, but on the second day, there was none. I didn’t get a single bite at the first two regions I fished. I continued running my spots until I found a place where I could catch bass on the outside edge of the grass. I caught a couple of bass at one place, but I really had to work hard that day to find and catch more bass. I ended-up catching about a total of 19 pounds and 10 ounces. I had a pretty-good second day, but it was much-more difficult than the first day.

One thing that really helped me on the second day was that there was very-little wind on the water. When the wind picked-up, I caught a couple of quality bass on the spinner bait. One piece of equipment that really helped me was my BioSonics unit, a device used for acoustClick to enlargeic data collection that helps keep the shad active around the area where I fish. If I could excite the shad, the bass would also get excited. I cranked-up the volume on my BioSonics to entice the shad away from the grass. The unit seemed to work because I noticed shad following my bait all day. During the practice days, I used the BioSonics device. I learned that generally the shad would vanish by 11:00 am, but if I ran the BioSonics, I could keep shad in the area I was fishing after 11:00 am. Although I wasn’t in the lead, I felt confident after the second day. After the first day weigh-in, the leader was 5 pounds ahead of me, but I only trailed by 2 pounds after the second day. I felt that I could catch the leader, if I had a productive final day.

Question: Kevin, when you catch bass easily on the first day, then return to the same spots and use the same baits as before but don’t catch bass, how do you feelClick to enlarge?
VanDam: I know I need to pinpoint a new location, look for something different and try tactics I haven’t used on the first day. I knew the bass would be feeding on the shad somewhere in Lake Guntersville. I needed to find the shad, so they could tell me where to locate the bass. I also knew I needed to run enough water and fish enough spots to pinpoint the shad and the bass. I’ve learned that bass won’t travel far and often will be on the same spots I’ve found during practice, but they won’t be holding on the same position. I knew the bass could be as much as 200-yards away, holding on the ledge I’d located previously, but not holding on the same spot I’d found with the GPS. I decided my best tactic was to fish down the ledge until I located the bass. When I find a place that’s holding bass and the conditions change, that school of bass will remain in the same area, if I can pinpoint them. Luckily, I found them.

To learn more about BioSonics, visit For more information on Strike King’s top-quality lures, go to

Tomorrow: The Final Day

Check back each day this week for more about "Kevin VanDam's 11th B.A.S.S. Tournament Victory"

Day 1: Pre-Practice at Lake Guntersville
Day 2: Day One of the B.A.S.S. Elite Tournament
Day 3: Day Two of the B.A.S.S. Elite Tournament
Day 4: The Final Day
Day 5: More with Kevin VanDam



Entry 405, Day 3