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John's Journal... Entry 47, Day 5

How Mark Davis and Kevin Vandam Catch Bass Fast

EDITOR'S NOTE: Regardless of where you fish, you'll usually want to catch the most bass in the shortest time. America's top bass-fishing pros face this same dilemma every day they fish. However, tournaments impose certain restrictions on the pros' fishing that you don't have.

But if these anglers could fish as they preferred, how and where would they fish, and what baits and tactics would they use to catch bass quickly? I posed the following scenario to some of the nation's top bass-fishing pros: "You and I are standing on a boat ramp at Lake X, a lake you've never fished before. I tell you that I'll give you $100,000 if you can catch a limit of bass in one hour. I won't give you the time of year, water, wind or lake conditions. I want you to take bass on this mystery lake using any tactic you choose except dynamite, hand grenades or other illegal tactics. Where and how will you win the $100,000 prize?"

click to enlargeMark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, won the 1995 BASS Masters Classic as well as the title of Angler of the Year in 1995.

"I'll study my lake map to determine where I'll find off-color water," Davis said. "If I know a rain has fallen in the area the day or two before I fish, I may look for creeks that will bring muddy water into the lake. I know bass will hold in stained water before they will in clear water. I've found bass will stay closer to the shoreline and are easier to catch if I can find stained water.

"I want to fish a Fat Free Shad or a Hot Spot in shallow water if possible because I can fish these crankbaits fast. With only one hour to fish, I'll make my first objective to find biting bass. Crankbaits allow me to cover the most water in the shortest time to locate actively-feeding fish.

click to enlarge"Once I get a bite, then I'll know on what type of cover and water depth the bass are holding. I'll also learn whether the bass are close to or away from structure and what I need to do to catch them. Once I determine where the fish are located with my crankbait, I then may want to use a different type bait to catch the most bass in those areas.

"If the water temperature is in the 60- to 80-degree range, which usually will happen during the spring or fall, I'll use a topwater lure. In warmer water, often you'll find bass most active on topwater lures. Although I like to catch bass on topwater baits, if I can get them to strike at the lure, then I can catch them with a jig or a worm. The real secret to catching numbers of bass quickly is to first locate the schools of bass and determine the most effective bait you can use to catch the bass you've found."

click to enlargeAnglers know Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, as one of the youngest, most-successful pros on the bass-fishing circuit. VanDam, a thinking man's fisherman, has finished in the money at more than one-half the B.A.S.S. tournaments he's entered, has qualified for numerous BASS Masters Classics and has won the Angler-of-the-Year title.

"Before I made a run for the $100,000, I'd sit in the parking lot and study a map of the lake," VanDam reported. "I'd consider where the bass should be on their migration pattern at that time of year. Also I'd look at the weather and water conditions I could see from the parking lot.

"With this information, I'd pick eight or 10 places on the map where I thought I might find bass. Once I'd chosen the spots I want to fish, I'd get into my boat and plan to run to and fish as many of those places as I could.

click to enlarge"If I'm going to fish offshore cover, I'll run over the spot I've marked on the map and look at my depthfinder to locate any bass holding on that deep-water cover or structure. If I see bass, I won't fish slowly enough to catch every fish on that place. But I'll fish quickly and plan not to spend more than five to 10 minutes on any one spot.

"I'll use whatever lure I must to catch the most fish the quickest on each site. I'll develop a game plan as to how and where to fish, determine how much time I'll need to fish each spot and what lures to use to catch the most fish in the shortest time. With a well-worked-out game plan, you can fish faster and find and catch more bass quicker.

"If $100,000 is waiting at the boat ramp for me to collect for catching 10 bass in one hour, I'll develop the best possible game plan before I ever crank my big engine and minutes start ticking off the clock."

Each pro will approach the problem of catching 10 bass within one hour differently. However, each pro believes his system, lure choice and strategy will provide him with the best chance for catching the most fish in the shortest time. From studying these pros' tactics, you can put together a game plan to allow you to catch the most bass in the time you have to fish on any lake at any time of the year.




Check back each day this week for more about How To Catch Bass Fast ...

Day 1 -How Gary Klein Catches Bass Fast
Day 2 -What Larry Nixon and David Fritts Do to Catch Bass Fast
Day 3 -Learn from George Cochran How to Catch Bass Fast
Day 4 -How Davy Hite and Cliff Craft Will Fish for Bass Fast
Day 5 -How Mark Davis and Kevin Vandam Catch Bass Fast

John's Journal