John's Journal...


VanDam's Favorite Fall Tube Techniques

Click to enlarge Editor’s Note: Longtime, nationally-known bass-fishing pro Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has proved to everyone in the bass-fishing world that he can catch bass year-round. VanDam's many wins and his title of Bassmasters Classic Champion attest to his ability to catch fish. VanDam says that during October and November, bass are keying in on baitfish, and in the South, bass are primarily feeding on shad. In the North in October and November, bass may be feeding on shad, perch or LYs. Because VanDam understands this, he fishes with baitfish-imitating lures these months. This week VanDam shares with us his five-favorite October and November bass patterns.

Water clarity will dictate whether I'm fishing the jig or a tube in the fall. If the water is stained, I'll be fishing a jig. But, if the water is clear, like it is most often in October and Click to enlargeearly November, I prefer to fish the tube. If the water is slightly stained to clear, I'll fish the tube. If the water is more heavily stained to muddy, I'll fish the jig.

The reason I like the Strike King Denny Brauer Tube Bait is because of the erratic fall this lure has when it hits the water. Once again, I like the new Bleeding Bait colors in the tubes. The new black-blue bleeding bait tube is one of my favorite colors to fish. It has the flash of a shad with the red color of a wounded shad. I prefer this color when the water is slightly stained. In more-clear water, I like to fish a white tube, particularly the Denny Brauer Bleeding Bait Series of white tubes.

I Texas-rig my tubes, and I prefer a 5/16-ounce slip sinker in front of the tube, and a No. 4/0 Mustad tube bait hook. I'll be fishClick to enlargeing the tube on 20-pound-test Fluorocarbon line. I like to flip the tube at targets like stumps, trees laying in the water, brush and any type wood or rock target I can find. The tube also is a good grass bait at this time of the year. Docks and the backs of creeks are also very-productive spots to flip a tube. The big sinker makes the tube fall really fast, and once it hits the bottom, I pop the tube up off the bottom fairly aggressively and let it fall back.

In the fall, the bass aren't feeding on the bottom. They're feeding up off the bottom where the baitfish are swimming. Therefore, to keep the tube in the bass' strike zone longer, once it hits the bottom, I give it a big hop up off the bottom so that it can fall into the bass' strike zone again. I get a lot of reaction strikes fishing the tube this way.

Click to enlargeLet's say I'm fishing a stump. I'll usually flip past the stump and let the bait fall to the bottom. Then I'll jerk the bait up off the bottom and allow it to fall right beside the stump. If it hits the bottom again, I'll jerk it up once more and let it fall right on the edge or just past the stump. Then I'll give it one more hop away from the stump before I reel it in. Now, I may make four or five flips to that same stump before I leave it, but I don't waste my time by hopping the tube all the way back to the boat. I'm only fishing about 3 feet behind the stump, right beside the stump or about 3 feet out in front of the stump each time I flip. You have to remember that the bass are going to be related to that cover whether that cover is a stump, a rock, a patch of grass or a treetop. So, there's no point in continuing your retrieve past the point where the bass are going to attack.



Check back each day this week for more about MY FIVE FAVORITE OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER PATTERNS WITH KEVIN VANDAM...

Day 1 - Bet On The Baitfish
Day 2 - VanDam's Second Choice for Clear-Water Fishing - The Wild Shiner Jerkbait
Day 3 - VanDam's Favorite Fall Tube Techniques
Day 4 - Double Down With a Swimming Jig in the Fall
Day 5 - Bet On The Top-Water Bite



Entry 271, Day 3