As of February 2012, Kevin VanDam (KVD) has won more tournaments than any other professional angler. Outdoor Hub Reporter John Phillips caught up with KVD to learn more about his fishing style and what make him such a success on the fishing tournament trail.
Question: Kevin, what’s your secret to always doing well in bass tournaments and consistently winning big tournaments and titles?
VanDam: I love what I do. I don’t view anything about tournament fishing as work. When I wake up in the morning to practice before a tournament, I’m totally aware that I’m one of the luckiest people I know, because I get to do what I truly love for a living.
Question: One of your strengths is fishing fast. How much does that fishing tactic contribute to your success?
VanDam: On the BASS Elite Series Tournament Circuit, fishing fast works well. I try to cover a lot of water quickly to find out where the bass are holding. For instance, Lake Guntersville in Alabama has a number of great places to fish, but not all those areas hold bass. So, in practice, I’ll fish as fast as I can and locate as many bass as I can. Then when the tournament begins, I’ll have plenty of productive spots to fish.
Question: What are your three favorite search baits?
VanDam: Strike King has an entire series of search baits that find and catch bass. Each of those baits is designed to search a different depth of water for bass. For instance, I’ll use the Strike King KVD 1.5 and 2.5 to locate bass in 1 to 2 feet of water and the Strike King Series 6XD to find bass in water depths of 30 feet. The Strike King lures allow me to search different depths of water to determine at which depth of water the bass are holding.
Don’t overlook the spinner bait. Strike King has the Burner spinner bait that I can fish right on the surface, and the Bottom Dweller spinner bait that I can fish as deep as I want. I can fish all these spinner baits fast. I also use the Rodent and the Coffee Tube. I can flip those two at targets and hop them one time off the bottom. Remember that in practice I’m just looking for bass, not trying to catch every bass in the area or pick apart the cover. I just want to know where the bass are holding, the water depth at which the bass are holding, the type of structure where they’re holding, and the area of the lake that’s holding the most bass. I always can come back on a tournament day to pick apart the cover and fish every piece of cover in that region.