Editor’s Note: Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who’s won more than $7 million tournament bass fishing, is one of only two professional fishermen to win four Bassmaster Classics (https://www.bassmaster.com/). He’s also won several Major League Fishing Cups (https://majorleaguefishing.com/) and is one of the fastest anglers of all times, finding and catching bass in every tournament he attends. He’s a very-detailed angler and a keen observer of everything around him when he’s on the water. Sights and signals that most bass fishermen completely overlook are some of the keys to VanDam’s success. Visit his webpage at http://kevinvandam.com/, his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kevinvandamfishing and the Kevin VanDam Foundation at http://thekevinvandamfoundation.com/ to learn more about his charitable giving. One of Kevin VanDam’s fishing strengths long has been his ability to quickly assess changing water, wind and weather conditions and the amount of fishing pressure to modify the way he fishes. Today, he talks about how he does that.
I try to make as many observations as I can each moment I’m fishing. Learning how to be that observant has been very difficult for me. Something I’ve noticed though is that some of best the bass fishermen in the nation have intense observation skills. By that, I mean that they see little changes in the fishing environment that other anglers don’t, and they know how to react to those changes. A slight switch in the water clarity, the temperature change in the water of maybe only three degrees, an increase in the current coming through the lake, a bait fish flipping, a heron standing on a point looking for something to eat, a shift in the wind direction – any of those different cues drastically can change the fishing conditions. The angler who is aware of those subtle changes usually will adapt to those changes and either win or finish high in a tournament.
I think one of the things that many bass anglers overlook is that they’re so concentrated on their casts, their targets, their boats’ positions, their lines as the baits fall or move across the surface or their rod tips to check for strikes that they don’t notice those subtle changes and/or cues taking place on the lake.
Choosing the right boat position for your next move, making that accurate cast, paying attention to what your lures are doing, notice a strike and landing the bass. For me, experience has taught me that these things are important. Instead of keeping my eyes glued to the depth finder looking for structure and determining where bass are holding, I look up at the bank in front of me, I watch the water, and I search for clues that may tip me off to the fact that there has been some change in the fishing conditions.
To learn more about bass fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007RP2LZS/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taft_p2_i2
that includes information on Kevin VanDam and other top anglers. Also see, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro, Volume II,” available in Kindle, print and Audible versions at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08Z9W6VC1/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_taud_p1_i9 that features information on bass fishing with anglers: Jacob Wheeler, ranked No. 1 on BassFan.com and Angler of the Year for Major League Fishing for 2021 and 2022; Ott Defoe, No. 4 on Bassfan.com; and Brandon Palaniuk, ranked No. 8 on Bassfan.com and Bassmaster Angler of the Year 2022. You may have to copy and paste these clicks into your browser. When you click on these books, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of the books for free. On right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible with one click.
Tomorrow: Kevin VanDam Watches Birds for Bass