Live News:

Rayburn is great and will get better

If you have been tuning into Bassmaster LIVE, I don’t have to tell you that Lake Sam Rayburn is a pretty amazing fishery right now. Admittedly, I didn’t do much the first day of the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest to show off the lake. Although my total weight didn’t show what this lake is capable of producing, the tournament is illustrating just how good the bass fishing is here. And man, are we catching a lot of bass. I caught more than 100 yesterday but couldn’t get the big bites that I needed to move higher in the standings. I know …

Pros and cons of longer rods

The new Bassmaster Elites Series rule that allows rods up to 10 feet this year hasn’t been a factor, but that could change as we get into summer patterns. Several companies have come out with longer rods, and I’m working with Quantum to develop new spinning and cranking rods that extend beyond the former 8-foot limit B.A.S.S. imposed. Are there benefits? Absolutely, especially in those fishing scenarios where longer casts give the angler an edge. My experience of fishing the ultra-clear Great Lakes has proven that the farther you can stay off a school of fish the more success you can …

It’s a high water year

It’s going to be a high-water year for anglers, and that could require some adjustments in your fishing approach. We saw it at Ross Barnett last week, and it’s ongoing through most of the South. Missouri is flooded out; Texas lakes are high; and even our Midwestern natural lakes are rising. My pond is the highest it’s been in 25 years. Barring severe droughts, this high water could impact lakes well into the summer. The floods and high water can cause dreadful harm to communities, but when it’s controlled, it can create good fishing. As these waters rise, the bass move …

Fishing History

No, this week’s column is not about history like that. I’m not going to tell you about the earliest bass anglers or who invented the spinnerbait.  This column is about the tendency we all have — including me — to fall into a comfort zone and continue to fish the same way and in the same places even when we should know better. When I say, “fishing history,” I’m talking about a double-edged sword — going back to the same places and fishing the same ways can be a terrific shortcut to success … or it can absolutely kill your chances to …

Attacking the postspawn funk

One of the toughest times to catch bass is during what I call the postspawn funk. We ran into that during the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Toledo Bend, and it is something that occurs everywhere just after the spawn. At Toledo Bend, some of the fish were still spawning, but the bulk had just come off the beds. The fish were scattered and there wasn’t one pattern or theme that worked consistently. You can tell it’s going on when it’s difficult to get multiple bites in one area because the fish have yet to group up. The one pattern that …

The magnitude of winning

In today’s society, it’s all about winning. It doesn’t matter whether it’s NASCAR, PGA, NBA, MLB or any sport, fans, media and sponsors of those sports gravitate toward winners. You can finish second 17 times or consistently be among the leaders, but nothing delivers the recognition or importance to one’s career like winning does. Especially in our sport of professional bass fishing. Think about this: We have only nine Elite events, one Classic and a Toyota Bassmaster Angler of Year Championship. During the Elite events, there are 110 anglers vying for one spot in those regular season events. Most other sports …

Daily Limit: KVD, Zona family ties

STURGIS, Mich. – The Zonas and VanDams are family. They became close through a shared experience, and that bond has strengthened through the years. Both families had sets of twins born premature at 25 weeks, and each went through the trying experience of living at the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) coping with their boys’ struggle to survive. Today the families spend as much time together as they can. “I know this is going to sound crazy – he’s been like an older brother,” Mark Zona said. “He’s given me life advice, he’s given me business advice, and I owe him for just …

Lovin’ East Texas lakes

Every time I come to East Texas, it brings back pleasant memories. The Bassmaster Elites are at Toledo Bend this weekend and we're at nearby Sam Rayburn in May. I've been fortunate to win Bassmaster events on both lakes. My first time on Toledo was very memorable. It was 1992 and I was practicing at Sam Rayburn for an upcoming tournament. I had a phenomenal day catching more than 100 bass on spinnerbaits that I worked through flooded bushes. When Rayburn went off limits, I left there and drove to Toledo to fish with former Bassmaster Classic winner Tommy Martin and …

Fish with me and help the kids

Back in 2014, my wife Sherry and I launched the Kevin VanDam Foundation. Our thoughts were that we could use my name and reputation as a pro angler to help youngsters through creation of our own charitable organization. I’ve been very blessed with a successful career, and my foundation gives me another means to help youths experience and pursue their dreams in the outdoors. Since inception, we’ve made several donations in the form of cash, scholarships and fishing equipment to groups and organizations that help kids and support youth programs. Some of our previous funding has gone to children’s hospitals, youth …
Focusing on tomorrow’s stars

Focusing on tomorrow’s stars

When you read this I will be out practicing on Lake Conroe getting ready for the biggest week in bass fishing. We’ve got a real diverse and talented field that likely will make this another great GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. And while there will be considerable media focus on Classic veterans and local favorites, I’d like to turn some of that spotlight on scholastic fishing, the fastest growing segments of our sport. I think it’s a fitting topic at this Classic because Southeast Texas is a real hot bed for high school and collegiate fishing teams. There …