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Get dialed in on offshore action

This is the time of year when you’ll find me employing power fishing tactics on the offshore ledges throughout the South. As most anglers know, bass will school on the main lake, feeding of balls of shad throughout the day. But there’s one period when action is best — when dam operators throw the switch to pull water through the turbines to generate electric power for nearby communities. On some bodies of water, dam operators pull water about the same time every day and the fish get conditioned to that. They will feed the same time every day. You can …

20 Questions with Kevin VanDam

In the world of bass fishing, Kevin VanDam needs no introduction. He is considered today's most dominating force and has the record to prove it. He has two Bassmaster Classic victories, 15 career tournament wins, over $3 million in earnings and four Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year awards. Impressive numbers to be sure, but he hadn't answered our 20 Questions until now. 1. Where are you from, originally? I was born and raised right here around Kalamazoo, Mich. I think it's really nice up here. 2. How did you get started in bass fishing? My dad started me fishing, …

Kevin VanDam details his 5 favorite crankbait colors

For this installment of My Five Favorite, we went to the cranking authority himself, Kevin VanDam. He’s earned much of his $5.3 million in winnings on these baitfish imitators, and has seen many colors come and go, but here are his five favorites.    1. Sexy shad VanDam’s go-to shouldn’t be a surprise to those who have been around bass fishing for any length of time: sexy shad. VanDam helped develop the color and he — and thousands of anglers — have more confidence in it than any other for good reason: it’s one of the best all-around shad imitators …

A look at VanDam’s picks for Toledo Bend postspawners

Seven-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam put 17 pounds of bass on the scales on Day 1 of the Evan Williams Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend and walked to his boat to begin loading it on the trailer in the same way Peyton Manning heads to the sideline after another seemingly routine touchdown drive. Don’t count on Peyton to hold up a diagram of the play he used to put it in the end zone for TV cameras though, and that’s pretty much what KVD graciously did when asked what setups he’s using to target postspawn largemouth …

Add stealth to spring tactics

‘Tis the season when fish get wary. They’re spawning in some southern states and might even be in the postspawn mode on others. Up north, the ice is leaving and bass are starting to nose around in the shallows. In most of these situations, the fish are very aware of their surroundings and anglers need to step up their stealth tactics. You have to think like a hunter and put the odds in your favor. Regardless of whether you’re fishing clear or stained water, limit the sounds you make, the vibrations you create and the shadows you cast over the …

Kevin VanDam’s 5 favorite crankbait colors

We went to the cranking authority himself, Kevin VanDam. He’s earned much of his $5.3 million in winnings on these baitfish imitators, and has seen many colors come and go, but here are his five favorites.   1. Sexy shad VanDam’s go-to shouldn’t be a surprise to those who have been around bass fishing for any length of time: sexy shad. VanDam helped develop the color and he - and thousands of anglers - have more confidence in it than any other for good reason: it’s one of the best all-around shad imitators there is. “This just flat catches ‘em,” he …

Bladed jigs are gaining prominence

Several spring tournaments have revealed a technique that pro anglers have embraced and weekend anglers are starting to discover – fishing bladed jigs in the early prespawn. That’s not to say they aren’t effective other times of the year, but like lipless crankbaits, they really shine most from early prespawn until the spawn. The vibration they emit and the water they displace is a big reason for this. That’s why they are better suited in stained/muddy water and around grass. That blade churning ahead of the hook helps push the grass away from the bait, making it more weedless. Bladed …

Power through the spawn

To find quantities of bass, you have to be efficient at covering water. That’s why I’ve made power fishing the foundation to my success. I not only can cover water fast but I can mix up techniques to find the best one on that day for that season. It works exceptionally well from spring through fall, but the dynamic and fast-changing spawning season can make it perplexing. The mood of the fish and their willingness to react to a lure can change 180 degrees in less than a day. It’s a tricky time of the year. I’ve seen periods when …

10 best tips for fishing wood

If both bass and bass fishermen have a magnet, it is a strategically positioned piece of wood. That can take many forms: a fallen tree with its roots on the bank and its branches extending well underneath the surface; a stumprow situated on a deep water ledge; shoreline bushes freshly flooded by rising water; a forest of standing timber; the extensive root system of a cypress tree; a brushpile anchored in a secret spot; a dock piling; a lone log hugging the lake bottom. Those are just a few examples of the types of wet wood that attract both angler …

Cover water with swimbaits and soft stickbaits

  We all know that if the water is dirty, the fish are going to be shallow, so flipping, cranking and spinnerbaits come into play. But this is the time of year we start encountering clear water, and swimbaits work into my strategy. They allow me to cover water but yet I can fish a little slower, keep the bait in the strike zone longer and make the fish react. When you have post-frontal conditions and clear water, bass are less likely to bite the standard reaction baits, but they will eat a swimbait. There are two types of swimbaits …