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Stick worm magic

The first time I saw a stick worm I chuckled. There was no way a respectable bass would eat such a stupid looking soft plastic. It didn’t take long to find out I was wrong. That seemingly do-nothing worm shows off its unique fish-catching attributes the minute it hits the water. Stick worms – my favorite being the Strike King Ocho – have won a lot of tournaments and are baits anyone can use and catch fish. Several companies make stick worms, but the best ones are loaded with salt. The salt enhances the tail’s subtle shimmy action while it sinks …

Follow the bait into fall

Regardless of where you fish, this is the time of year you need to start paying close attention to where the bait is and what it’s doing. We are starting to see weather changes over most of the country, and the bass are starting to focus on baitfish. It happens on northern natural lakes as well as reservoirs; it might a bit premature for those Deep South lakes, but it will happen before you know it. Baitfish always is a staple for hungry bass but there are times when they are dialed in on crawfish or other aquatic creatures. However, when …

The rise of the drop shot

The continual evolution of tackle and technique trends amazes me. I’ve been stunned by how things have changed and how technology has expedited those changes in recent years. Our improved tackle has made us far more efficient on the water than we were 10 years ago. When I first began as a pro some 26 years ago, I could go to a Bassmaster event just about anywhere and either flip, throw a spinnerbait or crankbait and be successful. Today, we have categories of crankbaits, topwaters, jerkbaits, jigs, swimbaits and soft plastics designed for specific presentations. We need all of those and …

Don’t get beat in the heat

Hot! Hot! Hot! There’s no better way to describe what we’re dealing with here on the Potomac River in the Bassmaster Elite presented by Econo Lodge. Temperatures are soaring into the upper 90s with heat indexes well over 100. Couple that with high humidity, bright sun and very little wind and it makes for an uncomfortable day on the water. But what we are experiencing here is similar to what most of the country is going through and why it is so important for anglers to factor that into their fishing. Anglers have a bad habit of getting caught up in …

It’s topwater time!

It’s topwater season throughout the country, especially on our northern grass lakes. The bluegills are spawning nationwide and mayflies are hatching – all good ingredients for a good topwater bite. Anytime I find decent water visibility this time of year, I’ve got a topwater ready to play. There are various styles of surface lures, but my favorites are the walking stick baits like the Strike King Sexy Dawg and my KVD Splash popper. That’s not to say propped topwaters aren’t good, but these are my mainstays. I love fishing the popper when there is a bluegill spawn and mayfly hatch. It’s …

How to use HydroWave effectively

In last week’s blog I mentioned my experiences with the HydroWave during the Bassmaster Elite tournament at Wheeler and said I’d delve into the details of HydroWave usage this week. After Wheeler, I participated in a TH Marine media event. The HydroWave, which is now under TH Marine ownership, was a big topic of discussion among the writers at Guntersville. It always draws a lot of questions from anglers when I’m doing seminars. Perhaps I can answer some of those questions here. I’ve been involved with HydroWave from the beginning and have seen what it can do for my fishing. Like …

Dealing with spawning dilemmas

One of the confusing issues anglers face in spring is dealing with bass in all phases of the spawn. Not all bass spawn at the same time, of course, but there are peak periods when they will be nesting heavily. Which fish do you target? One of those periods is right now during the full moon. That’s what we’re dealing with here at Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes. I’m more of a power fisherman and prefer to find fish that fit my style of fishing. I look for fish in in pre or postspawn and see if I can make it …

How KVD Hammers Big Bass With Nail Weights

After watching his friend and fellow competitor on the Bassmaster Elite trail, Brett Hite, nearly win the 2015 Bassmaster Classic by strategically nail-weighting soft plastic baits, Kevin VanDam realized he had some homework to do.     While he’s always been known for his preference to fish fast and efficiently, once KVD delved into this technique, he realized it was right in his wheelhouse. VanDam’s success fishing belly-weighted hooks on stick worms and Strike King Caffeine Shad are well documented.  Today, he insists that the action achieved by inserting a weight strategically into the bait can make a huge difference.  He’s discovered that spreading the weight …

Top 5 Reasons Kevin VanDam is Obsessed With Turkey Hunting

Kevin VanDam might be the greatest bass anger of all time, but if you ever wondered what stokes his fire, he’s obsessed with hunting. Despite being hard at work on the Bassmaster Elite trail during the peak of turkey season in Michigan, he’ll steal every second to get some hunting in. In this article, KVD share's how he hunts wild trukey and his favorite tukey hunting gear.   Gobbler’s Delight “You’re trying to make them do something in nature that they’re not supposed to,” VanDam started.  “In nature, a gobbler gobbles and the hens come to him. By imitating a hen, you’re trying to …

Finesse swimbaiting ideal for clear, cool water

An interesting technique emerged last season that might play well in your local waters. We’re talking about finesse swimbaiting, or the use of smaller bodied swimbaits on jigheads and spinning tackle. It showed up quite a bit in smallmouth tournaments last season and has proven to be extremely effective when the water is clear. The technique has proven to be incredibly effective when the water is cold, such as during the late fall and late winter on highland reservoirs or Great Lakes waters. It is deadly on smallmouth and spotted bass but will catch a fair share of largemouth as well. …