Editor’s Note: In the world of bass fishing, Strike King Pro Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has set the bass-fishing world ablaze with his winning efforts. He was crowned 2010 BASS Angler of the Year and winner of the 2011 Bassmaster Classic and most recently finished in fourth place at the BASS Elite Tournament on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida and 11th on the BASS Elite Tournament at St. Johns River also in Florida. This week, VanDam will tell us what makes him together with the Strike King KVD 1.5 and 2.5 baits as hot as a firecracker.
Part 1: Kevin VanDam’s $3/4-Million Bait
Question: Kevin, why have you together with the Strike King KVD 1.5 and 2.5 baits been as hot as a firecracker from the 2010 Angler-of-the-Year tournament on the Alabama River to the most-recent BASS Elite tournament on the St. Johns River in Florida?
VanDam: I fished the KVD 1.5 and 2.5 on the St. Johns River, but the bass I weighed-in were caught on Strike King’s plastic lures.
Question: Let’s start with the tournament on the Harris Chain of Lakes, where you were fishing for bedding bass. Why did you use the crankbait when many other fishermen were sight fishing?
VanDam: The Harris Chain of Lakes had really-stained water. There was a little clear water in some of the canals where you could sight-fish, but I was fishing on the main lake. I fished for transition bass that either was coming off the beds from spawning or preparing to move onto the beds to spawn. These bass were holding on the Kissimmee grass line. The first day was cloudy and windy, and I caught most of my bass on the Strike King Premier Pro-Model spinner bait and the Strike King Pure Poison.
But on the second day, when the weather cleared-up, and the sun came out, the bass wouldn’t bite the spinner bait or the Pure Poison. So, I began fishing the Strike King KVD 1.5. I’d fished it a little on the first day, but once the front passed and the sun came out, the bass weren’t nearly as aggressive as they were on the first day of the tournament. On that second day, I saw that the KVD 1.5 crankbait could work magic for me. I used the exact same bait I used to win the 2011 Bassmaster Classic in this tournament on the Harris Chain of Lakes. The chartreuse-and-black-back-colored KVD 1.5 helped me win the 2011 Bassmaster Classic in Louisiana and proved that it could produce bass on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Florida.
I’d cast parallel to the outside edge of that Kissimmee grass. There are a number of cutbacks in this lake, and little points in that grass were holding bass. So, I fished as much Kissimmee grass as I could with the KVD 1.5. I tried to make really-good casts that would cause the KVD 1.5 to run close to the grass. I fished it with a medium retrieve, and those pre-spawn and post-spawn bass really seem to like the erratic action of the KVD 1.5 crankbait.
Question: How much money has the KVD 1.5 made for you so far this year?
VanDam: I started fishing it last fall, and so far, that one lure has produced about $3/4-million in tournament winnings for me in less than 12 months.
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