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Kevin VanDam's Rules For Fishing

Kevin VanDamEditor's Note: Thirty-four-year-old Kevin VanDam, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was the 2001 BASS Master's Classic Champion and won B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year three times. He competed in the Classic for 12 consecutive years and had six top-10 wins.

Question: Since you're a clock-watcher when you are fishing, you say that a particular time is when you are going to fish a certain area. How do you decide how long to fish in one area?

Answer: Every situation is different. During practice I have what I call "the 10-minute rule." I won't spend more than 10 minutes in one exact spot doing the same exact thing without moving on so I don't waste too much time.

In a tournament, deciding whether to stay on at a spot and milking it or run-and-gun and hit a lot of spots is a matter of judgement. I tend to run and gun and fish.

Question: How do you decide when you should change baits?

Answer: If I go 10 or 15 minutes without getting a strike, I'll either change locations or switch lures. Usually what dictates a bait change is seeing the bass reacting differently to the bait. The bass will just nip at the bait, not bite it at all or just follow it.

Kevin VanDam When I see a clue from them, usually coinciding with the weather change, I'll just change colors, and suddenly the lure becomes the right bait. Usually something in the conditions changes, and when the bass aren't reacting as well, I'll change.

Question: How do you decide to completely leave a region where you're fishing?

Answer: Well, it's a judgement. Mostly, the conditions determine that kind of decision.

Question: How do you decide to go back to that same area where you haven't caught fish before?

Answer: Well, it's a judgement. Mostly, the conditions determine that kind of decision.