VanDam on Fall Spinner Baits
Editor's Note: Thirty-four-year-old Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, currently ranked second on the tour and number one on www.bassfan.com, has had seven career wins and 43 top-ten finishes. VanDam has won the Angler-of-the-Year title three times. When he has prize money on the line in the fall, he relies on a spinner bait.
During the fall with its heavy rains, new water that draws baitfish will come into the backs of creeks. The bass will follow the baitfish. I often will move to the backs of these creeks when I fish spinner baits, depending on the time of the year, the clarity of the water and the amount of rain the lake has received.
I prefer to fish a 1/2-ounce double willow-leaf-bladed Strike King Pro Model spinner bait. I change blades depending on the water conditions and the color of the sky. On a sunny day with a clear sky, I'll choose natural-colored blades, often casting a clear-water shad model with its silver-blue metal flake blades and a clear-blue glitter-type skirt.
If the water's crystal-clear, I like to use the Emerald Shiner, an almost completely clear model. Since baitfish color lightens to match clear water, I use translucent-colored skirts.
On cloudy days, I fish with painted blades because the metal blades don't give off as much flash then as they do when the sun shines. I may fish an all-white spinner bait, including white blades and a white skirt, or a white-and-chartreuse-colored spinner bait with white-and-chartreuse blades and a skirt.
I catch 25% of my bass on a trailer hook on a spinner bait. Put the trailer hook on the hook of the spinner bait first. Then add the small rubber retaining ring to allow the trailer hook to swing freely behind the main hook. When the bait falls and flutters, the trailer hook will ride behind the skirt and not get hung up.
I use 17-pound test line with a spinner bait because extra-tough line will go through logs, stumps and brush. I fish with 6 1/2-foot medium-action graphite rod and a reel with a 6:1 gear ratio.