There's no doubt that five-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam knows his crankbaits. Over the course of his career, the Michigan pro has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars casting and cranking on lakes across the United States. When it comes to selecting the right crankbait color for the job, VanDam says that there's a rhyme and reason for every color in his boat.
The fastest path between two points is a straight line. So it's no surprise that Kevin VanDam, a noted power fisherman capable of covering vast quantities of water with lightning speed, is a big fan of straight lines. However, VanDam's favorite lines have nothing to do with speed; they have to do with mud.
For the tournament bass angler, a successful day on the water is measured by the total weight of the best five bass and not the number of bass caught. Culling through scores of smaller bass means more time spent unhooking and re-rigging, and less time with the bait in the water. Even the causal weekend bass angler can appreciate a pair of 4-pound largemouth compared to a dozen "dinks."
A trip to the local tackle retailer will reveal a plethora of color options in similar swirls, laminates, flecks and hues. It leaves one wondering if such subtle color differences really matter that much when it comes to catching bass. Elite Series pro James Niggemeyer has developed a loose system to help simplify his color selection.
Take one look at the soft plastic aisle in a tackle store and it's no secret that plastics come in just about every color imaginable. Need a pink Fluke? They've got them. How about a Blue Sapphire lizard? No problem. Even with all of the color options available on the market, some bass anglers believe there are times when a plastic bait needs a little extra flash.
For self-proclaimed topwater junkies like Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle, it's never too early in the year to talk about topwater applications.
Before each fishing trip begins, many anglers have a mental checklist that they run through to ensure that each and every piece of essential equipment is on board and ready for action once the boat hits the water. Often, left off the list are some of the most important things, items that protect you from the elements, particularly the sun.
Big baits are nothing new in bass fishing; 8-inch swimbaits, 12-inch plastic worms and big crankbaits are now commonplace in both professional and recreational anglers' tackleboxes across the country. But when it comes to topwaters, the biggest lure in the tacklebox is often a 5-inch Zara Spook.
When the band Three Dog Night covered the song "One Is the Loneliest Number," it's safe to say that they weren't singing about fishing a soft plastic minnow bait called the Fluke. However, the way that Elite Series pro Marty Robinson fishes a Fluke, the 1969 hit might be applicable.
Burned into the mind of every bass angler are memorable days on the water when the surface suddenly erupted as wolf packs of bass viciously attacked schooling baitfish. In a sport where the target is generally unseen, the appearance of schooling bass on top usually generates a sudden adrenaline rush. Mayhem ensues as anglers franticly try to reach the school. Then, just as suddenly as it appeared, the school is gone.