2010 Elite Series - Golden State Shootout Clear Lake - Lakeport, CA, Mar 18 - 21, 2010

Don't get ahead of the bass

About the author

Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

I'm on my way home from Clear Lake — a lot earlier than I'd like. I just didn't get the big fish I needed. If you look at the weights over the first couple of days — and really on Saturday, too — you'll notice that a lot of the guys weighed in 15-pound sacks, more or less.

That's because a lot of us were fishing in front of the bass. What I mean by that is that we wanted the bass to be moving to their beds, or maybe I ought to say we thought they should be doing that. We were fishing where we wanted them to be, or thought they should be, rather than where they were.

In the mornings the water was in the low 50s and it steadily warmed as the day went along. Overnight it cooled back down. When we launched the next morning, it was right back in the low 50-degree range.

The fish were moving, but they weren't doing it in an aggressive fashion. I could see them sunning themselves but couldn't make them bite. I managed to get a couple of big bass bites on swimbaits but, for whatever reason, I didn't get a good hookset and didn't get them to the boat.

Most of my bass came on finesse techniques fished slow. That gave me my 15-pound bags. The problem on Clear Lake is that the only thing you get with 15 pounds is the weekend off.

Now, to be fair, a few of the guys found some better fish and are apparently catching them on swimbaits. All I can say is more power to them. They found fish I didn't.

The lesson for all of us — me included — is that you can't get ahead of the fish. It might be spawn time to you, but it has to be spawn time to the bass as well. Don't let the warm, sunny weather fool you. Make sure you know where the fish are and then fish for them in those spots.

If they haven't moved up yet, and they aren't feeding aggressively, don't try to force the situation. Fishing in front of the movement will get you some ordinary fish, but you'll never catch the giants that way. You have to stay with the fish if you expect to catch the big ones.

I'll be home about the same time you're reading this. I have a sport show appearance on the East Coast this weekend and then another one for my brother April 2-3 at his store, D&R Sports Center, in Kalamazoo.

I'll be doing seminars with Skeet Reese, Aaron Martens, Jonathon VanDam, Luke Gritter, Mark Romanack and Chris Noffsinger. You can see a schedule on D&R's Web site (www.dandrsports.com). After that it'll be time to turn my attention toward Smith Mountain and Pickwick.

Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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