Sneak peek at new products

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Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

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

As we near the season break for Memorial Day holiday, my thoughts will shift to the upcoming ICAST tackle show where a lot of cool, new stuff is coming.

I’ve played with a few of my sponsors’ prototypes at Lake Dardanelle this week and am pretty excited with the results. Like other members of the Strike King pro staff, I’ll be experimenting more when I get home from the tournament.

The general public has no idea how much time, work and tweaking goes into introducing a new lure. Each time a prototype is built, the lure gets tested by pro staffers and recommendations for adjustments are offered. Sometimes those adjustments can be very minute yet make a tremendous difference in how a bait performs in a real-life fishing situation.

We’ve been working all season long trying to finalize our new baits for release to the public.

I can’t share all of the details, but we’re coming with some interesting additions that run both deep and shallow.

That may seem odd when you consider we already have several crankbaits that include those that run from one to 30 feet. We definitely have all the staples, so now we’re filling in with niche baits designed to fit a specific situation or application, depth zone and action.

Years ago, anglers chose crankbaits based only on running depth and color, but we’ve learned that there is so much more to the inherent characteristics of a lure and how those characteristics appeal to the bass.

For example, I’m always choosing my lure actions based on the seasonal pattern, water clarity, mood of fish and the type of cover they’re around.

We’ve learned that a slight difference in how a bait wobbles and the vibrations it emits can make a huge difference in how many bites we get and how aggressive a bass might attack it.

Generally speaking, we know that tighter wobbling lures have more appeal in clear, cold water than wider wobbling lures, but there are times when a wider wobble might be more appropriate. A good example would be when the fish are relating to cover and in stained water, where a wider wobbling square bill stays in the strike zone longer and will bang and deflect around the cover to trigger a reaction strike.

For that reason, lure companies are beginning to examine their lineups and fill in the gaps with lures that offer a slightly different action in a depth zone or for fishing around a specific type of cover in that depth zone. And while nearly all hard baits have rattles, we’re now learning that a rattle-less bait can have better attraction in some situations.

In soft plastics, the one addition I can share with you is the KVD Swimfish, a versatile bait that will match up nicely with bladed swim jigs like our Rage Blade.

You can also expect the fishing reel industry to expand its high speed offerings in baitcasters. I can tell you that Quantum is coming with some surprises that include lighter, faster reels but also some for cranking that offer even more power.

I’m sure there will be plenty of other exciting products coming in rods, electronics and fishing accessories. The ingenuity of today’s tackle makers is endless as we will all find out later this summer.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

Kevin VanDam's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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