Wishin’ for Michigan fishin’

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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.

I know this may sound crazy since I’m fishing an Elite Series event this week on Toledo Bend, La., one of the nation’s greatest bass lakes, but I’m wishin’ I was fishin’ in Michigan.

June is my favorite time to fish in my home state for a number of reasons, but topping the list is smallmouth bass.

You can’t grow up as a Michigan angler and not have a tremendous appreciation for those brown fish.

And you know what’s weird? No one in the south thinks about us as a great bass fishing destination. We’re better known as a Great Lake state, where walleye, muskie, perch and trout salmon get more exposure.

But that’s another reason the bass fishing is so good – Michigan anglers have so many options that the fishing pressure is spread around. The bass often get overlooked, especially those in the northern half of the Lower Peninsula.

The same can be said for most of the Upper Midwest states and northeastern region of the country where smallmouth thrive and are often neglected.

What makes Michigan unique is it’s shouldered by cold water Great Lakes’ Michigan, Huron and Erie. Although trout and salmon reign, the bays and shoals are smothered with smallies that rarely get fished.

Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City is one of my favorites, but you don’t have to fish big water to enjoy quality smallmouth action. Several of the small lakes around Traverse City and north of there are loaded with smallmouth, too.

If you don’t own a boat, there are guides that you can hire who can provide the boat, equipment and knowledge to show you and your family the smallmouth trip of a lifetime.

And while the southern part of the country is roasting in hot, humid temperatures right now, we’re enjoying beautiful, 70- to 80-degree weather that makes fishing so much more pleasant and holds the bass in shallower water.

How good is it now? Last week I was a guest on Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show; we filmed on Lake St. Clair, which is a miniature Great Lake sitting between Lake Huron and Erie near Detroit.

It normally takes two days to film a half-hour TV fishing show on most waters, but we were done by 3 p.m. the first day! We caught numerous 3- and 4-pound smallmouth up on the flats as well as a ton of 2-pounders that most people would be thrilled to catch.

While here for the Elite Series tournament on Toledo Bend, a Texas angler was telling me about how some of his lakes have good smallmouth fishing.

People can’t fathom how good Michigan is and look at me in disbelief when I tell them you can have 100 fish days up there that average more than 3 pounds each and catch several weighing 5 pounds plus.

And that’s with just a basic knowledge of how to catch bass.

So, if the kids are out of school and you want to plan a fishing vacation, give Michigan or any upper Midwestern state a serious look. You will discover what I already know – it’s the best bass fishing you’re going to find anywhere during the month of June!

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

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