Kota Kiriyama's blowout win in the 2008 Elite Series tournament on Lake Erie was no accident. His 93 pounds of smallmouth caught over four days, an average approaching 5 pounds per fish, were the result of a practice strategy that began several years earlier. While the average weekend angler may not have the time to approach every lake the same way, it provides a template for discovering subtle offshore structure.
Unless you're fortunate enough to live in a particularly temperate climate, when late fall rolls around on the calendar you're most likely either deer hunting or sitting by the fire awaiting the spring thaw. Only the most hardened of fanatics will brave the cold chill of December in pursuit of some late-season bass fishing.
With the advances in technology and available resources to rapidly increase a bass angler's knowledge, the learning curve commonly associated with success has been greatly reduced. So, what is it that consistently separates experienced anglers? The answer is confidence.
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.
Every angler who has fished a bass tournament surely remembers that first morning. You were nervous and anxious about the unknown that lay just around the bend uncertain of the outcome but convinced that you were living in the moment. Then, of course, there are the mistakes that were made that first time the things that can only be appreciated in hindsight.
Anglers who have been confined to the house during the winter are now counting the days until spring finally arrives and they can get back out on their favorite lake in pursuit of bass. However, Elite Series pro Bill Lowen, an acknowledged Ohio "river rat," is quick to point out that lakes and reservoirs are not the only places fishing action will be hot come spring.
When bass fail to react to a certain bait color, Davis maintains, the cause is often due to prolonged exposure to that particular hue.
Somewhere in the bowels of his Alabama home, Elite Series pro Aaron Martens has a crankbait graveyard with an inventory greater than the average tackle shop.
Elite Series pro Mike McClelland's name has become synonymous with dragging a Carolina rig or football jig around the bottom for bass. In fact, you might say that the Arkansas pro wrote the book (or at least a chapter) on deepwater structure fishing.