20 Questions with Kevin VanDam

11. What's the biggest mistake you see from casual anglers?

I wouldn't say the biggest thing I see with casual anglers is a mistake; it's just something they could be doing better with a little practice. The one big thing that I think would help a lot of people catch more fish is learning the importance of making a quiet cast with a soft presentation. Fish don't have to be hungry to be caught, and being discreet with your casting is a way to get more of these fish.

12. Do you have any fishing superstitions?

It's not that I have any superstitions, because I don't, but we do have a lot of fun with the [chocolate chip] cookies (baked from a family recipe by his wife, Sherry). I'm good friends with Scott Rook and Davy Hite, and we stay together on the road sometimes. I'll share some cookies with them. Davy's got his lucky drawers, though.

13. How big a part does luck play in fishing?

Not much at all, if any. You make your own luck. When you catch a 4-pounder on a spinnerbait, that isn't luck. What is luck, though, is when you go to swing him into the boat what happens after he gets off. If he bounces into the boat, that's good luck. If he flops out of the boat, that's bad luck.

14. What has been your greatest accomplishment in the fishing industry?

I don't really know. I love the competition so much I don't really measure my success by awards, trophies or winnings. I strive to earn the respect of the guys I compete against. Having that means a lot to me because I want to be at my best and compete against the best, and the Elite Series exemplifies that. Having the respect of your competitors is a big accomplishment at this level.

15. What goals have you yet to accomplish in your bass fishing career?

I have the same goals every year. I want to go out and compete as best I can and be competitive. At the beginning of the year, the goal is to qualify for the Classic. As the year goes on, it's to be in the hunt for Angler of the Year. Then, as the Classic rolls around, I want to win it. It's the competitive nature in me.