Kevin Vandam Video
Kevin VanDam reveals his tournament tactics, his fishing heros and more in this exclusive HD Video!
Glenn: Hi, I'm Glenn May with BassResource.com, and I'm here today with Mr. Kevin VanDam. Kevin, it's great to have you here today.
Kevin VanDam: I'm glad to be here, for sure.
Glenn: Kevin, when you first start planning for tournaments or prepping for it, how far in advance do you actually start doing that?
Kevin: Well, a lot of it really depends on the tournament. Like the Classic, I really start thinking about it several months in advance. Most tournaments it's just I'm so busy with other things that maybe it's a week or two.
Glenn: What types of things do you start looking for?
Kevin: It varies. It just really looking at the seasonal pattern and the type of lake that it is. There's a ton of things that you look at.
Glenn: So, when you first start to get on the water, especially if it's a brand-new lake that you haven't been to or body of water, do you start driving around, looking at your depth finder first or do you just put the trolling motor down and start fishing in an area? How do you start taking apart a lake?
Kevin: Again, it really depends on the time of the year, but the biggest thing for me in the starting point is looking at the seasonal pattern and I try to look for areas on that body of water that fit the seasonal pattern more than anything because obviously summer's very much different than spring or fall or winter. So, that's the first thing, really look at that and then you want to look at a map before you ever get to the lake and say, "This area fits the seasonal pattern. This might be something I might want to look at."
So, I spend a lot of time just physically looking. At the times of year when the fish are shallow, you can just look with your glasses and see, "Hey, there's boat docks or bushes or grass or whatever." Where in the summer months and things like that or the winter when the fish are deeper, it's a lot with electronics.
Glenn: Let's say you're in a tournament, and things aren't panning out the way you thought they would. What's one of the first changes you make?
Kevin: Again, there's so many variables to it that . . .
Glenn: Let's say it's in the spring, during the spawn, for instance. The fish were there one day, and now they've moved out. What might you do?
Kevin: Every situation is different, but you have to trust your instincts. A lot of times you're there fishing, and things aren't going right. And you're thinking about, hey, maybe this happened or maybe I should try this. Chances are you should follow that gut instinct when things aren't going well.
That's the number one question. Should I stay or should I go when things aren't going well. Sometimes, if you stay, you can figure it out, but for me most of the time I'm going to leave. I'm going some place else.
Glenn: No kidding. Now, let's say you've got a spot that really is working well for you. Do you stay and guard it, or do you let it be or what do you do?
Kevin: In these tournaments the guys are so good if you have something that you can protect, you probably should.
Glenn: Okay. In all of these years of becoming a better angler and working really hard to master your craft, have you learned any lessons that you've been able to apply to your life outside of fishing?
Kevin: Yeah. I mean, tons. Every day is a learning experience. For me, fishing is important, but when it comes right down to it, your family and things like that are much more important to me. I'm never going to put my career or a tournament or anything like that ahead of them.
But day-to-day there's so many little things that you see out there and that. I just feel real fortunate to be able to get to make a living at something that I love to do. When I'm complaining about a 16 or 18 hour drive heading some place, I think, well, it could be a lot worse. So, you've got to look at it that way.
Glenn: What do you think tournament fishing needs the most today?
Kevin: What does it need? I think tournament fishing is probably as strong as it ever has. People are competitive by nature. A lot of people love to bass fish as it is, so I think we're pretty good. Probably the biggest thing that I see right now is that on a day-to-day basis with the television shows or even the Internet coverage or things like that, we only attract, like for the Bassmasters Classic, maybe only half a million viewers.
And there's thousands and thousands, way more than that, people that bass fish and fish competitively at some level. The tournaments really are a great information resource. It's where all the innovation comes from, tackle and lures and boats and things like that because guys want to get better. You want to be more competitive. That's where most of that comes from.
I'd like to find a way that we could get those other hundreds of thousands of anglers out there to follow what's going on.
Glenn: What do you think we could do, even the weekend angler? What do you think we can do to get more people involved in this sport and more interested?
Kevin: Well, the one thing is: a lot of people do it for different reasons. They do it to get away from their job and things like that, and I understand that, but I think anybody that goes out fishing, bass fishing especially, and says that they don't want to catch more fish is crazy. We all have a limited amount of time. We want to have a better experience when we go, and more you can learn, the more information that's out there, the better your chances to be successful.
That's what I think the industry has started to do and will continue to do a better job of. The Internet has changed that more than anything. There's more information, more resources. If you want to make a trip to Lake X this weekend, you can get on the Internet and find out real quick what's been going on where before you know, at best, you might have to call the local tackle store. The Internet has definitely changed things.
Glenn: Absolutely. A lot of times when you are in conversations with people and you ask who is their fishing hero or who do they want to be when they grow up, your name comes up in the conversation. So, I want to know this. Who is your fishing hero?
Kevin: My dad took me when I was three. He took me ice fishing and had the patience to keep getting me out there on the waters, so I grew up watching a lot of the guys that fish still to this day, Rick Clunn and Larry Nixon. I watched Roland Martin, Bill Dance. Virgil Ward was probably the first fishing show that I ever watched, and because of watching Virgil Ward I started throwing a Bass Buster Beetle Spin.
So, there's a lot of people like that, but in the end you've got to get out there and experience it, and my dad was good enough to get me out there on the water at a real young age.
Glenn: Awesome. Well, Kevin, what I want to do right now is what's called a shameless plug moment. This is where you have an opportunity to talk about your sponsors any way you want or maybe talk about an upcoming book or DVD, or if you just want to say something to your friends or family or to your fans out there, whatever you want to talk about.
Kevin: I've got a lot of great sponsors. I think most people know who they are, and that's one of the great parts about the job that I have is I get to work with a lot of those companies to develop things that I want to fish with, the Sexy Shad crankbait, a lot of things. I've got my old rods and reels, but something real cool that we've got right now is we just totally redesigned kevinvandam.com, my website. And we've got a lot of new interactive stuff on there. So, if you haven't seen that, check it out.
Obviously, as I said before, the Internet, that's the place to be to find out a lot of information, and we've got a lot of cool stuff on there now.
Glenn: Excellent. Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kevin VanDam. I'm Glenn May with BassResource.com.