Kevin VanDam proudly calls Kalamazoo, Michigan home and has said many times there’s no place he’d rather live, but he’s also unapologetic for his love and appreciation of Texas’ bass fisheries.
He’s had tremendous success in Texas throughout his phenomenal 30-year pro career. So during the recent Bass Pro Tour tournament on Lake Fork, he graciously took time over a cheeseburger and basket of jalapeño poppers at Lake Fork Marina to reflect on his favorite Lone Star lures and lakes.
Lake Fork – “It will never cease to amaze me how many 4- to 8-pounders live here, despite the crazy amount of fishing pressure,” says the Team Toyota pro. “And the fact you always have a chance to catch an absolute giant on any cast never gets old. The longevity of this place is a huge testament to great management by the Texas Parks and Wildlife folks.”
Sam Rayburn – “You could call Rayburn my sentimental favorite,” VanDam admits. “It’s a world class fishery too, but it’s also home to some of my earliest success as a pro in the early 1990s. At one time, I set the B.A.S.S. single day record with a 5-bass limit I caught on a floating lizard that weighed 31 pounds.”
Toledo Bend – “I won on Toledo Bend as recently as 2016 with a four-day total of 96 pounds, but that giant body of water holds a lot of sentimental memories too,” VanDam says. “Heck, the legendary Tommy Martin taught me how to throw a Carolina Rig during a day with him on Toledo Bend. Not to mention, it’s a great crankbait lake, and I love to throw a deep-diving crankbait.”
Favorite Texas Bass Lures
Jerkbait – “This may be the least talked about of my favorite Texas lures, but man, I don’t come to Texas without a Strike King 300 series jerkbait tied on,” VanDam says. “From suspended bass in treetops on Lake Fork, to grass lines on Rayburn, it’s just a phenomenal tool.”
6XD deep-diving crankbait – “Once the fish move off-shore in late spring, and set-up on their summer spots, a 6XD is the perfect tool for dredging underwater roadbeds, points, creek channels, and ledges in 15 to 18 feet of water,” VanDam advises.
Thunder Cricket vibrating jig – “Ya just gotta have it – especially in the spring!” VanDam says. “It’s a phenomenal tool around aquatic vegetation, but it’s also extremely effective around wood.”
Like a basket full of jalapeno poppers, tasty, honest input from the greatest professional bass angler of all time regarding his love of Texas bass fishing.