Kevin VanDam weeds out summer bass

Category: Tournament

 May 27th, 2016 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Nov 21st, 2018 at 3:42 PM

Kevin VanDam (KVD) is to bass fishing as America is to apple pie and baseball. So for the upcoming summer months, who better to chat about fishing for bass in natural lakes during the toasty time of the year than KVD? Um… nobody.

KVD breaks down his approach simply. It’s all about the weeds.

“I really love to fish the weed edges on natural lakes during the summer,” said VanDam. “Whether it is deep cranking or fishing the real thick stuff, the weeds are where you’ll find the majority of the largemouth bass.”

KVD digs cranking (Joel Shangle/BassFIRST)

Deep cranking.

“Deep cranking outside weed grass is my absolute favorite way to fish and catch bass in natural lakes,” said VanDam. “You can catch big fish and big numbers of fish, too. You can catch bass on a worm or a jig deep as well, but using a crankbait is the most efficient way to find and catch them.

“Deep is relative of course. The shallower lakes with lots of milfoil the deep edge can be 8 feet. On some of the other lakes that are deeper and have clear water, the deep weed edge can be 20 feet. Either situation is just fine for finding a lot of the biggest bass in the lake.”

VanDam uses his Quantum KVD model crankbait rods and Tour KVD reels spooled with Bass Pro Shop XPS fluorocarbon.

Crankbait choice is either a Strike King SeriesĀ  5, 5XD or 6XD.

“One of the most important ways to crank properly is to rip the crankbait out of the weeds,” said VanDam. “When you are fishing the edge and you snag a little, snap that crankbait out. It will often trigger the fish into biting.”

Kevin VanDam with a fat bass (Joel Shangle/BassFIRST)

Dense weeds.

“The thick, heavy weeds are the other option in natural lakes,” said VanDam. “You’ll want to look for prime structure or irregular features. Whether it’s a drop-off close to the dense vegetation, a creek channel or a combination of covers like where thick weeds are up against a dock or two different weeds mix together.

“I love to throw a Strike King Sexy Frog. I’ll work that in the jungle stuff, but also in the little pockets and openings. It works great.

“Flipping and punching through dense vegetation is also another technique you need to use in the thick stuff. Don’t forget your swim jigs, too. Especially around the submerged thick stuff. Anywhere you can retrieve them.”

VanDam uses 50-pound braid for all of the dense vegetation techniques where you won’t find many bass over 6 pounds. In lakes where 10-pounders roam, he’ll use 65-pound braid.

Rod choice for the frogs and jigs is a 7’4″ KVD signature rod and high-speed reel. A Quantum rod in the 7’10” length is what KVD uses to flip and punch.

A variety of Strike King soft plastics like the Rage Bug are what VanDam uses to flip. His jig choice tis the Strike KingĀ  KVD Heavy Cover model.

Bluegills baby.

“In most of the natural lakes, especially in the northern portionsof the country, bluegills are a primary food for bass in the summer,” said VanDam. “I usually try to mimic a bluegill color on all of my lures in the summer. Especially up north.”

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