If you think Sexy Shad is Kevin VanDam’s favorite crankbait color, you’d be right … but only a third of the time. “Sexy Shad is awfully good in a lot of situations, but I only choose it about 30-percent of the time, based on its fit for the conditions,” says VanDam. He defines crankbait conditions, and subsequently his color of choice, by three parameters. 1.) Water color 2.) Season 3.) Available forage.
How Three of the Very Best Elite Anglers Adapted to a Host of Changing Conditions at Bull Shoals
One hundred pros came to Bull Shoals, fifty of them are leaving with a paycheck. The difference between empty handed, and at least $10,000, was adaptation. Adapt or fail. The confidence and willingness to change with changing water conditions and bass behavior is the ultimate separator between tournament success and disappointment.
Few Bassmaster Elite tournaments in recent memory have dished out more changes than 62-year-old, history rich, Bull Shoals Reservoir did this weekend.
Justin Larson was proudly discussing he and teammate Adam Saldaña’s recent conference regional victory as members of “The Wheelchair Spurs”, as 7-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Kevin VanDam attempted to bait their hooks with hot dogs.
Yes, hot dogs. VanDam actually started the day by molding a pinch of Snickers bar on to a size #10 hook, before fast realizing that frankfurters were generating bigger bites. His teammate Gerald Swindle placed pizza crust left over from his lunch on a hook, stating, “I’ve figured out that thin crust works better than thick.”
Four of the most accomplished and popular pros find themselves in Orange, Texas just 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to begin the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Season. VanDam, Iaconelli, Scroggins and Swindle graciously share their insight about the Sabine River, saltwater catches and satellite radio favorites.
Q: Did you scout or pre-fish the Sabine River prior to arriving here this week?
KVD: No, not at all, in fact I haven’t even studied it on Google Earth.
A giant cardboard paycheck brought a grin to Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace’s face when he was presented $7,500 in Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks money.
The new champ has long towed his Skeeter with a Tundra, and this is not the first check that Pace has hauled home from Toyota’s angler friendly cash bonus program. Much like the superior wisdom he’s displayed for fishing, the $7,500 he’ll add to his Classic winning $500,000 first place prize proves he was wise to sign-up for the Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks Program several years ago.
Terry “Big Show” Scroggins is a big guy. And for the past several seasons, the 6-foot tall 235-pound Floridian has largely been perceived as a lover of the flipping stick and thick vegetation. There’s truth to that. But throughout the 2012 Elite Series season … truth … was not always reality.
The numbers don’t lie. According to the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, “Big Show” was the third best angler on tour this past season. And he caught more than half the keepers he hauled to the B.A.S.S. scales using finesse techniques and a spinning reel.
The first ever Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks Owners Tournament was a celebration of shared passions among more than 160 anglers who fished in the event October 14th at Queen’s Landing on Lake Norman, NC.
Event organizers representing Toyota along with B.A.S.S. staff members greeted each participating team and presented them with free lures and line from Pradco and Berkley, a Carhartt sweatshirt, and a free special edition Bonus Bucks rod from Quantum before they ever made their first cast the next morning.
She was baking cinnamon rolls when I phoned in an attempt to find the heart behind yet another of the gestures that makes professional bass fishing intangibly special.
This time, “intangibly special” was found in the form of a half-dozen envelopes that stood out like a donkey at The Kentucky Derby on the front seat of KVD’s Tundra. Each of the six envelopes labeled with the name of a fellow Bassmaster Elite Series competitor in his mother’s handwriting.
Based on bringing back-to-back 16-pound stringers to the scales, Mike Iaconelli has earned a solid seat inside the top of the standings at the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Bull Shoals.
“I’d estimate that 60-percent of the keepers I weighed-in so far came on Warts,” said Iaconelli, the 2006 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
No, Iaconelli isn’t referring to virally induced bumps of the epidermis, but instead the vintage, erratic tracking, original Wiggle Wart lures launched to the market in the early 1970s by Storm Lure Company, then based in Norman, Oklahoma.
Yep, that’s how he described it. “This is my Mac Daddy Hammer during the spawn.” It was a youthful quip that goes far in explaining what makes the 44-year-old KVD so dominant. A candid verbal expression of endless energy, passion and excitement for what he does.
I’m not exactly sure what a Mac Daddy Hammer is, but I’m pretty sure it’s not an early ‘90s rapper in baggy pants because VanDam is more a fan of Metallica and Saliva. What I do know is that his comical expression of choice indicates a high level of excitement for one of his absolute favorite lures when bass are spawning.
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