Kevin VanDam’s three tips for preseason tackle prep - Major League Fishing
Kevin VanDam’s three tips for preseason tackle prep
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Kevin VanDam’s three tips for preseason tackle prep

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Kevin VanDam has learned a lot about preparation over the years. Angler: Kevin VanDam.
March 17, 2023 • Alan McGuckin • Bass Pro Tour

While bass anglers in the South fish nearly year-round, March marks the unofficial start to the fishing season for just about all of America, and preparation is the first step to a successful season. So, Kevin VanDam shared three tackle preparation activities he exercises prior to each tournament season to help anglers at all levels have a better year.

Grab a pen. Make a grocery list.  

“The first thing I do when I’m getting ready for a new fishing season is to grab a notepad and pen,” VanDam said. “As I sort through all the lures, hooks and weights, I literally write a list of anything I’m running low on. It’s a simple but efficient way of making sure I’m not missing any of the tackle I’ll use most going into the season, without overstocking or wasting money on things I don’t need.”

Fresh trebles are a key part of VanDam’s preseason prep.

Replace treble hooks

We all have our favorite “go-to” crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwater lures, and those baits that have treble hooks hanging off their bellies need to be checked thoroughly to make sure the hook points are sticky sharp.

“I’m pretty fanatical about making sure my treble hooks are sharp, and the best advice I can give you is to upgrade one size on your favorite crankbaits and jerkbaits with fresh ones and keep checking the ones you use most to make sure they stay sharp throughout the season,” said the Team Toyota angler.

For example, on baits that come factory equipped with No. 6 trebles, he’ll increase one size to a No. 4, and for bigger baits that come equipped with a No. 4, he’ll bump up to a meaty No. 2. His favorite replacement trebles for those looking to order a couple packs are No. 2 and 4 Mustad KVD Elite Triple Grip hooks, specifically model #TG76NP.

Special attention to spinnerbaits

VanDam launched his iconic career in the early 1990s largely on the strength of spinnerbaits, and while the crescent wrench tool of fishing lures is often overlooked by ChatterBait anglers these days, VanDam will warn you to make sure your spinnerbait game stays healthy.

“I like to make sure I’ve got a wide variety of replacement blades with a split ring already rigged on them to allow me to swap them out fast,” VanDam said. “For example, after we finished fishing in Florida, I noticed I was running low on 4.5 gold willow leaf blades. So, I’m always working to make sure I have a variety of blade sizes, shapes, and colors on-hand.”

As you anticipate a great fishing season ahead, remember that success happens when preparation meets opportunity, and few anglers in the history of bass fishing are more organized and prepared than VanDam each time he hits the water.