CHARLOTTE, N.C. – In New Orleans, 22 years ago, it was a black-and-blue jig that won him his first one. Four years later, in ultra-tough Pittsburgh, an old-school Rogue brought home the hardware. Then from the cold waters of Lay Lake, a Red Eye Shad scored his third one in 2010, and the very next year, a spinnerbait-squarebill combo in New Orleans made him an undisputable legend.
The lures that helped make Kevin VanDam a four-time world champion and bass fishing’s G.O.A.T.!
So, what lures will be in his starting line-up as he goes on the hunt for his fifth world title at REDCREST 2023 Presented by Shore Lunch, just a few weeks after announcing this will be his final season to compete as a touring professional bass angler?
“Well, no surprise, two of the three are going to be power fishing baits,” VanDam said. “A jerkbait and a crankbait. Lake Norman has blueback herring, so the bass are pretty nomadic, which means I want to be throwing baits I can stay on the move with, versus slowing down in one spot for too long.”
His third choice is a Strike King Baby Z-Too, largely because of its versatility with so many finesse tactics, should the chilly weather that’s forecasted slow the bite way down.
Just as he plans to do in retirement, VanDam graciously explained why he chose each of the three featured lures, to help all of us be better anglers.
“Lake Norman is largely a clear water reservoir, and jerkbaits really shine in clear water because they attract bass visually,” VanDam said. “Plus, very few lures will outperform a jerkbait in late winter and early spring. It’s one of my all-time favorite lures, and one I have a ton of confidence in.”
He’ll use the KVD 300 series around docks and anytime he’s in water less than 10 feet deep; but he reaches for the 300D to fish depths ranging from 15 to 25 feet of water.
“What I love most about the 3XD is its small body,” VanDam said. “That smaller profile gets bites that bigger-bodied crankbaits won’t get, and it does a great job of diving to that 10- to 12-foot deep zone that should be a player at this time of year.”
“Obviously, I hope I can catch them power fishing, but if things get tough, and I have to slow down, I want a bag of Strike King Baby Z-Toos handy,” VanDam said. “I can put that little 3.5-inch soft plastic baitfish imitator on a shaky head, or I can put it on a little swimbait jig head. Heck, I can even drop shot with it. So, it’s just super versatile, and at Lake Norman you better always have a finesse presentation ready to go.”
Three make sense selections for REDCREST as chosen by The G.O.A.T.. Could one of these three possibly deliver world championship #5?
Stay tuned. VanDam will have a ton of eyes on him this week. Everybody’s watching as the best to ever do it competes in his ‘final games’ this season.