Revealed: Kevin VanDam’s secret fall smallmouth bass technique

Fast and furious

Psst! Wanna know a secret? Rip a spinnerbait this fall for non-stop smallmouth action. Just ask bass legend Kevin VanDam

Jason Cohen
Jason Cohen

When Kevin VanDam won Major League Fishing’s 2014 Summit Cup (above), he didn’t just beat a selection of the world’s best bass anglers—he put on a clinic of epic proportions. Fishing against such seasoned, top-ranked pros as Brent Ehrler, Aaron Martens and Greg Hackney, he set a one-day MLF record, boating 39 smallmouth bass for a total weight of 82 pounds seven ounces. Remarkably, that weight approached the combined total of the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers. At one point during the event, VanDam even enjoyed an almost unfathomable 30-pound lead. His lure of choice? The humble spinnerbait.

With light-line finesse tactics and ultra-realistic lures all the rage these days, it’s remarkable that this four-time Bassmaster Classic winner still reaches for a spinnerbait. In fact, there’s rarely a time in the fall—especially when the water’s at least moderately clear—that VanDam won’t fling a spinnerbait for toad smallies. And this raises the question: Why would savvy smallmouth go crackers over a lure that, at first glance, looks like nothing in nature? Understand that, and you’ll soon be catching plenty of big smallmouth bass, too.

Gord Pyzer

Gord Pyzer

Fishing Editor Gord Pyzer is widely regarded as Canada's most scientific angler. Known in fishing circles as Doctor Pyzer, he worked for 30 years as a senior manager with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources before devoting all his energies to fishing. A member of the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame, the award-winning writer is also an internationally sought out speaker, tournament angler and field editor with In-Fisherman Magazine and Television. As well, he co-hosts the Real Fishing Radio Show with Bob Izumi. Catch Gord on the Outdoor Journal Radio Show live every Saturday morning 8:05AM EST. If you're in southern Ontario, tune your radio to Sportsnet 590 The FAN AM or visit and listen live online.

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