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.