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Designing Lures Aids Kevin VanDam’s Bass Fishing Success

Kevin VanDam

Fifty-year-old Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has won the Bassmaster Classic four times, has caught and weighed in 11,742 pounds of bass in Bassmaster tournaments throughout the years and is the team leader for Mossy Oak Fishing.  

I believe all bass fishermen like to tinker with their lures. I’m fortunate to be able to work with Strike King’s lure designers to develop lures I want to fish with in bass tournaments. Since I’ve helped to develop some of the lures I fish with, I have an awful lot of confidence in the lures I pick to fish with on each lake, the color I’ll use, and the technique I’ll use for fishing that lure. I can go to the lure designers at Strike King and tell them the color of lure I want to fish with to better match the hatch on each lake I fish. I also may recommend a different type of wiggle on a crankbait. 

This process of working with lure designers started a long time ago and has worked well for me and Strike King. I believe that’s another facet of my success. Each bait I help design is invented to perform a specific task, and each color of that lure is devised to fish under certain water and weather conditions. I want the crankbaits to deflect off cover. If it’s a deep-diving crankbait, I want to be able to cast it a long distance. I want each aspect of the lures I help to design to improve the lure’s performance. If there’s a deficiency in lures in a certain category, I want to help Strike King come out with a lure that corrects that deficiency and produces better performance in all aspects of bass fishing. 

KVD Jerkbait 300For instance, Strike King has two different sizes of suspending jerkbaits – one designed to be fished in the 4-5 foot strike zone and the other 6-7 feet deep. But I wanted a jerkbait that would swim down to whatever depth I needed it to go to entice bass to bite.  So, I worked with the lure designers at Strike King to develop a longer-billed jerkbait that dives to about 12 feet deep - unlike any other jerkbait on the market. Most of the time if you want to get a jerkbait deeper in the water than it’s been designed to go, you have to give up some of the action of that jerkbait or its castability. This new jerkbait I’ve been working on with Strike King goes deeper than the other two jerkbaits in the Strike King line, and the lure isn’t hard to work for the angler. This jerkbait also has incredible action, once it reaches those deeper depths. When we finally were able to get a jerkbait that would dive that deep and suspend, we called it the KVD 300 Series Deep-Diving Jerkbait. 

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