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Kevin VanDam on How to Bass Fish in Rough Water

Mossy Oak Fishing Team Leader Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Michigan, is at  the top of the bass fishermen’s leader board in money won in tournaments and has fished in some of the roughest waters a bass angler has ever had to fish. VanDam has the best equipment and plenty of experience. 

Kevin VanDam fishing

How does Kevin VanDam find bass in very rough water? How does he present lures to keep the lures from moving up and down as the boat moves? 

When you’re fishing in very rough weather, with lots of wind and possibly rain, the bass will feed actively. The way to solve the problems associated with fishing in rough water is to have all your equipment ready for fishing in a bad storm. That kind of water can be very dangerous. 

One of the things I do is add an extra bilge pump to my boat when I know I’ll be fighting that type of weather. I use a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor that features Spot-Lock. That feature holds the boat exactly where I want it to be when I find the bass. Then I can keep both my feet planted firmly on my deck and not have to have one foot on the trolling motor and the other foot on the deck. When you’re experiencing that much wind and weather, if you try to fight the wind, you’ll have a problem. Usually I’ll position my boat so that I’m not having to fight the wind and instead fish with the wind.   

If you’re fishing shallow flats in rough weather, fish a spinner bait or a crankbait, since the bass will be very aggressive during bad weather and windy conditions. Try to use a lure that’s efficient for the depth zone where you’ll be fishing.  For instance, if you’re fishing on the Great Lakes in windy conditions, a heavy drop-shot rig is hard to beat. It gets down to the bottom quickly, and you can stay in contact with your line and your bait, although the boat may be riding the waves. To keep my baits from bouncing up and down in bad, windy weather, if I’m fishing with the wind, I can feel my lures much better. But, if you’re fishing into the wind, being able to stay in contact with your lures is much more of a challenge. On those kinds of days, if I present a bait that the bass will eat in the depth zone where they’re feeding, I’m confident I can catch them. 

Bad-weather days aren’t the most fun days to be out on a lake. However, if you do fish, try not to fight the weather. Instead, work with the weather as best as you can. 

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