How to Win Bass Tournaments
I believe it has a lot to do with the techniques they use, the types of patterns they key on, and their mental focus.
Kevin VanDam, Denny Brauer, Rick Clunn and David Fritts all have at least one tournament winning technique at which they are expert.
- Denny Brauer is an excellent flipper/pitcher.
- Rick Clunn is the man with a shallow square billed crankbait.
- David Fritts can smoke them on the deep crankbait.
- Then there is Kevin VanDam, who is an artist with a lipless crankbait, spinnerbait, and deep crankbait.
These guys can catch bass using other techniques, but whenever possible, they will look for bass that they can catch using their preferred technique.
It is much easier for these guys to approach a new lake and find catchable bass. They know exactly what they are looking for during each time of the year and under different lake/water conditions in order to make their main/mastered technique work.
If it happens that the main big fish pattern on the lake at the time of the tournament is one of their mastered techniques, then they win the tournament or finish in the top 10. If the main big fish pattern is something other than their mastered technique, then they usually still catch enough fish to get a check using their mastered technique.
It’s only rarely that they have to abandon their mastered technique all together, usually resulting in a below average finish for them in that tournament.
In order to start winning more bass tournaments and having more top 10 finishes, you need to develop a tournament winning technique and become a master at it.
Kevin VanDam, Denny Brauer, Rick Clunn and David Fritts all key on big fish patterns. On any body of water at any given time of the year, there are several bass catching patterns going on. These guys have been able to consistently figure out which bass patterns are the predominate big fish patterns during the time of the bass tournament in which they are competing.
Then whenever possible fit that pattern in with their mastered technique, enabling them to catch tournament winning sacks of bass.
Kevin Van Dam is a master of this strategy. With over 20 plus years of top level tournament experience, he has developed the ability to quickly analyze a lake in order to find the predominate big fish patterns. He then chooses a big fish pattern which best matches one of his mastered techniques; a lipless crankbait, a spinnerbait, or a deep crankbait.
The hard part being over he then spends his practice time looking for areas which meet the criteria for the big fish pattern he has chosen to focus on.
Once the tournament starts he rotates through these areas as quickly and thoroughly as possible.
Sounds easy doesn’t it. The challenge is to be able to quickly identify the predominate big fish patterns on different bodies of water at different times of the year.
Only time on the water, fishing with knowledgeable anglers, reading quality articles, and fishing in bass tournaments will help you in this area.
The final thing which separates Kevin VanDam, Denny Brauer, Rick Clunn and David Fritts from most tournament anglers is their mental focus.
Having fished with all the above anglers during actual tournament competition, I can tell you they are all very focused and driven individuals. During the hours of the tournament they concentrate on catching bass the entire 8 hour period. Whether they have culled bass all day or not had a bite.
They all fished harder in the last hour of the tournament, than in the first hour of the tournament. They did not either give up or get complacent during the tournament hours. They just continued to fish as quickly and thoroughly as possible throughout the day.
If you want to win more bass tournaments, you must keep your mental focus and continue fishing in a ‘workman-like’ manner throughout the entire tournament day.
Today most bass tournaments are won or lost by ounces. Kevin VanDam, Denny Brauer, Rick Clunn and David Fritts make the most of their tournament time, use big fish catching techniques, and focus on big fish patterns. If you want to win more bass tournaments, you will too.
Wayne Hauser is a Touring Professional Bass Angler who is currently fishing on both the FLW Tour and in the BASS Opens. The 2013 season was his first year on the FLW Tour. He has fished the BASS Opens for two years. Wayne has a wealth of knowledge about bass behavior, techniques to catch bass, and how to do well in bass tournaments, which he will share with us in his articles. He is from and currently resides in North Carolina and is married with one son.
Wayne shares more with us in articles on these links below