The way VanDam sees it, if you're fishing a tournament on Kentucky Lake, you already know you're going to need a 5-fish tally of 20 to 25 pounds to win. As you might infer from its name, this thin, long lake starts in Kentucky, but then flows into Tennessee and is situated off the Tennessee River (like one of VanDam's other favorite, Lake Guntersville). "Kentucky Lake is an unbelievable place to fish in the spring and summer, says VanDam. "It has a healthy largemouth bass population and big smallmouth, and is just a fish factory,"  His Kentucky-specific tactic is to use a deep-water crankbait and work the ledges to find big bass. It's a time-tested technique, put to use most dramatically during VanDam's 2008 Bassmaster Elite Series tournament win there, when he netted a lot of bass on the way to earning a tidy $112,000 payday.

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