"One of the great things about my job is that it allows me to experience a lot of great fishing on a lot of great lakes," says Kevin VanDam, offering up one of the great understatements of sporting history. The reigning Bassmaster Angler of the Year, KVD (as he's known to fans of fishing) is like the Tiger Woods of Bass catching; from his 247 Bassmaster tournaments, he's the winningest pro bass fisher, snagging some $6,000,000 in purses. In a recent chat, he gave us the inside scoop on his favorite spots across the country for finding monster-sized bass (and a few tips for actually catching them). Launch Gallery >>
Clear Lake, California
California became the big bass state and an international fishing destination after Mac Weakley famously caught his controversial 25-pound, world-record-trouncing largemouth in 2006. But VanDam ignores the hype of So-Cal and instead prefers to head to Clear Lake, just north of San Francisco. "The lakes in Southern California are great and have big bass in them, but the lakes are small and crowded – they're not really lakes, they're more like big ponds," says VanDam. Situated right outside of the California Delta, Clear Lake didn't get it's name by mistake. It's a big body of water that is crystal clear. "It's surrounded by mountains and is just a beautiful setting. There is also a great chance for you to catch 10-pound largemouth," says VanDam. Being situated a little more than an hour away from wine-soaked Napa means you can pair your catch of the day with a buttery local Chardonnay.
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