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.
Credit: Tai Power Seeff / Getty Images
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