Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan
Not surprisingly for someone whose career of choice takes him from shore to shore and every body of water in between, VanDam barely ventures out of his native Kalamazoo when he's officially on holiday. "Grand Traverse Bay is where I go for vacation," says VanDam, located off artsy Traverse City on the shore of Lake Michigan. "The water is the clearest water you will ever see, clearer than the Caribbean." VanDam says that peak fishing is June through September, especially for trout and salmon, but for reeling in bass, the smallmouth bite all-year-round. A growing popular trend to make Traverse feel even more like the Caribbean are anglers who wade the clear waters, flyfishing for carp, just as they would for bonefish in more tropical settings. And adding to the appeal of this already alluring spot are a bunch of great inland lakes nearby for a change of pace. "It's just one of my favorite places to fish," says VanDam.