- Mike Suchan, Outdoors
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Again, our readers have the experts scratching their heads.
With almost half of all votes, the Southeast ran away with ESPNOutdoors.com's Who's Got Game? readers' poll on which region has the best overall bass fishing.
Of 638 votes cast, 315, or 49 percent, went to the Southeast. Three-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam, who also disagreed with voters as to the best largemouth region, says he'd stay north near his Kalamazoo, Mich., home to fish the bass waters in the North.
"It's in the North, by far," VanDam says. "I fished everywhere and we can't fish in the winter, but from early spring and until the ice goes on in the fall, we catch them big time, large and small, quantity and quality."
Both chosen by 13 percent of voters, the Midwest (86) and Northeast (84) were third separated by two votes. The Southwest, which VanDam espoused as having the best largemouth fishing with Texas' great fisheries as his decisive factors, garnered 16 percent (103 votes) to finish second to the Southeast, while the West had only 50 votes for 8 percent.
While KVD says the Southeast's greater number of bass anglers most likely skewed the vote totals, the North, once bass season is open, gives fishermen the greatest chance to haul in great numbers of quality fish.
"The heat in the South makes for tough summer fishing. How good is it in Texas in August?" VanDam says. "Anywhere in the south, how many 50 fish days do you do have?"
Even Texas voted the Southeast as having the best overall bass fishing over the Southwest, with 54 percent to 38 percent. The Southeast voted mainly for itself while Midwesterners in North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri and Oklahoma picked themselves.
The Northeast had New York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Massachusetts and Delaware vote for itself, and California, Washingon and Utah voted as a block for the West.
Trip Weldon, BASS tournament director and former competitive angler, said the difficult conditions in the summertime heat made him look northward as well.
"In the south, in the summertime, if you have 20 fish, you've had a banner day," he says. "The northern lakes are hard to beat. For me, if I was to set up a trip, I would go up north in the summertime.
"And if I had the time, I would go to California."
Overall bass results:
Northeast 13 percent (84 votes) = 13 points
Midwest 13 percent (86 votes) = 13 points
Southeast 49 percent (315 votes) = 49 points
West 8 percent (50 votes) = 8 points
Southwest 16 percent (103 votes) = 16 points
Northeast 8 percent (64 votes) = 8 points
Midwest 10 percent (81 votes) = 10 points
Southeast 54 percent (435 votes) = 54 points
West 13 percent (105 votes) = 13 points
Southwest 15 percent (120 votes) =13 points
Northeast wins smallmouth:
Northeast 39 percent (328 votes) = 39 points
Midwest 26 percent (219 votes) = 26 points
Southeast 23 percent (195 votes) = 23 points
West 6 percent (51 votes) = 6 points
Southwest 5 percent (42 votes) = 5 points
Northeast 60 points
Midwest 49 points
Southeast 126 points
West 27 points
Southwest 34 points