February 20, 2011
Kevin VanDam busts records as he claims 4th Bassmaster
NEW ORLEANS — The number four, how sweet it is — for Kevin
VanDam, that is. Arguably the world’s best bass angler, the
Kalamazoo, Mich., pro claimed his fourth Bassmaster Classic win
But for Aaron Martens, the number four isn’t so tasty. While
VanDam’s win tied him with Rick Clunn’s 11-year-old record of
four Classic trophies, Martens was left with the runner-up spot
for the fourth time. The sting for Martens was the repeat of his
second-place finish to VanDam in the 2005 Classic.
VanDam shook up a stack of Classic records on Sunday. Besides
tying Clunn at four, he shattered a five-year-old Classic weight
record when he brought 69 pounds, 11 ounces of Louisiana Delta
bass to the scales over three days. The previous three-day,
five-bass-limit mark was 56-2 by Luke Clausen in the 2006
Classic on a Florida bass factory, Lake Tohopekaliga.
Other new milestones for VanDam are a record 20 Bassmaster event
wins, and crossing the $5 million line in B.A.S.S. winnings,
thanks to the big bump provided by his $500,000 win Sunday in
New Orleans. He remains the circuit’s top all-time money winner.
He also now shares Clunn’s claim as the only angler to take
back-to-back Classic wins; Clunn did it in 1976-1977, VanDam in
2010-2011. To top off the superlatives list, VanDam now has
twice held the sport’s top two titles concurrently: Classic
champ while being the reigning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler
of the Year.
“The last few years have been really magical for me. It’s been
incredible,” VanDam said on stage as he hugged the trophy.
Martens, who led on the first day but fell to third on the
second day, pulled back up to post a 59-0 total for the
second-place finish. But after it was all over, he said he was
OK with the bridesmaid role once again.
“This is the easiest second place I’ve ever had,” said the pro
from Leeds, Ala. “If it had been closer, it would have been
different. But it was obvious after yesterday (Day 2) he was
probably going to do it. No stress, no remorse. I’m very happy I
VanDam and Martens have a friendly relationship. They even posed
together with the trophy during a press conference.
Claiming third place was Derek Remitz of Grant, Ala., who
finished with 56-8 on the strength of his final-day catch of
26-5. His big bass of 8 pounds, 4 ounces, was a sample of the
prolific spot he shared on the Delta’s Lake Cataouatche with
VanDam and Martens, among others.
“It felt like I hit a big ball of grass,” Remitz said. “I leaned
into it a little bit and felt it start moving. I thought, ‘Oh,
boy, I think this is a big one.’ Then he came up — and from
thereon, I can’t say what I said.”
Remitz said the fish fell to a Lucky Craft RC 1.5 in a bream
Martens described the area they shared as a “bass factory” that
he worked mainly with a square-billed crankbait and 3/8-ounce
Vibe spinnerbait made by Davis Bait Co.
VanDam was using a Strike King KVD 1.5 crankbait, Quantum KVD
Tour crankbait rod and 20-pound Bass Pro Shops brand
A key to his win, he said, was being “dialed-in” on what was
going on in the spot the leaders shared over the three days. He
also made a crucial adjustment from a spinnerbait to his
“The thing that probably helped me more than anything, what won
this tournament for me, was the experiences I’ve had in the past
in knowing how the fish react to these types of extreme weather
changes, the time of the year with the full moon.”
Two days of long fog delays did not give most anglers time to
demonstrate what they could do on the Louisiana Delta. The
longer third day was a truer indication of their abilities and
of the fishery’s health. Boyd Duckett, who finished sixth with
53-2, hauled in 28 pounds, 13 ounces the final day. VanDam had
28-0 on Day 3, Remitz 26-05, and Martens 25-14.
“Boy, what a day, what a week,” VanDam said.
2011 Bassmaster Classic local hosts: Louisiana Office of
Tourism, Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation
2011 Bassmaster Classic Official Sponsors: Toyota Trucks,
Berkley, Bass Pro Shops, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird,
Mercury, Minn Kota, Skeeter, Triton, Yamaha
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