PITTSBURGH When the 35th edition of the Bassmaster Classic ended, a pair of highly accomplished pros found themselves in very familiar positions.
Michigan's Kevin VanDam brought a five-bass limit to the scales that weighed 4 pounds, 13 ounces. The limit rare for the 2005 Classic, which established an all-time record low final weight was enough to overtake second-round leader Aaron Martens by a scant 6 ounces.
VanDam's three-day total of 12-15 enabled the three-time Bassmaster Angler of the Year to add a second coveted Classic trophy to his mantel in Kalamazoo.
Unfortunately for Martens, it marked the third time in four years he has settled for the runner-up position in fishing's most important title.
His total of 12-9 proved insufficient, as he failed to become just the second reigning Bassmaster Angler of the Year to win the Classic in the same season. The only angler to do so was Mark Davis of Mt. Ida, Ark., in 1995.
"It's certainly a dream come true," said VanDam, who also owns the 2001 Classic crown. "I had no idea today that I was going to win this one. It was so tough out there.
"I missed so many opportunities and made so many mistakes. I thought I was going to be crying all the way home."
• VanDam's success came on a 20-year-old lure he first started catching bass on during his teen-age years. It is a chrome-colored, Smithwick Rogue jerkbait that he fished on Bass Pro Shops' fluorocarbon line and spinning tackle.
• With the victory, VanDam earned the dubious distinction of owning the
smallest winning total in Classic history. The previous record was 15-5 in 1987 on the Ohio River, held by George Cochran
• VanDam's Classic victory was his third BASS tournament win in a row. The only other angler to accomplish the feat of winning three consecutive tournaments in BASS history is Roland Martin.
• The lightest big bass in Classic history was established on Day Two
of the 2005 Classic.Oklahoma's Jeff Reynolds hauled in a one pound, 15 ounce bass that broke the previous record. On the final day, Edwin Evers matched Reynold's bass and tied the record of one pound, 15 ounces.
Top 6 finishers
1. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, Mich. 12-15
2. Aaron Martens Leeds, Ala. 12-09
3. Gerald Swindle Hayden, Ala. 11-13
4. George Cochran Hot Springs, Ark. 11-10
5. Michael Iaconelli Runnemede, N.J. 11-05