From The Associated Press via Battle Creek Enquirer
Kevin VanDam further cemented his legacy as the world's top angler after capturing his third career Bassmaster Classic title on Sunday.
VanDam, who takes home the $500,000 winner's check, finished with 51-pounds, 6-ounces of Lay Lake bass. Jeff Kriet finished second with 46-pounds, 6-ounces and Todd Faircloth took third with 44-pounds, 3-ounces.
VanDam, who won his fifth Bassmaster Angler of the Year award last year, had a catch of 19-pounds, 7-ounces Sunday to close out the three-day tournament, considered the premier fishing event of the year.
"This was a challenging week weather-wise," VanDam said. "I've had a lot of success in Alabama over the years in tournaments, but a win has always eluded me."
After Day 1, VanDam held the lead with five fish (the limit) weighing in at 19-pounds, 8-ounces.
Kriet, who finished the first day with 16-pounds, 7-ounces, took over the overall lead after Day 2, edging VanDam by two ounces.
Kriet closed out the tournament with 14-pounds, 5-ounces on Sunday.
Lay Lake, located near Birmingham, Ala., is a long, narrow 12,000 acre reservoir. Despite its size, VanDam spent the entire three days fishing a spawning flat located near the tournament's boat launch in an area called Beeswax Creek. Both Kriet and Faircloth focused their efforts in the same area.
VanDam last captured the Bassmaster Classic title in 2005. Lay Lake hosted the event in 2007, where VanDam finished third. Only Rick Clunn has more Classic title, with four.
Last year's winner, Skeet Reese, had a rough tournament, netting only three fish and not making it to the third day of fishing.