BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — If several hundred spectators hadn’t been there to witness it firsthand, both from the water and from the bank, it would be hard to believe how easily Kevin VanDam won his third Bassmaster Classic crown this week at Alabama’s Lay Lake.
In an era when increasingly specialized electronics and 70-plus mph boats are considered indispensable on the Bassmaster Elite Series, the simple fact is that VanDam probably could have won this tournament out of a jon boat with a 9.9 horsepower outboard.
He mined a large spawning flat in the back of Beeswax Creek for three days and delivered three limits that cumulatively weighed 51 pounds, 6 ounces to outlast Jeff Kriet, Todd Faircloth, Russ Lane and 47 others to take home the trophy to an increasingly crowded mantle.
“Well, this was a challenging week weatherwise. I’ve had a lot of success in Alabama over the years,” VanDam said of his seventh Classic in the state. “It’s always alluded me. I love fishing these lakes.”
VanDam was also appreciative of the fishing-savvy fans in the state, saying the throngs of spectators gave him room to win.