Mercury’s VanDam is Top Earner in Bass Fishing Series

Angler's career winnings almost $2 million.

February 27th 2006

FOND DU LAC, Wis. — Mercury Pro Angler Kevin VanDam hooked 15 pounds, 7 ounces of bass Sunday to become the most prolific money winner in the
history of the Bass Anglers’ Sportsman Society.

VanDam’s five-fish haul came on the final day of the Bassmaster
Classic, which was held Feb. 24-26 in Kissimmee, Fla. It was the largest
bag of fish on a day of windy, rainy conditions and it vaulted the
Kalamazoo, Mich., angler from 12th place entering the championship round to
fifth in the final tournament standings. The $25,000 he earned bumped his
career earnings to $1,905,308 to edge ahead of the legendary Denny Brauer
by $431.

VanDam won the Classic in 2005 in Pittsburgh, Penn., and in 1991 on
the Mississippi Delta near New Orleans. Although at 38 years old he is
arguably already the greatest bass angler of all time, he said he’s
actually humbled by the achievement of becoming the all-time earnings
leader.

“It’s really quite an honor and it really hasn’t sunk in yet,” VanDam
said. “I got into this sport to compete at the top level and to see just
how good the best in the world really were, and it gave me a tremendous
respect for them.”

As for his place in history, VanDam said he that it’s really not what
drives him to succeed.

“I try to be the ambassador for bass fishing that people would want
me to be, but the bottom line is that I just love to fish and compete,” he
said. “What means more to me is the respect of my peers and the fans.”

The Bassmaster Classic was held on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee.
The event was won by Luke Clausen of Spokane Valley, Wash., who pulled in
15 fish weighing 56 pounds, 2 ounces to beat Mercury Pro Rick Morris of
Lanexa, Va., by 5 pounds, 2 ounces. The big bass of the tournament — and the biggest in Classic history — was an 11 pound, 10 ounce monster caught by Mercury Pro Angler Preston Clark of Palatka, Fla.

Mercury Marine is the official engine sponsor of BASS — the worldwide
authority on bass fishing — and the CITGO Bassmaster Classic.

The Classic field consisted of 51 world-class pros, more than half of
whom are sponsored by Mercury Marine. Seven of the top 10 pros in the final
standings were Mercury Pro Anglers.

Each contestant in the event was issued an identical Triton TR 21X
bass boat powered by a 3.0 liter OptiMax 225 Pro XS, a member of Mercury’s
industry-leading direct-fuel-injected two-stroke family. The boats were also rigged with 36-volt MotorGuide TR109
Digital Sonar Ready trolling motors.