VanDam Charges to Lewisville Elite 50 Victory
LEWISVILLE, Texas — There are great weeks and then there are weeks like the one Kevin VanDam just had. The Kalamazoo Kid dominated the Lake Lewisville Bassmaster Elite 50 in every facet of competition, starting off the tournament on Wednesday by catching a new lake record largemouth bass weighing 11 pounds, 13 ounces.
The 2001 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champ finished the week in grand fashion, bringing in a fourth consecutive limit, this one weighing 10 pounds, 4 ounces and good enough to best Missouri's Brian Snowden by a pound and 12 ounces. VanDam, whose two-day total was 18-4, takes home a $100,000 paycheck for his efforts.
"To tell you the truth, I didn't fish my best tournament," the three-time CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year continued. "Sometimes everything comes together and, luckily for me, a few great fishermen stumbled today."
On an extremely windy and tough day, VanDam was the only angler to bag a limit. His catch was the best of the day and will earn him $1,000 as the Busch Heavyweight. Today he threw a 3/8-ounce Strike King bleeding bait series spinnerbait in chartreuse and white.
"The key to that spinnerbait's success was a No. 6 Indiana blade," VanDam said. "I messed around with a few others, but I put that Indiana blade on, and it made a world of difference."
VanDam caught bass in every hole, starting in No. 4 — his favorite on the six-hole course. Although he has a knack for fishing fast and furious, once he found a productive spot, he forced himself to slow down and work it over thoroughly.
"I like to fish fast and cover a lot of water," VanDam said. "Today, if you found a good spot, you had to slow down and fish the heck out of it to be successful."
VanDam continued to build on his Elite 50 success with the win. He's made the semifinal cut in all seven Elite 50 events in BASS history, but finally broke through with his first win in the format.
"If you keep knocking on the door, someone is bound to answer." VanDam said.
VanDam not only cashes the big check with his win, but the victory moves him into the top spot of the 2005 Bassmaster Elite 50 standings with 865 points.
Just missing out on his first BASS victory was Brian Snowden. Although he only caught two keeper bass on the final day, his two-day total of 17-0 was second best for the event.
"I'm satisfied with a strong finish like second place," Snowden said. "You still always want to win though."
Snowden caught his two fish on a 4-inch black neon Yum tube. The Missouri pro hopes to build momentum going into the final Elite 50 event at Lake Wissota in Chippewa Falls, Wis. (June 15-18). Included in his solid finish was a 3-3 largemouth for which Snowden will receive Purolator Big Bass honors and $1,000.
Snowden was able to jump into second place due to a disappointing day by Friday's leader, Michael Iaconelli. Ike caught just three fish tipping the scales at 3-9 and giving him a two-day total of 16-6.
"You have to be consistent when you're fishing against these guys," the 2003 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champ said. "I didn't catch a limit today and you can't do that on the final day and expect to win."
Iaconelli's third-place finish at Lewisville means that he's in second place of the Elite 50 points standings, just a point behind VanDam. The top 10 in the Elite 50 points for the season will qualify for both the 2005 and 2006 Bassmaster Classics.
Rounding out the top six are 1983 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champ Larry Nixon (9-5), Oklahoma's Edwin Evers (7-15) and Alabama's Randy Howell (5-11).
Part one of the Bassmaster Elite 50 Series event on Lake Lewisville will be telecast on The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2. Part two will air on Saturday June 18 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite 50 Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).
Local Sponsors include the Lewisville Visitors Bureau.
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