It’s hard to tell who exactly was the star of the 2011 Bassmaster Classic.
Was it Kevin VanDam, the now four-time Classic winner, who threw 69 pounds of bass on the scales to crush the dreams of 49 other anglers?
Or was it the Lake Cataouatche Tank Pond, a non-descript rectangle of shallow water that delivered lunker after lunker for each of the top three finishers?
“If you could design an optimal lake for bass, that would be it,” said second-place finisher Aaron Martens, who finished with a day-three sack of 24-14. “It’s got stumps, hydrilla, bait. It’s just a bass factory.”
VanDam used his legendary skills to narrow the pattern in the area, and set an all-time Bassmaster Classic record with 69-11 for the tournament. He beat Martens by more than 10 pounds.
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The Kalamazoo, Mich., angler said he won the tournament on day two when a change he observed in the fishing pattern on day one began to get solidified. On day one, he had all of his success on a 3/8-ounce spinnerbait fished very slowly.
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“Two hours into day one, I saw the change begin to happen,” he said. “Aaron and I pulled up the first morning in the fog, and had the area pretty lined up. Aaron caught two 4-pounders back to back right off the bat. The fish were just crushing the spinnerbait. They wanted the bait real slow.