Mercury Angler claims Bassmaster Classic championship

Feb 27, 2012

Mercury Marine angler Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala., hauled in a three-day total of 51 pounds, six ounces to claim the championship title and $500,000 Sunday at the 42nd annual Bassmaster Classic on Louisiana's famed Red River.

Lane, 36, nearly doubled his career earnings with the hefty winner's purse. He weighed in three pounds, seven ounces more bass than runner-up Greg Vinson over the tournament, ending a nail-biting fight to the finish. Vinson, who finished second after each of the three days of competition, finished with 47 pounds, 15 ounces.

"I drive a Legend boat with a Mercury 250 Pro XS engine," said Lane, "and I came back upriver two miles per hour faster than I went downriver. I don't know how that's possible, but it happened. I was just glad to have that kind of power."

Four-time Bassmaster Champion Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., finished 11th despite strong performances the final two days. VanDam, also a Mercury-sponsored bass angler, has earned seven Angler of the Year titles and was trying for his third-consecutive and fifth-overall Classic championship. His four Bassmaster titles are tied for the most ever.

Lane fueled his Sunday effort by landing a six-pound, 10-ounce largemouth bass around 11 a.m., only his second fish of the day. It was the biggest fish caught Sunday.

Lane said maintaining his original strategy was key to his win.

"Decision making had a lot to do with the outcome," he said. "I stuck to my game plan, stayed focused and kept doing what I knew I had to do."

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