Mercury angler takes Green Bay Challenge B.A.S.S. Elite event
Jul 02, 2012
Mercury Marine earned another win this weekend at the B.A.S.S. Elite Series event in Green Bay, Wis., courtesy of first-time B.A.S.S. Elite winner Jonathon VanDam.
VanDam, the nephew of seven-time Angler of the Year winner and Mercury pro Kevin VanDam, landed a total of 79 pounds, 2 ounces by tournament’s end – finishing more than two pounds ahead of his closest competition. The 23-year-old and his Mercury Pro XS 250 beat a field of 97 competitors to clinch the $100,000 purse and make him the second-youngest angler to win an Elite Series tournament in B.A.S.S. history.
“It’s definitely an awesome feeling to get that first win,” said VanDam.
During the tournament, VanDam used experience and equipment to his advantage. As a Michigan native, he’s navigated similar waters, which helped him evaluate and prepare for the fishing conditions on Green Bay. In addition, VanDam’s Mercury outboard pulled through as always, keeping him near the top of the leader board from tournament start to finish.
“I can count on my Mercury day-in and day-out. It’s by far the best engine out there, it’s as reliable as it gets” said VanDam.
VanDam, who entered Sunday’s competition in second place and just four ounces out of the lead, was on edge during the final day of fishing.
“I didn’t have my first keeper until about noon,” VanDam said. “I was a train wreck, but I kept grinding, and it paid off.”
That confidence and perseverance led to a final weigh-in of 23 pounds, 4 ounces – earning VanDam the Green Bay Challenge trophy, and appropriately, a cheese head.
Currently, Mercury pro angler Brent Chapman leads the standings with 566 points, just 13 points ahead of fellow Mercury pro Ott DeFoe, who is in second place. Mercury powers six of the top ten in contention for Angler of the Year.