Master angler lands top honors again

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Mercury’s Kevin VanDam won the 2011 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title — his seventh such honor — and Ott DeFoe topped the Rookie of the Year standings to cap another spectacular regular season for Mercury-sponsored anglers on the B.A.S.S. Elite Trail.

The two anglers secured their titles Sunday at the conclusion of the regular season finale held on Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala.

VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., continued his Elite Trail domination by winning a record-setting fourth consecutive Bassmaster Angler of the Year title – surpassing legendary angler Roland Martin’s previous-best three consecutive Angler of the Year titles. VanDam also became the first angler to take both the Angler of the Year and Bassmaster Classic titles in two consecutive years.

VanDam finished with 2,026 points in the Angler of the Year standings – 153 ahead of runner up Edwin Evers, who finished with 1,873. Evers, also sponsored by Mercury, has finished second to VanDam the last two seasons.

VanDam now owns seven Angler of the Year titles to go accompany his four Bassmaster Classic championships. He’s qualified for 22 consecutive Bassmaster Classic titles – including 2012 – and has 94 top 10 B.A.S.S. finishes.

DeFoe, 25, clinched the B.A.S.S. Rookie of the Year title after finishing fifth at Wheeler Lake. DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., concluded the 2011 regular season with 1,820 points in the Angler of the Year standings – good for fourth place. He recorded two top 12 finishes in his rookie season and qualified for the 2012 Bassmaster Classic.

Mercury anglers took four of the top five spots and six of the top 10 in the 2011 Angler of the Year standings.