BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- If there was any doubt that Kevin VanDam is the hottest bass fisherman around, it evaporated on Sunday when he won his third Bassmasters Classic.

VanDam, from Kalamazoo, Mich., was the 2009 Bass Angler of the Year. He won the Classic on Lay Lake by 5 pounds on Sunday, weighing in the biggest catch of the third and final day of competition.

A limit that weighed 19 pounds, seven ounces, gave VanDam a 3-day total of 51 pounds, six ounces and the first prize of $500,000.

"I knew (Beeswax) creek would warm-up with the weather, and when it did I knew the bass would turn-on," VanDam said. "I was fishing a Red Eye Shad in the gold color and the Sexy Shad color. The bait would fall and swim down toward the bottom. As it hung-up on grass and stumps, I would jerk it off. That's when the bass would attack."

Oklahoma's Jeff Kriet, who led VanDam by two ounces after Saturday's second round, slipped to second, catching 14-5 on Sunday for a 46-6 total and $45,000. Texas Todd Faircloth had a 12-5 limit on Sunday for 44-3, third place and $40,000.

Rounding out the top five were local favorite Russ Lane of Alabama with 18-1 for 43-12 and $35,000, and Kansan Brent Chapman with 16-12 Sunday for 37-14 and $25,000.

Lane had the biggest fish on Sunday, a 6-2 lunker.