BOBBY LANE REMEMBERS ‘ONE THAT GOT AWAY’ AS HE HEADS TO 2018 BASSMASTER CLASSIC®
One Lost Fish May Have Cost 2015 Win for Yamaha Pro
Bobby Lane admits he still remembers a bass he lost on the first day of the 2015 Bassmaster Classic® that might have cost him a win in the event, but the Yamaha Pro likes his chances even more as he heads into this year’s Classic,® to be held March 16–18 at Lake Hartwell near Greenville, SC.
“That Classic® was held in mid-February,” notes Lane, “and this year we’re going there a full month later. They’ve had some warm weather, so hopefully when we get on the water the bass will be completely out of their winter pattern and into their pre-spawn pattern.
“Being from Florida, I’m naturally more comfortable fishing that type of early spring pattern. I think the bite will be better all-around for everybody.”
Lane never saw the bass that came loose, since it hit in 42 feet of water, but his previous fish moments earlier had weighed more than three pounds, and the lost fish felt equally as heavy. He finished second by just over three pounds.
“I’m going into this Classic® with more of an open mind, primarily because nothing I did at Lake Hartwell in 2015 may be applicable,” continues Lane, who recently won this season’s first tournament, a Bassmaster® Open on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Florida. “I believe the practice days will be critically important.
I’ll start where I have fished in the past, but I’ll be putting more emphasis on where the fish might be going as they move toward shallow water. Hartwell has hundreds of coves and pockets available to the bass, but I’ve been around the quality of fish I need to win before, so in that regard I feel confident.”
Lure-wise, the Yamaha Pro plans to have a variety of baits tied on and ready to use as he begins his first practice day. They include not only the same crankbaits and jigs he used in 2015, but also one or more dropshots in case the fish are still deep. Right now, however, he feels the Classic® will be won in water less than 10 feet deep.
“I really want it to be a pre-spawn style of tournament, rather than a winter-style pattern,” he says. “In 2015, after losing that bass the first day and weighing in only 10 pounds, 10 ounces, I brought in 17-4 the second day and 19-1 the final day, so we all know how productive Hartwell can be, even in winter conditions.
“If the bass are in a pre-spawn condition, they’ll weigh even more, and more of the contestants will catch them. That could mean the whole tournament boils down to who catches just one or two big bass during the week, and I like that.”
Lane, of course, has a history of catching big bass in tough tournaments, and many of his fellow pros still refer to him as “Big Fish Bobby Lane.” During the frigidly cold 2015 Classic,® he brought in a 6 lb.-10 oz. largemouth, one of the largest of the tournament.
Lane did not spend time in December looking over the 56,000-acre reservoir before it went off limits, primarily because he’s been on Hartwell five times previously and feels comfortable on the lake. Because Hartwell is not filled with vegetation, the only major factors that interest him are the water level and water temperature.
As the Classic® gets closer, he’ll pay more attention to both, since they’ll help tell him where bass are likely to be.
“Of course, it hurts to lose an event, especially a tournament as important as the Bassmaster Classic,®” concludes the Yamaha Pro, “but right now, especially after winning the Bassmaster® Open just a few weeks ago, I’m feeling very good about my fishing, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Lake Hartwell has to offer.”