Chris Lane talks about the keys to winning the Bassmaster Classic.
I recently had the unique opportunity to catch up with 2012 Bassmaster Classic winner and professional angler Chris Lane. We discussed some of his most memorable moments on the trail as well as the way he approaches one of the biggest national tournaments, the Bassmaster Classic, this time of year.
Chris Lane began his career in 2000, quickly rising to the top. In 2011, Lane had three top 12 finishes and finished 12th overall and in 2012, highlighted his career by winning the Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport, Louisiana on the Red River.
Lane moved to Guntersville, Alabama, and started hosting Reeling in Future Pros, which is an annual kids fishing camp that will be in its ninth year in 2016.
I asked Lane a series of questions, and his professionalism was indicative by answers.
Wide Open Spaces: How do you approach a new body of water?
Chris Lane: You really have to take all the elements around you into account – weather, water clarity, water color, time of year, water temperature, etc. There are so many of nature’s variables you have to put into perspective first before you even get out on the water.
How do you remain confident in certain baits/lures when fishing in different locations?
You have to go with your confidence bait, because it’s proven to you that it catches fish in those situations, so if you’re not getting a bite and you switch off and you’re still not getting a bite, you go back to your confidence bait and say they’re just not biting, or I haven’t found them yet and keep going.
As we come to this time of year, what are some of your favorite spring approaches?
It’s different all over the country which is the neat thing about spring time. You have to put each day and each hour into perspective. Let’s use Lake Guntersville as an example. That water is 46 degrees in the morning and if you’re throwing a jerkbait in 8-10 feet of water, you have a good chance to catch some good fish. Let’s say the sun comes up and it hits 70 degrees and that water goes up to 52 degrees in the shallows; you take a lipless crank bait and just start hammering them! My spring approach can vary from a couple of hours. The biggest thing with spring is temperature.
When things aren’t working as you plan (fish aren’t biting, lures aren’t working) how do you adapt?
You sit down, take a bite to eat, and think about it. I’ll be the first to say, professional bass fisherman don’t always catch fish. You have to suck it up and eliminate everything you can to come up with the best approach and that only comes from the experience of that situation. For instance, in dirty water if you’re favorite watermelon seed isn’t working, do you have to put on a red-bladed spinnerbait? You kind of have to go off the wall a little bit and say this isn’t my confidence, but nothing is working and you have to go through things until you find something that is going to give you a good opportunity.
With the Classic coming up, how do you keep focused and composed during such a big tournament?
Well it comes with experience and I’ll give you a perfect example of where I’m going right now in Grand Lake trying to defend my title there in 2013. I think I lost focused. I didn’t catch a fish the first day. I lost focus of what I needed to do. I lost focus of what my job was. Learning from pressured situations via whatever it may be, defending a title, media, fishing a home lake. There’s a lot of people getting a lot of attention that will be able to handle the pressure and won’t be able to handle the pressure.
Which memory stands out most from previous Bassmaster Classic Tournaments?
Probably my brother coming out on stage when I won in 2012 was probably one of the most memorable ones, and when me and my brother made the Classic for the first time in 2008.
What is your advice for aspiring fisherman who want to go to the Classic and be where you are today?
You got to believe and have confidence in yourself. Time on the water cannot be substituted for anything else. Technology cannot replace experience.
Has digital streaming affected you while you’re on the water? How does that change the culture of bass fishing?
People can watch it live. That’s the bottom line. It doesn’t change the mentality of it, but if you screw it up the whole world is going to see it. That’s in the back of your mind a little bit, but with experience it helps balance that. I think as a bass fisherman we have a responsibility for the rest of the world to see it.
What do you plan on doing with your winnings?
Wow! First and foremost give to the church, pay taxes, get my kids a Maui mat, and I have to get my wife a paddle board.
It was great getting to talk with Chris Lane and best of luck to him on his upcoming Bassmaster Classic Tournament at Grand Lake in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 4-6.
Images via Power Pole/Chris Lane