Bobby Lane spoke with us with only one day of practice left before the Super Bowl of bass fishing. And believe me when I say, he is all in!
The Lane family name carries a lot of weight on the Elite Circuit. Bobby was spurned on by brother Chris‘ early success, and the family rivalry continues to this day. Whether on the golf course, or fishing at the highest competitive level, these two are always getting after it to win.
At 41 years old, the former landscape contractor will be embarking on his ninth Bassmaster Classic. The husband and father of three looks to take home the biggest prize in fishing when this week winds up. Here are his thoughts on fishing, golf, the conditions of this year’s tournament, and the funny yet believable reason he thinks he will win the Bassmaster Classic.
Wide Open Spaces: When was the first time you remember being around fishing on a regular basis?
Bobby Lane: I’m not sure how old I was, but being down at the cabin with my dad and brothers, I always remember he would fillet the fish and we would always be around for that. It was down the south end of Kissimmee where dad used to fish and we loved it down there playing around with the fillets.
When was the first time you remember wanting to change professions and join the ranks of the best anglers in the world?
There was a tournament down in the Mobile Delta, the Everstart Championship, I think I finished second or third. I made $10,000 and that’s when I decided to make the move. Today, that doesn’t seem like a lotta money, but back then, it sure felt like a lot. I owned a landscape company and I knew how hard I had to work to make that amount, and I did it in a single weekend.
Do you have any role models in fishing, anyone you look up to?
My brother Chris. For being the champ in 2012. Gave me a lot of hope and built our careers back then. His win benefited me, and he has won a couple of Elites since. From where he came from several years ago, I couldn’t be any prouder of him.
The Lane brothers are highly revered. How does it feel to know that your family has made a mark on bass fishing at the highest level?
It means everything to us. We both run our own kids tournament. With my dad never missing a phone call before any event, regardless of what time it was, it shows you how strong family can be. I had a text that came in from a young kid’s mom after he participated in one of our tournaments, it brought a tear to my eye what she said. Little things like that keep you going. It says a lot about what the Lanes represent in the sport of fishing. Blood is thicker than water, and my family draws strength from within.
I know you like to play golf, and the occasional card game. What’s your golf handicap?
I’m a solid 8 to 10. I enjoy the game. I can shoot between the mid 70s to the upper 80s. I can make some birdies but I can make some double bogies too. I really enjoy the game.
Do you have a favorite golf course?
I would have to say Grasslands down there in Florida. I played in a tournament there this winter with Andy Bean and we came in second. I love the golf course there though, and Andy was a great guy to be with. My brother Chris and I have made a pact that were going to start playing every Sunday before these Elite Series events. It helps us relax and gets us in the right mood.
When it comes to playing cards, Gin or Poker?
I play a lot of Gin 13 with my dad but we also have a lot of poker games too.
In 2008 you were Rookie of the Year, and in your first classic you came in fourth. You took the stage with a bang. How does that affect the way you view this tournament?
It gave me a lot of confidence. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. I was rookie of the year, and came in and had a great Classic. Finishing fourth in that Classic lit a fire under me and that fire really has never been put out. I’m as hungry for success out there as I have ever been.
What do you think of the site of this year’s Classic?
Well, I have only fished there in one other tournament. That was the 2013 Classic. This place is shaping up to host a good Classic. I love the venue, I love the idea that last time we were here it was clear and cold. This time it’s muddy. So it sets up good for a shallow water guy like myself being muddy and a little bit warm.
Tomorrow will be the last practice day. How many hours will you spend on the water?
I think they will let us go at 6:30 and I have to be in at 3:15 and you can’t be late to check in or they will penalize you with a late takeoff Friday. I want to learn a lot tomorrow now that it’s gotten a bit cooler. The next few days it’s going to be cooler and then the final day it will be more spring-like with temps warming.
How would you rate your confidence level going into this event?
110 percent. I am confident. I love fishing Classics. I realize it’s a no points event, I know its a swing for the fences type of deal. You have to get to the third day to win the tournament, but you still have to let loose and run a bit with this one. You still have to make smart decisions that give yourself the best chance to win. I am hoping this year things roll our way.
What kind of conditions would you have liked to see?
I would have loved to see the water level a bit higher. The way it’s setting up muddy with temperatures rising, I would have liked to see a two- to four-foot higher water level. They had a huge flood here and it was 16 feet high here at one point so they have let a lot of water out of the lake.
Why will you win this year’s Bassmaster Classic?
The reason I will win is easy. The Classic ends on my birthday, March 6th. My soccer number was lucky number 9. Its my ninth classic and it ends on my birthday. My odds are better than anybody as far as I see it!
Bobby Lane grew up in a family rich in angling traditions. Along with his brother, he has taken those traditions to the highest level of championship fishing.
His love of fishing and family, coupled with how he feels the conditions are shaking out, are more than enough to believe he may be the last man standing. Of course, if your lucky number is 9 and its your ninth Classic and it ends on your birthday…you don’t really need much more to come together.