Ultimate Bass

Bobby Lane extends his lead

Throughout two competition days, Bobby Lane has taken it fairly easy on Kentucky Lake, and it’s debatable as to whether the Lakeland, Fla., pro has broken a sweat. But don’t let that fool you. Lane, with 54 pounds, 7 ounces after Day Two on Thursday, has employed a cunning strategy…

PARIS, Tenn. – Throughout two competition days, Bobby Lane has taken it fairly easy on Kentucky Lake, and it’s debatable as to whether the Lakeland, Fla., pro has broken a sweat. But don’t let that fool you. Lane, with 54 pounds, 7 ounces after Day Two on Thursday, has employed a cunning strategy at the SpongeTech Tennessee Triumph, managing a “special” spot for a fraction of his day while employing a tight defense as he leads the field heading into the final two days of competition at the sixth regular-season Bassmaster Elite Series event.

Thursday was a perfect illustration of Lane’s dilemma. He boated all of his weight – a limit of 24 pounds, 9 ounces – in his first eight casts. After that, Lane made a two-pronged decision that he hoped would pay off twofold. First, he protected his spot from other competitors, and second, he gambled on preserving the area so that he could make it a factor throughout Saturday’s final day.

The 35-year-old estimated he has fished the prime spot for less than 1 ½ hours in the past two days, leaving more than 15 hours on the table. Could the decision backfire? Certainly, but Lane, in his second Elite season, was confident after Thursday’s competition that he had made the correct decision.

“Obviously, I’m fortunate to have found this spot,” said Lane, who was 31st in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings heading into this event. “It’s all about fish management though, and I’m just dying to get to the last day so I can fully exploit the area. Someone could probably come out of nowhere and knock me out of the lead, but I know this is for the best.”

Fishing fans can catch all of the on-the-water action from the Tennessee Triumph on The Bassmasters, which airs Saturday, June 13, at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN2. The daily weigh-ins for all regular-season Elite events and the two postseason events will air live on ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, while a wealth of unique content will also be available at Bassmaster.com.

On Wednesday, Lane was lamenting past tournaments he had here and some unfortunate luck, but by Thursday, he was poised for his first BASS win. While he has kept quiet on the specifics of his pattern, Lane did say that he has been landing fish on a variety of baits. The two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier also said he noticed a fundamental change with his area Thursday.

The forage in the area seemed to be getting bigger and Lane said he would make the adjustment to increase the size of his baits. While Lane does have two other spots he believes could yield quality fish, he has not checked on them during the tournament and said he would rely on them only as a last resort.

So for the leader, it’s sink or swim with strategy.

“Today, I saw a school of about 100 bass that were all in the 4- to 5-pound range,” Lane said. “They were just wrecking anything that you threw out there. I’m not sure why this area is special, but it certainly is.”

While Lane has had an impressive two days, his advantage – just more than 4 pounds – is certainly not insurmountable. Especially when four-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam is breathing down Lane’s neck.

VanDam, with a two-day total of 50 pounds, 4 ounces, tapered off a bit Thursday but was very upbeat after weighing in.

“I feel really good,” said VanDam, a two-time Bassmaster Classic champion. “Like Bobby, I really managed my fish today. Perhaps I shouldn’t have laid off so much, but Friday I’m going to really get on them.”

VanDam continued to work his customary pattern, a Strike King crankbait in sexy shad color, to small, precise areas. While VanDam continues to notch top finishes, he can’t seem to shake 2009 Bassmaster Classic champion Skeet Reese in the Angler of the Year standings.

Reese is right behind VanDam at Kentucky, in third with 48 pounds, 9 ounces. The two are also connected in the AOY race as VanDam holds a scant lead over Reese. With this and two more regular-season events remaining, the two will continue to duel heading into the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason, the Toyota Trucks Championship Week, which will be played out Sept. 10-18 on Alabama’s Lake Jordan and Alabama River featuring the top 12 anglers in the AOY standings.

Rounding out the top five at Kentucky Lake was Jeff Kriet of Ardmore, Okla., in fourth with 48-5, and dropping one place to fifth was Russ Lane of Prattville, Ala., with 47-4.

After Thursday, the field was cut to the top 50 anglers. Notables who advanced to Day Three included 2006 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Mike Iaconelli (16th), Guntersville Elite champion Aaron Martens (17th) and Guy Eaker of Cherryville, N.C. (33rd). Full standings can be found below. Only the top 12 will go on to compete in Saturday’s Day Four.

Kentucky Lake has hosted 10 previous BASS events. Straddling the Kentucky-Tennessee border, Kentucky Lake is 185 miles in length, with 160,000 surface acres and 2,380 miles of shoreline. Lake Barkley, a navigable canal, adds another 80,000 surface acres.

In the 2008 event on Kentucky Lake, VanDam totaled 84 pounds, 13 ounces, courtesy of a variety of lures, including jigs, spinnerbaits and crankbaits. His most productive lure was what would become the trademark in his march to the 2008 Angler of the Year title: a Strike King Series 6 in sexy shad color.

Fans are encouraged to attend the Friday and Saturday launches (6 a.m. CT) and weigh-ins (4 p.m.) at Paris Landing State Park, 16055 Hwy. 79 N., Buchanan, Tenn. After Day Two’s competition

Other activities Friday and Saturday at the Tennessee Triumph will begin at 1 p.m. CT at Paris Landing State Park, featuring the popular Dog Training & Retriever Demonstrations Brought To You By SportDog, as well as a live concert by Nashville recording artist Greta Gaines on Friday, June 5, at the conclusion of the day’s weigh-in.

At 1:30 p.m. Friday, fans are invited to experience Bassmaster University, which includes the “Ask the Experts” session with Elite pros at 3 p.m.

Saturday’s activities include the live taping of Hooked Up, hosted by ESPN Outdoors personalities Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders. The show, which will air live at 3:30 p.m. ET on Bassmaster.com, will preview Sunday’s final weigh-in.

All events at the SpongeTech Tennessee Triumph are free and open to the public. Up next for the Elite Series is the June 11-14 Genuity River Rumble on the Mississippi River out of Fort Madison, Iowa.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit Bassmaster.com. Visit ESPNOutdoorsmedia.com for BASS’ latest releases, schedules and other news, plus photos and more.

The local sponsor of the Tennessee Triumph is the Paris-Henry County Alliance. Official sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Toyota Trucks, Berkley, BOOYAH Baits, Evan Williams Bourbon, Mercury, OPTIMA Batteries, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards.

Supporting sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series: Bass Pro Shops, Costa Del Mar, Ramada, SpongeTech and Triton Boats.

DAY 2 STANDINGS- SPONGETECH TENNESEE TRIUMPH- KENTUCKY LAKE 2009 SpongeTech Tennessee Triumph 6/3-6/6 Kentucky Lake, Paris TN. (PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 2

Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$

1. Bobby Lane Lakeland, FL 10 54-07 310
Day 1: 5 29-14 Day 2: 5 24-09

2. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 10 50-04 295
Day 1: 5 28-11 Day 2: 5 21-09

3. Skeet Reese Auburn, CA 10 48-09 290
Day 1: 5 25-15 Day 2: 5 22-10

4. Jeff Kriet Ardmore, OK 10 48-05 285
Day 1: 5 23-07 Day 2: 5 24-14

5. Russ Lane Prattville, AL 10 47-04 280
Day 1: 5 26-02 Day 2: 5 21-02

6. Byron Velvick Del Rio, TX 10 46-13 276
Day 1: 5 27-06 Day 2: 5 19-07

7. Fred Roumbanis Bixby, OK 10 46-08 272
Day 1: 5 23-07 Day 2: 5 23-01

8. Davy Hite Ninety Six, SC 10 45-04 268
Day 1: 5 21-08 Day 2: 5 23-12

9. Kelly Jordon Mineola, TX 10 44-08 264
Day 1: 5 18-03 Day 2: 5 26-05

10. Steve Kennedy Auburn, AL 10 44-07 260
Day 1: 5 17-09 Day 2: 5 26-14

About BASS For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multimedia platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS annually sanctions more than 20,000 events.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla. Media Contact: Doug Grassian; (407) 566-2216 or doug.grassian@espn.com

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