PARIS, Tenn. For three days, Bobby Lane seemed destined to take his first BASS victory. The Lakeland, Fla., Bassmaster Elite Series pro opened up a nearly 9-pound advantage, barely scratching the surface of a foolproof spot on massive Kentucky Lake. The second-year Elite pro and two-time Bassmaster…
PARIS, Tenn. For three days, Bobby Lane seemed destined to take his first BASS victory. The Lakeland, Fla., Bassmaster Elite Series pro opened up a nearly 9-pound advantage, barely scratching the surface of a foolproof spot on massive Kentucky Lake. The second-year Elite pro and two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier had it so good he was able to take a nap on the water Friday while defending his area. But on Saturday, the final day of competition at the SpongeTech Tennessee Triumph, things took an unexpected turn.
First, a nerve-wracking fog delay of more than 2 hours demolished Lanes productive early bite. Then, Lane had to contend with an armada of spectator boats nearly 120 by some counts that were parked near his money spot. But Lane, a veteran tournament angler, stuck to his guns and held on to accumulate 16 pounds, 15 ounces Saturday for a four-day total of 97 pounds, 9 ounces, which was enough to hold off four-time Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam (92-1) of Kalamazoo, Mich.
With the victory, Lane earned $100,000 and moved up to 11th in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. That position puts the 35-year-old in fantastic shape to qualify for the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, set for Feb. 19-21 on Lay Lake out of Birmingham, Ala., and advance to the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason, the Toyota Trucks Championship Week, which will play out Sept. 10-18 on Alabamas Lake Jordan and Alabama River featuring the top 12 anglers in the AOY standings.
Early this morning, all I wanted to do was get on that spot, said Lane, whose brother younger brother Chris also fishes in the Elite Series. That was one of the most stressful moments of my life sitting there waiting and was probably about the worst thing that could have happened to me. But I was able to fish clean the whole day and it was my time.
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, ESPNs broadband sports network, while a wealth of unique content will also be available at Bassmaster.com.
On Saturday, Lane’s primary spot an area filled with heavy shell that generated high numbers of baitfish that bass were feeding on proved nowhere near as fruitful as it had in the first three days. While he was able to land four keepers in the area during the first hours of competition, the size of the fish couldn’t compare to those on Days One through Three. So, Lane made a decision to run elsewhere a last resort and was able to fill out his limit with a fifth keeper.
Still, he wasnt satisfied. In the back of his mind, he said he was calculating over and over again to determine if he had blown what was his best chance at a victory. With a little more than two hours remaining in his competition day, he returned to the primary spot he had nicknamed the promised land and boated his biggest bass of the day, a 5-9 brute.
That was enough to seal it, as VanDam made a half-hearted charge that wasnt quite enough. Lane used several baits to considerable success, including a Berkley Power Worm and a swimbait, but a crankbait landed the last fish. Doubly satisfying for Lane was that he scored victory fishing a style he doesnt consider a strength. A shallow-water specialist who excels on Florida fisheries, he mastered the art of ledge fishing for one week.
Perhaps lost in the shuffle was Lanes calculated gamble that he executed the first three days. Lane made the interesting decision a risky one to scour his productive area for just more than 3 hours through the first three days, leaving nearly 20 hours on the table. It proved to be a key to the victory.
They didnt pull current today and the wind wasnt blowing early and that was just a terrible combination for me, said Lane, whose daughter, Alexis, graduated from pre-kindergarten Friday back home in Florida. I love to do it but Im not a big ledge fisherman. I wasnt happy all day but this victory really means a lot to me.
While VanDam fell short at Kentucky, he will take solace in his lead albeit a tiny one in the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. By virtue of jumping over Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., into second place here, VanDam maintained his lead in the season-long standings.
VanDam, the defending champion on Kentucky, said the majority of his bass fell for a Strike King Series 6 extra deep crankbait. He was allowing the bait to hit bottom usually comprised of shell where the bass would attack it.
Kentucky Lake is absolutely awesome, said VanDam, a two-time Bassmaster Classic champion. While Im never satisfied with second place, the ultimate goal is the Angler of the Year and I feel good about my chances there.
The Angler of the Year is title is worth $200,000 and it is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the sport. Reese, the 2007 AOY, continued his incredible run in his effort for the AOY, scoring fourth at Kentucky with 90 pounds, 7 ounces. Russ Lane of Prattville, Ala., moved up one spot to third with 90-9. In fifth was Rick Morris of Lake Gaston, Va., with 88-6.
The field was cut to the top 12 anglers for the final day. Up next for the Elite Series is the June 11-14 Genuity River Rumble on the Mississippi River out of Fort Madison, Iowa.
Kentucky Lake has hosted 11 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, 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.
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.
FINAL STANDINGS- SPONGETECH TENNESEE TRIUMPH- KENTUCKY LAKE
2009 SpongeTech Tennessee Triumph 6/3-6/6 Kentucky Lake, Paris TN. (PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 4
Angler Hometown No./lbs-oz Pts Total $$$
1. Bobby Lane Lakeland, FL 20 97-09 320 $100,000.00
Day 1: 5 29-14 Day 2: 5 24-09 Day 3: 5 26-03 Day 4: 5 16-15
2. Kevin VanDam Kalamazoo, MI 20 92-01 295 $26,000.00
Day 1: 5 28-11 Day 2: 5 21-09 Day 3: 5 21-03 Day 4: 5 20-10
3. Russ Lane Prattville, AL 20 90-09 290 $20,000.00
Day 1: 5 26-02 Day 2: 5 21-02 Day 3: 5 20-11 Day 4: 5 22-10
4. Skeet Reese Auburn, CA 20 90-07 285 $15,000.00
Day 1: 5 25-15 Day 2: 5 22-10 Day 3: 5 23-05 Day 4: 5 18-09
5. Rick Morris Virginia Beach, VA 20 88-06 280 $14,000.00
Day 1: 5 26-00 Day 2: 5 16-10 Day 3: 5 23-01 Day 4: 5 22-11
6. Steve Kennedy Auburn, AL 20 87-04 276 $13,500.00
Day 1: 5 17-09 Day 2: 5 26-14 Day 3: 5 18-15 Day 4: 5 23-14
7. Britt Myers Lake Wylie, SC 20 86-09 272 $13,000.00
Day 1: 5 22-00 Day 2: 5 19-15 Day 3: 5 24-07 Day 4: 5 20-03
8. Kelly Jordon Mineola, TX 20 85-03 268 $12,500.00
Day 1: 5 18-03 Day 2: 5 26-05 Day 3: 5 19-12 Day 4: 5 20-15
9. Gerald Swindle Warrior, AL 20 84-06 264 $12,000.00
Day 1: 5 21-00 Day 2: 5 22-01 Day 3: 5 22-01 Day 4: 5 19-04
10. Byron Velvick Del Rio, TX 19 81-07 260 $11,500.00
Day 1: 5 27-06 Day 2: 5 19-07 Day 3: 5 19-13 Day 4: 4 14-13
11. Jeff Kriet Ardmore, OK 20 80-15 257 $11,000.00
Day 1: 5 23-07 Day 2: 5 24-14 Day 3: 5 17-00 Day 4: 5 15-10
12. Fred Roumbanis Bixby, OK 20 79-02 254 $11,500.00
Day 1: 5 23-07 Day 2: 5 23-01 Day 3: 5 19-05 Day 4: 5 13-05
1 Bobby Lane Lakeland, FL 07-15 $0.00
2 Fred Roumbanis Bixby, OK 08-04 $0.00
3 Michael Iaconelli Runnemede, NJ 06-10 $0.00
4 Byron Velvick Del Rio, TX 07-12 $0.00
BIG BASS OF TOURNAMENT
Fred Roumbanis Bixby, OK 08-04 $1,000.00
Day #Limits #Fish Weight
1 93 479 1720-14
2 86 465 1565-02
3 45 242 851-07
4 11 59 229-07
235 1245 4366-14
2009 TOYOTA TUNDRA BASSMASTER ANGLER OF THE YEAR STANDINGS
2009 SpongeTech Tennessee Triumph – SpongeTech Tennessee Triumph Pro Points After Kentucky Lake, Paris, Tenn. Ending 06-06-2009, Day 4
Place Name St Pts
1 Kevin VanDam Mich. 1593
2 Skeet Reese Calif. 1578
3 Alton Jones Texas 1477
4 Aaron Martens Ala. 1465
5 Todd Faircloth Texas 1371
6 Gary Klein Texas 1370
7 Michael Iaconelli N.J. 1364
8 Mark Menendez Ky. 1339
9 Randy Howell Ala. 1318
10 Brent Chapman Kan. 1313
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, ESPNs 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 Womens 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.