Raymarine Pro Bobby Lane Wins Bassmaster Eastern Open
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Florida pro goes wire-to-wire on hometown waters, fellow Raymarine pro Brandon Lester takes second
Earlier this year, BASS Elite pro Bobby Lane made the decision to swing for the fences. “Rather than worry about getting paid, I decided to go out this season, stay deeper, and fish for big fish.”
This past weekend Lane’s resolution paid off, as Lane went wire-to-wire at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Eastern Open on Florida’s Kissimmee Chain. For Lane, the win on hometown waters seemed a lifetime in the making.
“After being close so many times before, winning on the Kissimmee Chain was starting to elude me. Actually, it had become a burden. You can know too many spots, the weather starts changing, and panic can set in. Honestly, I was under a great deal of pressure right up to the end of the weigh-in on the final day,” admits Lane.
Fortunately, Lane had discovered something in practice that gave him a huge confidence boost.
“I knew I was on to something when I caught two five pounders in practice. The hurricane had blown some hydrilla away and changed other hydrilla spots—but if you could find the combination of hydrilla and holes in flat pads, Kissimmee grass, or sticks the hurricane had blown around, there were probably bass there. Didn’t matter if the hydrilla was off shore or three feet from the bank. I think the fish felt secure in the hydrilla with all the crazy weather we’ve had. They were either right in it or on the edges.”
Much of the fish-producing hydrilla was located with Lane’s electronics.
“I was running at 65 mph and could see bottom perfectly with my Raymarine
units. I might travel five miles, graph hydrilla on my screen, and stop and fish. I found five or six spots like that, three which paid off. Even though this is my home lake, I caught fish where I’ve never caught them before. The hurricane definitely changed the habitat. The real benefit of my electronics was being able to eliminate water quickly and keep the hydrilla lines in view on my bow unit,” says Lane.
Specifically, Lane’s Phoenix is installed with three Raymarine
Axiom Pro 12 MFDs—two at the console and one on the bow.
“This is the first year I’ve fished tournament days with two units on the dash. It’s nice having two big screens running everything in full view or split screen to give me lots of info at the same time. The clarity and speed is absolutely amazing. If it looks like there’s a fish there, it’s a fish. The CHIRP Sonar, DownVision, SideVision,
RealVision 3D, and how fast the mapping responds is just amazing.”
On Day 1, Lane says he didn’t get a lot of bites, but all the right ones. As boat five in the first flight from Lake Toho, Lane made it through two locks quickly, after which he caught a five pounder in Lake Hatchineha. Lane then ran to Kissimmee where he caught an 8-7 on a PowerBait Rib Toad, followed by a nine pounder on the south end of the lake. Two giant Florida bass in the livewell, he returned to Hatchineha where he boxed another five pounder. Lane made the decision to fish the last hour of the tournament on Lake Toho, where he caught a three-pounder prior to the 3 pm weigh-in.
“Day One was just phenomenal,” says Lane. He finished Day 1 in first place with a whopping 31-7 five-fish limit.
Lane repeated exactly the same process on Day 2, but didn’t find the big fish he wanted. He weighed 10-9, but still entered the final day with a 10-pound-plus lead. Hatchineha and Toho produced an 18-pound sack for Lane on the final day, which cemented the wire-to-wire win. He finished with 60 pounds even and over $52,000 in winnings.
“The hydrilla wall pattern and those big fish saved me, which I wouldn’t have found without my Axiom units. I’m able to get solid bottom readings at 65 mph and the units are fast and responsive. It’s nothing to zoom in to the mapping with my finger or the knob and find spots just like the spots that produce fish. Bottom line is I can count on my Axiom Pros when I need them.”
Fellow Raymarine pro Brandon Lester finished second at the event with 47 pounds, 11 ounces.
* All photos courtesy of BASS