ORLANDO, Fla. -- Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala., made it look easy on Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes in the kickoff event of the 2012 Bass Pro Shops Southern Open series.
|Chris used his hometown knowledge all the way |
to the winner's circle.
(photo: James Overstreet BASS)
All of Lane’s Bassmaster victories have come in Southern Opens. His first two, in 2006 and 2010, came on Lake Okeechobee.
“I got tell you, I had an emotional ride over here,” Lane said. “My dad had a little episode about 3 weeks ago. I’m just glad he’s here to see it.”
Citing the need to slow down and fish his areas thoroughly, Lane used a variety of baits to claim the title and a provisional berth in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, Feb. 22-24. If Lane fishes the remaining two events in the Southern Open season, he’ll cement the spot in bass fishing’s greatest championship.
“I caught fish on several soft plastics, including 7-inch Gambler Sweebo worms, Gambler Cane Toads and the Gambler Big Easy, but I found my bass with a chartreuse Luck-E-Strike RC2 crankbait,” Lane said. “I used it as a search bait. When I found bass with it, I’d pick up the soft plastics and really work the area over.”
Despite having a five-pound lead going into the final round, Lane had a scare on Saturday morning. After catching a couple of small keepers, his co-angler caught bass totaling more than 10 pounds on two consecutive casts.
“I was rattled,” Lane admitted, “but I knew what I had to do. I was making mistakes, and I needed to slow down.”
And he did. Lane’s next bass was his best of the day, a lunker that inhaled a Sweebo worm. When the day was over, his best five weighed 28-5, good enough for the Luck-E-Strike heavyweight of the tournament.
Day Three’s big bass belonged Keith Carson of Debary, Fla., and weighed 9-13.
Avery McCormick of Mobile, Ala., had the lead on the co-angler side the first two days despite not catching a limit (3 bass for co-anglers). Missing his limit caught up with him in the final round. Needing only 1-3 to tie, he weighed just one 14-ounce fish to fall five ounces short of victory.
Michael Bradford of Scottsboro, Ala., saw McCormick’s stumble as an opportunity. His three-day total of 27-9 earned him $35,000 in cash and merchandise, including a Triton-Mercury boat and motor package.