1:45 p.m. Reaching the corner of the cut, Lane pulls up short and drops the poles so he can slowly fish each piece of cover thoroughly, pitching the tube multiple times to each stump.
1:50 p.m. Lane pulls up the poles and backs off the bank. He starts alternating casts with the square bill and the lipless crank, fishing the deeper middle section of the pond.
2:00 p.m. Back to the tube, Lane hauls back on a fish near the mouth of the cut but comes up with nothing but the tube attached to the other end.
2:10 p.m. Chris expressed concern earlier that he wouldn’t be able to get out of the slough he’s currently fishing, so he de- cides to play it safe and head back towards the ramp.
2:30 p.m. After about a 20 minute run, Chris pulls up on a main river island and begins fishing the massive, shal- low stump field behind it. He is alternating between the lipless crank and a Spinnerbait, in chartreuse/blue/white.
2:40 p.m. “I haven’t been able to get a fish to eat a spin- nerbait all week, and I can’t figure out why. They should be all over spinnerbaits right now!” Chris ex- claims as he grinds the spin- nerbait through the stumps.
2:50 p.m. With 25 minutes remaining in his day, Lane moves a half mile to a shallow ridge out in front of the marina. He starts throwing the lipless crank over the top of the ridge. The boat is in 4.5 feet of water and the ridge tops out at 1.5 feet.
3:05 p.m. After no bites on the ridge, Chris opts to pack up his rods and make sure he gets his healthy stringer to the scales on time. Pulling into the marina, he talks a little bit about how the day went. “I thought the day went pretty well, a lot better than I was thinking this morning. When we got in there it was pretty intense for the first hour with the traffic and the way everyone else in there was catching them, so I am glad I was able to settle down a bit and get some fish into the boat. I was hoping to have over 15lbs, and I’m pretty sure I accom- plished that, so I’m really happy overall”.
The Day 1 Result: At the scales on Day 1, Chris brought in a limit weighing 16-4 that had him tied with his brother Bob- by for 6 th place, just 1lb 9oz back of Day 1 leader, Keith Poche. We now know that Chris ran new water the second day of the tournament, a huge risk considering he had caught such a good bag in his area the first day. I asked him before the first day’s weigh-in whether he was considering going back again, and he confidently responded “I don’t think the fish to win this thing are in there. I could probably go in again and catch 10 to 12lbs, but that doesn’t do anything for you in a tournament like this. I have a couple ponds down south that I think have some bigger fish, so I’m going to run all new water tomorrow and try to really get this thing going”. Those words turned out to be prophetic, as Lane caught the biggest bag of the tournament on Day 2 out of a completely new backwater, setting himself up for the life changing victory he secured with another bag over 15lbs on Sunday. It takes a lot of guts to leave behind an area like the one that sur- rendered such a good bag once, but if you don’t take those kinds of risks, it is hard to become the Bassmaster Classic Champion. BWU