For a brief moment, Bobby Lane was one of the Top 12. A slip-up at Iowa sent him back down the ranks. Can he mount a comeback?
Hindsight is always 20/20. For Lane, there is plenty he would've done over between his win at Kentucky Lake and his not-so-stellar finish at Ft. Madison, Iowa. His win at Kentucky meant a lot of things. It was his first BASS win, the biggest check to date he's cashed, and it put him in strong contention to make it to Toyota Trucks Championship Week. Most notably, it was a sharp learning curve in media relations.
"On the first day of practice at Iowa, I was overwhelmed by calls from the media asking questions about Kentucky Lake. It meant that I couldn't concentrate as much as I should have on fishing," he said. "If I could do it over, I would've set aside a day for returning calls here, fishing there and just managed my time better."
Going into Kentucky, Lane was 31st in Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points, a long shot unless he had a stellar finish. Lo and behold, Lane proved to be the heaviest hitter at the Kentucky Lake slugfest, and vaulted to 11th in the standings.
This was when things started to come to a head for the 2008 Rookie of the Year.
"I had no idea that there would be that many calls," the Lakeland, Fla., pro said. "I should've been fishing instead of answering calls. Going into Iowa I had the same sort of attitude I took going into Oneida last year. I had the Rookie of the Year wrapped up, and all I had to do was catch one fish, and I was in the Classic. That is the wrong way to think about these things."
Resting on his laurels left him in 17th at Oneida in 2008, and he looks to come back this year focused on dominating with just one goal: get back into the Top 12 for Championship Week.
"I'm totally focused now. After Iowa, I had a week off, then I went up to the Potomac and won another tournament, and now I've been fishing every day getting ready for this event," he said. "I'm fishing as clean as I ever have, and I have as much confidence as I ever have."
Lane's AOY position has also been hampered by a late penalty at Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas earlier this year. Those five minutes cost him several spots and may prove to be an even bigger thorn in his side if he falls just outside of the Top 12 postseason cut.
"I'm still haunted by that," he said. "That makes me want to get back in it that much more."
Lane has high hopes for Oneida, but this year he's on the warpath to reclaim a seat at the Top 12 table.
"Oneida is a great fishery. It really suits my kind of fishing and I'm looking to get up there and put a hurtin' on those fish."