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Shake some salt on these BASS pros

11/14/2008

ISLAMORADA, Fla. — Chris and Bobby Lane have been surrounded by the best saltwater fishing on the planet their entire lives. Yet they have successful careers in the Bassmaster Elite Series, the highest level of bass fishing. Freshwater fishing takes the lion's share of their time, but when possible, they sneak of to a coast to fraternize with the enemies, saltwater fish.

This past weekend has been such an occasion. It was not about green fish, but red and silver ones. The Lane brothers fished as celebrities in the Mercury Redbone, trying their hand at tricking some of the smartest redfish and bonefish in Florida.

"This is really a great fishery here in Islamorada," Bobby said. "We got to a spot at 8 a.m., and within 10 casts we had our first red. It went on like that till 11 a.m. when things slowed down, but we could hardly go two casts without getting bit by something."

The Lanes hooked up with more than just redfish — they got snook, permit, snapper and even a shark. However, the prized bonefish eluded them.

"We would've had a slam (catching a redfish and bonefish), but bonehead over here let him get away," Chris said of his brother's lost battle with a Islamorada bonefish.

The transition from the lake to the bay was an easy one for these professional anglers, as their skill with a rod and reel helps in a sport where casting accuracy is at a premium.

"If you're six inches off in your cast, that's the difference between a bite and spooking a fish, especially up in the mangroves," Chris said. "It's kind of like bass fishing in that way."

Mark Gilman, the Lane's guide, was pleased at hosting experienced anglers for a change.

"It makes my job so much easier, having guys who know what they're doing on board," he said. "However, these aren't small guys; I had to push 650 pounds across the flats with a pole all day, so I still had to work pretty hard."

Chris Lane came away the Pro Celebrity Grand Champion angler, beating his brother by a single redfish. He took home a painting featuring a redfish and a bonefish to commemorate his victory.

"It was a great time, I'm glad to have been a part of something that helps so many people out," Chris said. "I'm definitely looking forward to this next year."