Lane wins 42nd Bassmaster Classic
In the 1980s, summer vacation for the Lane brothers meant two things every year: A road trip to see the Atlanta Braves and participation in the junior fishing camps held by two-time Bassmaster Classic champion Tom Mann in Eufaula, Ala.
"We dreamed of winning the Bassmaster Classic," said Chris Lane, who beat Bobby and 47 other anglers to capture the 42nd Bassmaster Classic on Sunday after three days of fishing on the Red River.
Chris hauled in 51 pounds and six ounces over the three-day event, beating out Greg Vinson for the title by less than three pounds.
The 36-year-old nearly from Guntersville, Ala., nearly doubled his career earnings with the $500,000 first prize.
Vinson, 34, of Wetumpka, Ala., was the penultimate angler to weigh in and took the lead, but Lane was last to the scales.
"I've never won a tournament," said Vinson, a veteran of more than 50 events and two Classics who pocketed a career-high $45,000. "It would have been special, but I may have been spoiled to have that be my first win."
Day 1 leader Keith Poche of Pike Road, Ala., 2008 champion Alton Jones of Waco, Texas, and Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., rounded out the top five.
Kevin VanDam fell short in his effort to set a pair of Classic records. The 44-year-old Kalamazoo, Mich., native was trying to win for the third year in a row and become the first five-time champion of the event.
"To take (the trophy) from the best fisherman in the entire world, I can't explain it," Lane said. "There is one person in the world I wanted to get that trophy from, and Kevin said, `I'm proud of you."'
Bobby Lane, fourth entering the final day, hooked just two fish for less than six pounds and wound up 20th. However, his $12,600 payday paled in comparison to the payoff from a deal struck early Sunday morning.
Chris called brother Bobby to propose a deal if one of the brothers won the Classic, they'd pay the other's 2012 BASS Elite tournament fees - more than $43,000.
"I said, `Let's bump it up to a nice round number,"' said Bobby Lane, who is 16 months older than Chris.
In the end, both were winners.
"I am so honored to be able to pay him $50,000," Chris Lane said.