Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., maintains the lead on the second day of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Eastern Open No. 1 held on Kissimmee Chain of Lakes out of Kissimmee, Fla., with a two-day total of 42 pounds.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Bobby Lane has seen both ends of the weigh-in order, but after Friday’s second round of competition on Florida’s Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, he remains atop the first Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Eastern Open with a two-day total of 42 pounds.
The Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Lakeland, Fla., launched in the first flight on Thursday, but today's later departure greatly delayed his access to the area he’s targeting on Lake Kissimmee. Lane added 10-9 to his first day’s weight of 31-7 — the tournament’s largest catch.
“Yesterday, I caught a few pretty early and today I didn’t even get down there until 10 o’clock,” Lane said. “I’m not sure if that hurt me; but it didn’t help me, by any means. I enjoyed my time in Toho this morning (before locking down to Lake Kissimmee) and caught quite a few fish.
“I thought they were going to bite today. I thought ‘Late flight, I’m gonna see ‘em.’ But they just never showed up.”
Despite weighing a third of his first round effort, Lane still holds a lead of 12 pounds — a pound and a half more than yesterday. This, he said, exemplifies the need to capitalize on opportunities like those of Day 1.
“This is Florida, and it’s all about a big bite. If you have an opportunity to catch those big ones, you want to put them in the boat,” he said. “Yesterday was flawless for me and today, I fished okay. I missed a couple of decent fish. My goal was to catch five and maintain the lead, and that’s what I did.
“But to have a big day like yesterday; you have to have that. It’s hard to be consistent on these lakes, especially with the fronts coming in and out this time of year.”
Targeting a diverse array of shallow vegetation, Lane mixed up his presentations with a variety of baits. He caught bass on a swimjig, a topwater plug and the new Berkley Powerbait Max Scent stickworm called The General. Rigging this junebug colored bait on a 5/0 Trokar hook with two different size weights, Lane fished with inspiration from his 13-year-old daughter, Alexis.
“About a month ago, my daughter whooped me with that bait, so I said ‘Enough of this,’ and I put about 10 bags in the boat,” Lane said. “I’m down to three.”
Friday brought more warmth and partly sunny skies, but the Kissimmee Chain felt more wind, as another cold front moved into the area late in the afternoon. Lane said this might have had an impact on his day, but he’s pleased that his huge Thursday catch positioned him to absorb the downturn.
“Ten pounds is just an average bag, but yesterday was the dream of a lifetime,” Lane said. “I just wanted to come in and see how bad it was, but to have the lead when I looked at (the leaderboard) on my phone, I was like ‘Golly, this is better than I thought.’
“To add to it a little bit doesn’t hurt, and I’m excited about tomorrow. There are some big ones out there to be caught.”
Walt Bowen of Walnut Cove, N.C., is in second place with 30-0. Making a big move from 47th place on Thursday, Bowen caught his limit by dragging a worm around shallow vegetation.
“I did the same thing today that I did yesterday, and I’m not going to make any changes,” he said.
Michael Purvis of Canton, Ga., is in third place with 29-10. Targeting prespawn bass with reaction baits, Purvis said he caught his fish in spurts with the active periods spaced about 45 minutes apart.
Garrett Rocamora of Lithia, Fla., remains in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with his 9-3 caught on Thursday.
Ohio’s Steve Robbins maintains the lead in the co-angler division with 22-5. Robbins is catching his bass by flipping and dragging plastics. Tony Sears of Dahlonega, Ga., holds the Phoenix Boats Big Bass lead among co-anglers with the 9-4 he caught Friday.
Saturday’s takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. ET at Big Lake Toho Marina. The weigh-in will be held at the Bass Pro Shops at 5156 International Drive in Orlando at 4 p.m.