By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
Bobby Lane did pretty well under the 1-pound minimum-weight rule during the inaugural season of the MLF Bass Pro Tour, finishing 9th in the final Angler of the Year standings. Nonetheless, he's happy that the organization has decided to implement variable minimums for the 2020 campaign.
"I'm ecstatic, to be honest," the veteran from Florida said late last week on his way to an outdoors show appearance before heading to Alabama's Lake Eufaula for the opener. "I've been (fishing MLF events) for quite a few years now and I've gotten used to the 1-pound thing and I like that setup for the Cup events, where you get zero practice.
"When you're getting a day and a half of practice, I couldn't agree more with a 2-pound minimum (which will be in place at Eufaula). I think it'll make guys fish different and it'll bring more excitement to our show. We fished one year at 1 pound and took a little criticism, but this shows that (MLF officials are) listening. It'll let guys put away the egg-beaters (spinning gear) for a little while."
No Bombs In Sight
Lane logged two single-digit finishes (2nd at Lake Winnebago and 6th in the first of back-to-back tournaments at Table Rock) over the eight-event inaugural BPT schedule and added two more placements among the top 20. On the three occasions when he missed the cut to advance to the third round, it wasn't by much – a 53rd at the three-lake derby out of Raleigh, N.C. was his worst showing and the other two were in the mid 40s.
A veteran of 11 pro seasons on the Bassmaster Elite Series and three more on the FLW Tour prior to that, he said he didn't alter his program much to accommodate the BPT format.
"I've fished for five-fish limits and 1-pound minimums on good lakes and bad lakes, but as long as I'm out there on the water I'm going to be fishing the way Bobby Lane likes to fish," he said. "Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but I'm probably not going to change my style at all.
"Last year we knew that Smith Lake was going to be a dink-fest and there were a lot of smaller fish caught at Table Rock and Winnebago, but there were still a lot of 2-10s and 2-12s. The guys who caught a (boatload) would've still been up there with a 2-pound minimum."
More About Power
Lane did a considerable amount of fishing during the offseason, but primarily on family outings in saltwater. He said the action for redfish, snook and red snapper was "absolutely killer."
He also had a major home project to deal with after his house in Lakeland sprung a lead three weeks before Thanksgiving. The cause was presumed to be wind-driven rain from one of the hurricanes that hit the Sunshine State.
"We ended up having to strip the flooring and the (sub-flooring) underneath and to have it back together by the week before Christmas was a miracle," he said. "It was kind of a blessing in disguise because we were considering moving, but now we've got a house that's 100 times better than it was – new floors, new paint ... it's just a beautiful house and I couldn't be happier."
He returned to competition last month with a lackluster 71st-place showing at the Kissimmee Chain Bassmaster Eastern Open. Now he's eager to start the second BPT campaign with a schedule that features more big-fish venues.
"I plan to do a lot more flipping and a lot more power-fishing in general. It won't be so much about bigger baits, but we won't have somebody sitting in an eddy and kicking all of our butts on a dropshot or a (tiny) swimbait.
"I feel good about what I'm going to be doing and I'm ready to get started."