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August 22nd, 2013
Lane Leads on St. Clair

by: Jason Sealock

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Release and images courtesy of BASS Communications

Make no mistake, Chris Lane is driven.

The 2012 Bassmaster Classic champ wants to qualify for the 2014 Classic because it’s on his adopted home water, Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. Winning the Aug. 22-25 Plano Championship Chase and the Classic berth that comes with the event title is his best chance to get on the list for Guntersville.

The Florida native, who now lives in Guntersville, Ala., made the most of that chance by landing the first-day lead in the Chase on Thursday. His weight of 22 pounds, 9 ounces led Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark., by 8 ounces. Davis took second place with 22-1.

In third place with 21-14 was Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala. In the No. 4 spot with 21-2 was Michael Simonton of Fremont, Ohio. Fifth place was a tie at 20-7 between Kotaro Kiriyama of Moody, Ala., and Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho.

The competition is north of Detroit, Mich., on Lake St. Clair, the fishery that’s No. 1 on Bassmaster Magazine’s 2013 list of 100 Best Bass Lakes. Adjoining rivers and Great Lakes are also fair playing grounds.

The pros are competing for $100,000, as well as the entry in the 2014 Classic. The Chase is also their last chance to earn points through this season’s Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year competition. Points count toward Classic and postseason qualifications.

Lane said having a clear goal helped him to focus.

“I feel calm, I have been sleeping great, because I knew what I had to do. I knew I had to have a big bag each and every day. That’s all I can do. If it works out, I’m going to be a happy man,” he said.

Lane began to boat smallmouth bass as soon as he settled onto his first spot of the day, far out into Lake St. Clair.

“I caught two of the big fish I thought were there — probably 5 1/2, 6 pounds each —then laid off of them,” Lane said. “Then I ran to the other side and caught two or three 3-pounders.”

Lane said he switched from drop shotting in deeper water to a shallow water spot, where he caught a 4 1/2-pounder.

“That reaffirmed my backup plan,” he said. “That was a key moment for me. It was just a good day, but we’ve got three more to go.”

Lane’s heaviest smallmouth weighed in at 5-12. It became the the top contender for the Chase’s Carhartt Big Bass award of $1,000 plus another $500 for wearing Carhartt apparel. Lane also set the mark for the Berkley Heavyweight Award of $500 for the Chase’s best five-fish limit.

Like Lane, Davis is motivated by the carrot of a Classic berth.

“To win would be icing on the cake. I really want to make the Classic,” he said.

Davis made the call to spend valuable time running to Lake Erie’s smallmouth.

“I ran about 90 miles, which is uncharacteristic for me,” Davis said. “It’s such a hard run.”

Davis said he lost two “good fish,” boated a 5-7, but was never able to cull a 2-pounder.

“If I had one of those bigger ones, I’d really have had a good stringer,” he said.

Simonton tapped into his experience on Chase waters for his bag of 21-2. His home in Ohio is about 60 miles as the crow flies from Lake St. Clair, so he has fished the lake and adjoining Lake Erie often over the years. His grandparents had a home on St. Clair, and he spent many an hour fishing there as a kid.

“In practice, I didn’t have to run around and find fish. I had spots from past years to go to,” Simonton said.

Thursday he ran to Lake Erie — a two-hour run against 4-foot waves. On one of his spots, known by him as the home of 3-pounders, he discovered larger smallmouth bass.

“I said, ‘Oh, my God, they’re bigger now,’” he said.

Later in the day, the smallmouth really started biting for him.

“When the sun comes out and water gets slicker, for whatever reason they bite better here,” said Simonton, who also is gunning for a Classic entry through an Elite win.

After Day 1 of the Chase, a flip-flop occurred on the leaderboard for the most coveted award of the Elite season — the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year crown. Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., dropped behind Alabama pro Martens. If the Elite season had ended Thursday, Evers would have lost the lead he’s held tightly after five consecutive events.

The upset happened when Martens posted in third place Thursday to Evers’ 79th place.

While visibly disappointed, Evers did not throw in the towel.

“It’s not a one-day fishing event,” he said.

Martens claims not to be concerned about the AOY prize. He’s looking for a good showing, and perhaps the win, at the Chase.

“I’m just not thinking about it,” Martens said about the crown.

Martens won it in 2005. Evers is looking for his first AOY title. It comes with a prize of $100,000.

In the season’s Bassmaster Rookie of the Year race, Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C., took the lead by 27 points over former leader Cliff Pirch of Payson, Ariz.

 

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   

1.  Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  22-09   99
Day 1: 5   22-09
2.  Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  22-01   98
Day 1: 5   22-01
3.  Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  21-14   97
Day 1: 5   21-14
4.  Michael Simonton       Fremont, OH              5  21-02   96
Day 1: 5   21-02
5.  Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                5  20-07   95
Day 1: 5   20-07
5.  Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  20-07   95
Day 1: 5   20-07
7.  Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  20-05   93
Day 1: 5   20-05
8.  Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  20-04   92
Day 1: 5   20-04
8.  Randy Howell           Springville, AL          5  20-04   92
Day 1: 5   20-04
10. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                5  19-10   90
Day 1: 5   19-10
11. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  19-07   89
Day 1: 5   19-07
12. Jeremy Starks          Scott Depot, WV          5  18-13   88
Day 1: 5   18-13
13. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  18-11   87
Day 1: 5   18-11
14. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  18-02   86
Day 1: 5   18-02
15. Jamie Horton           Centerville, AL          5  18-01   85
Day 1: 5   18-01
16. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  17-14   84
Day 1: 5   17-14
16. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  17-14   84
Day 1: 5   17-14
18. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  17-12   82
Day 1: 5   17-12
19. John Crews             Salem, VA                5  17-08   81
Day 1: 5   17-08
20. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            5  17-07   80
Day 1: 5   17-07
21. Nate Wellman           Newaygo, MI              5  17-07   79
Day 1: 5   17-07
22. Morizo Shimizu         Osaka JAPAN              5  17-00   78
Day 1: 5   17-00
23. BJ Haseotes            Centerville, MA          5  16-12   77
Day 1: 5   16-12
24. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  16-10   76
Day 1: 5   16-10
24. Pete Ponds             Madison, MS              5  16-10   76
Day 1: 5   16-10
26. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  16-09   74
Day 1: 5   16-09
26. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  16-09   74
Day 1: 5   16-09
28. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  16-08   72
Day 1: 5   16-08
28. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR            5  16-08   72
Day 1: 5   16-08
28. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  16-08   72
Day 1: 5   16-08
31. John Murray            Phoenix, AZ              5  16-07   69
Day 1: 5   16-07
32. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  16-04   68
Day 1: 5   16-04
33. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  16-01   67
Day 1: 5   16-01
34. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  16-00   66
Day 1: 5   16-00
34. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             5  16-00   66
Day 1: 5   16-00
36. Scott Ashmore          Broken Arrow, OK         5  16-00   64
Day 1: 5   16-00
37. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  15-15   63
Day 1: 5   15-15
37. Bobby Lane             Lakeland, FL             5  15-15   63
Day 1: 5   15-15
39. Matt Greenblatt        Port St Lucie, FL        5  15-14   61
Day 1: 5   15-14
40. Hank Cherry            Maiden, NC               5  15-13   60
Day 1: 5   15-13
41. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  15-12   59
Day 1: 5   15-12
42. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  15-11   58
Day 1: 5   15-11
42. Boyd Duckett           Demopolis, AL            5  15-11   58
Day 1: 5   15-11
42. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  15-11   58
Day 1: 5   15-11
45. Shaw E Grigsby Jr.     Gainesville, FL          5  15-10   55
Day 1: 5   15-10
46. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  15-08   54
Day 1: 5   15-08
47. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  15-07   53
Day 1: 5   15-07
47. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                 5  15-07   53
Day 1: 5   15-07
49. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  15-06   51
Day 1: 5   15-06
50. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  15-05   50
Day 1: 5   15-05
51. Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH           5  15-04   49
Day 1: 5   15-04
51. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  15-04   49
Day 1: 5   15-04
53. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  15-03   47
Day 1: 5   15-03
54. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               5  15-02   46
Day 1: 5   15-02
55. Jason Quinn            Rock Hill, SC            5  15-00   45
Day 1: 5   15-00
56. Jason Williamson       Aiken, SC                5  15-00   44
Day 1: 5   15-00
57. Kenyon Hill            Norman, OK               5  14-15   43
Day 1: 5   14-15
58. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  14-14   42
Day 1: 5   14-14
59. Casey D Ashley         Donalds, SC              5  14-13   41
Day 1: 5   14-13
60. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  14-11   40
Day 1: 5   14-11
61. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  14-10   39
Day 1: 5   14-10
62. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  14-08   38
Day 1: 5   14-08
63. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  14-07   37
Day 1: 5   14-07
63. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  14-07   37
Day 1: 5   14-07
65. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  14-03   35
Day 1: 5   14-03
66. Kevin Hawk             Guntersville, AL         5  14-01   34
Day 1: 5   14-01
66. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  14-01   34
Day 1: 5   14-01
68. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  14-00   32
Day 1: 5   14-00
68. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  14-00   32
Day 1: 5   14-00
70. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  13-15   30
Day 1: 5   13-15
71. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  13-14   29
Day 1: 5   13-14
72. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  13-13   28
Day 1: 5   13-13
72. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  13-13   28
Day 1: 5   13-13
74. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  13-11   26
Day 1: 5   13-11
75. Kelly Jordon           Palestine, TX            5  13-11   25
Day 1: 5   13-11
76. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  13-05   24
Day 1: 5   13-05
77. Timmy Horton           Muscle Shoals, AL        4  13-03   23
Day 1: 4   13-03
78. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  13-02   22
Day 1: 5   13-02
79. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  13-01   21
Day 1: 5   13-01
80. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR            5  12-15   20
Day 1: 5   12-15
81. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  12-14   19
Day 1: 5   12-14
82. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  12-10   18
Day 1: 5   12-10
83. Jami Fralick           Martin, SD               5  12-06   17
Day 1: 5   12-06
83. Casey Scanlon          Shawnee Mission, KS      5  12-06   17
Day 1: 5   12-06
85. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           4  12-05   15
Day 1: 4   12-05
86. Kevin Ledoux           Choctaw, OK              5  12-02   14
Day 1: 5   12-02
87. Chip Porche            Bixby, OK                5  11-12   13
Day 1: 5   11-12
88. Matt Herren            Trussville, AL           5  11-11   12
Day 1: 5   11-11
89. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  11-08   11
Day 1: 5   11-08
90. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  11-07   10
Day 1: 5   11-07
91. Kurt Dove              Del Rio, TX              5  11-04    9
Day 1: 5   11-04
92. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  10-06    8
Day 1: 5   10-06
93. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  10-01    7
Day 1: 5   10-01
94. Zell Rowland           Montgomery, TX           4  08-12    6
Day 1: 4   08-12
95. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                4  08-09    5
Day 1: 4   08-09
96. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  08-08    4
Day 1: 5   08-08
97. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           2  05-03    3
Day 1: 2   05-03
98. Grant Goldbeck         Boerne, TX               0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
98. David Smith            Del City, OK             0  00-00    0
Day 1: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals

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