Texas anglers couldn’t take advantage of fishing near home waters, and only two of the seven Texas anglers finished in the top ten — Alton Jones in fourth and Todd Faircloth in ninth.
But an angler from Alabama figured out the Red River as Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala., won the Bassmaster Classic Sunday by more than 3 pounds, fending off hard-charging Greg Vinson.
Lane brought in 51 pounds, 6 ounces to the scales over three days to claim the 2012 crown of professional bass fishing and the $500,000 first-place prize. It was his first Classic win.
Vinson, of Wetumpka, Ala., had a 47-pounds, 15-ounce total. Finishing third was first-day leader Keith Poche of Pike Road, Ala., with 45 pounds, 15 ounces. Fourth was Jones of Woodway, Texas, whose tournament total was 45 pounds, 14 ounces. Ott DeFoe of Knoxville, Tenn., shot from 15th into fifth with 44 pounds, 14 ounces.
Lane started strong and stayed strong in the Red River competition that pitted 49 of the world’s best anglers against each other. Lane was sixth after the first day — tied at 16 pounds, 4 ounces with his brother and fellow Elite Series pro Bobby Lane — then moved up into the lead after the second day with only a 1-pound lead over Vinson, who continued to chase Lane into the final round.
Lane said he was exhausted as he waited in the wings for his turn at the scales on the Classic stage at the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City.
“I’m ready to weigh these fish right now to see if I’ve won my first Bassmaster Classic,” said Lane. “I put everything on the line today. I felt I fished flawlessly today. I left everything I had to give on the water.”
And win he did. Sunday’s victory was his second Bassmaster tournament title of 2012. Each came with a qualification for the 2013 Classic.
Lane’s Sunday catch was 15 pounds, 14 ounces, which came from two areas of Red River backwaters. The first stop was the Sullivan’s area in Pool 4. He was on the verge of leaving to see if his second stop upriver in Pool 5 might hold better bass, but his instincts told him to stick around a few more minutes. It paid off with a 6-10 catch, the biggest of the day. By the time he left Pool 4, he had most of his day’s weight.
“I’ll never again second-guess a decision I make when fishing,” he said. “I listened to what my instincts told me to do, and it was right.”
He named two lures for helping him to Classic victory: a Luck “E” Strike G4, a tube with a inner laminate of a contrasting chartreuse color that he helped designed; and a Gambler Ugly Otter. He flipped the tube in shallow, stained water; he worked the Otter in clearer water.
Defending champ Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., finished with 40 pounds, 10 ounces in 11th place, pulling up from 18th place on Saturday.
“I just had a tough first day as far as executing,” VanDam said. “Today I caught all the bites I had, so I had a better day, but you just can’t have a bad day at this level against these guys.
VanDam is a four-time Classic winner who has qualified for 22 Classic competitions in a row. After winning in 2010 and 2011, VanDam was trying for a record third consecutive Classic title.
Carhartt Big Bass honors went to Poche. The Louisiana native weighed a 6-pound, 13-ounce Red River largemouth on Day 1 to win the $1,000 bonus for largest bass of the tournament.
For the complete results, click here.