Pond Hopping – Bobby Lane

Pond Hopping – Bobby Lane

Feb 20, 2012


Fishing “My Way” with Bobby Lane

by Mike Pehanich


Maybe you’ll never fish a tournament in your life. Perhaps you will never find yourself on a lake where bass feast on blueback herring. But if you are a fisherman who often finds himself fishing whatever the guys at the dock or bait shop say is the “hot bait” of the weekend or “only way to catch ’em on this lake,” you may want to listen to what Bassmaster Elite Series pro Bobby Lane  has to say.

Bobby Lane grew up fishing Florida lakes. Acknowledged by his peers as one of the best shallow water anglers in the game, Lane takes pride in his versatility today, noting that he has added the dropshot method and swimbaits to his arsenal recently.

Still he knows his strengths lie in skinny water. He loves flipping and pitching jigs, frog fishing, tossing topwater baits of every kind, and powerfishing with spinnerbaits and square billed crank baits (one of the latest bait categories he has mastered, by the way).

Like the rest of the Bassmaster Elite field at the “Carolina Clash” at Lake Murray in May 2011, Lane had heard that the “blueback herring” bite was on. The prevailing  “wisdom” was that you had to follow that forage fish and work around that bite if you were going to be in the money.

But Lane saw a lot of angler traffic over and around classic blueback herring spawning locations. Lane went “against the grain” and fished “the way I like to fish.” His approach not only kept Bobby in the money. It’s also our jump-of point for this Pond-Hopping interview.

Small Waters Fishing:  Bobby, how you approached Lake Murray illustrates an important point. That is, there is usually more than one game going on the water. Talk
about how you worked at counterpoint to conventional wisdom during the blueback
herring bite.

Bobby Lane: One of the most important things to note before I go into this Lake Murray tale is
“Have confidence in what you are doing. Fish what you like to do!” That’s the “moral” that runs through this story.

Yes, the Lake Murray event provides a perfect case scenario.  This time of year, the fish get up real shallow. They are preying on the blueback herring during their spawn.

The first day of practice I chased those fish keying in on the bluebacks, and I did not do very well.
I caught some small fish. “Oh yeah. They are biting on the bluebacks, ”they were saying. But not that well for me!

Going down the bank that morning, I saw a patch of green grass – not hydrilla or milfoil but just bank grass.  It had three or four feet of water over it.The sky was overcast. I picked up a Revenge buzzbait with 50-pound Spiderwire braid, and I threw it over the patch of grass. And on my second cast I caught a
six-pounder.  I also noted that the fish was very healthy. It wasn’t skinny. It looked like it had been living in the grass and was there to feed. I said, “Maybe we have something here!”

I did that for a while that day and checked more points.

Going into the second day of practice, I said, “I’m going to run points, keep those fish honest.” I was thinking I would fish shallow again the third day.

I found a couple of points – blueback herring locations –that had fish on them, but nothing spectacular.
I wasn’t happy about practice so far.

The third day, I ran to the bank and fished bank grass all day. I caught a 2-3/4, a 2-1/2 and a seven-pounder that I shook off. So I said, “That’s it. I’m not going to run these points. I will do what I like to do even though it goes entirely against the grain of what everybody says the bass are


I ended up finishing 30th in the tournament and moved up three spots in (Angler of the Year) point totals. Got my paycheck for $10,000 for making the cut, but I also knew that I had put myself in position
to do considerably better than that.

So the gist of the story is …just because you hear the dock talk of what’s going on, always give YOUR style of fishing a try first. Guys like Tommy Biffle, Dean Rojas, Denny Brauer, who are some of the ultimate
shallow water anglers in the world, win tournaments and do very well when the fish should be here and they pattern them some way else. So always keep an open mind when you are on the water, but fish what you like! If you like to frog, if you like to buzz a buzzbait, if you like to flip or throw a fluke or swim a
swimbait, try those first before you get caught up in “what’s going on” on the lake.

Find areas of the lake that might have what you like to fish. I had learned during practice that the east side of Lake Murray down by the dam had no grass at all. I searched pockets where I thought I could find
grass, so I had plenty of areas to run during the tournament.

Again, the moral is: “Try to fish your style of fishing first.” You will make things so much easier on your brain when it starts wondering what’s going on and what other guys might be catching!

 Check out Bobby Lane’s Frogging Tips on Small Waters Fishing posts and videos, filmed at the lakes of VIP Adventures in Summerville, South Carolina




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