Bobby Lane came within 30 seconds of missing the cut yesterday and, possibly the Bassmaster Classic. That's how close he was to missing his check-in time Friday, and he wouldn't have made it at all without a big assist from James Niggemeyer.
With 11-13 in his livewell to go with the 15-3 he caught Thurday, Lane cranked his outboard motor one more time to head to the check-in point. But he couldn't get it started. Lane said he saw Niggemeyer about 50 yards away and waved him over. Thanks to Niggemeyer, Lane beat the clock by 30 seconds. A one-pound per-minute penalty goes into effect once you miss your check-in time.
Lane might have been the happiest Elite Series pro at Friday's weigh-in. Making the top 49 cut assured him of a $10,000 check, and then there's those valuable AOY points he would have lost upon being late and plunging in the standings. Lane entered this event ranked 15th in AOY points, with a Classic berth all but in the bag. He didn't even want to consider what a zero Friday would have done to his season.
"I'm just glad I'm here," Lane said on stage, before thanking Niggemeyer.
Later Lane explained that the ever-cheerful Niggemeyer brought him to the dock, "Then he just went back out fishing."
As for good things happening to good people, Niggemeyer finished in 24th place Friday to earn another day on the water and the check that goes with that.