Coming off his first Bassmaster Elite Series win at Kentucky Lake, Bobby Lane has been riding high. The 2008 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year has lofty goals and the drive to match. He sees his first major win as the second stone in a path that will leave his mark on professional fishing. Lane, 35, is the middle child of three brothers who fish competitively for a living. Here's how he answered our 20 Questions.
1. Where are you from, originally?
I'm a Florida native, born in Tampa and raised in Lakeland, Fla.
2. How did you get started in bass fishing?
I went with my dad and granddad when I was growing up. We went to Lake Kissimmee and Rodman Reservoir.
3. Who were some of your earliest fishing heroes?
Bill Dance, Hank Parker, Roland Martin and Rick Clunn.
4. When did you realize you had made it in the bass fishing industry?
In 2002, when I had three Top 10 tournament finishes in a row.
5. What's the biggest bass you've ever caught?
Fourteen pounds, three ounces. I got it from a phosphate pit here in Florida — one of the old strip mines.
6. What do you love most about bass fishing?
I love the fact that it's me versus them. You're always up against a new breed of fish. I love the competition, too. This is as good as it gets.
7. What is your greatest strength as a bass angler?
I used to say topwaters and flipping baits. Anymore, though, I think it's being able to find the right structure and being able to figure the fish out better than most guys. I think I can tell whether they're going to eat a spinnerbait, big worm or whatever pretty quickly and give it to them. The more I do this, the more I learn.
8. What is your greatest weakness as a bass angler?
Finesse fishing. I say that, but I've learned to love it. It's something I want to improve on, and it's something I feel I can do. After Kentucky Lake, I feel like Superman.
9. Where is your favorite place to fish for bass and why?
Lake Guntersville. You can go there and catch them anywhere using anything.
10. What question do you get asked most by fans and how do you answer it?
The thing I get asked most is, "How do I become a pro?" I tell them all the same thing: You've got to be able to catch fish no matter what, and you've always got to be positive and promote your sponsors. You've got to dress well and speak well, too. Even after a bust, like Iowa was for me, you need to maintain the right attitude and be positive.
11. What's the biggest mistake you see from casual anglers?
I see a lot of guys who aren't versatile enough. They'll keep doing the same thing in the same places year round even though it may only work a month or two out of the year. Another effect of that is that during tournaments, these guys will stick to where they remember having a really good day, and if the bass aren't there, they won't spend too much time looking around.
12. Do you have any fishing superstitions?
I like to see a bird flying in the morning while we're listening to the national anthem. It can be any old bird. Hearing that song gets me fired up to go out and have a good day. I also like to think of my wife and kids before we head out. That always puts me in a good mood.
13. How big a part does luck play in fishing?
I'd rather be lucky than good any day of the week! But seriously, there is a certain amount of luck that goes into fishing. Of course I'd rather be known as a good angler, but having a little bit of luck never hurts.
14. What has been your greatest accomplishment in the fishing industry?
Winning at Kentucky Lake.
15. What goals have you yet to accomplish in your bass fishing career?
Winning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year, reaching the 100-pound mark, joining the $1 million club and winning a major championship.
16. What keeps you motivated to reach those goals?
Things like the win at Kentucky Lake keep you motivated. If you do well, then have a bad next event like I did at Iowa, it makes you want to get better. When you go to a body of water you've never fished before, you learn something each time. It gives you more in your arsenal. I've been to most every good place in the country to fish and either do well, decent or leave knowing what not to do, so every time I go out I try to learn something.
17. What has been the greatest regret of your fishing career?
I guess it's having to be away from my family. I won't take them on the road because the kids need schooling. I just think to myself that I'm out here doing my job.
18. When you're not bass fishing, how do you like to spend your time?
I like to work in the yard, play cards with my dad and be lazy around the house and enjoy my wife and kids.
19. What profession (other than your own) would you like to have tried?
I'd have to say golf. I was on the state team in high school. I really enjoy the atmosphere and being outside. That's another way I like to get outside, even though I only go a few times a year now. When I was at my peak, I had a handicap between two and five. I think with some lessons I could shoot even par by the end of the year.
20. When it's all over, how do you want people to remember you?
I want people to say, "Man, that guy could whack 'em!" I want to be known as a good family man, an awesome dad and a threat to win no matter where we'd go. I'd also like to be a phenomenal angler and an asset to the business as I get older, like Rick Clunn.