A Classic case of sibling rivalry

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. -- O, brother, where art thou?

Breathing down your neck for a Bassmaster Classic crown.

Bobby and Chris Lane are brothers, but today they’re competitors first.

Chris is leading the Classic with 35 pounds, 8 ounces. His older brother is in fourth place, trailing by less than 5 pounds. But neither talks about how great it would be for the other one to win.

“I want to win – bottom line,” Bobby said. “I’ll shake his hand and tell him congratulations on second place. I want to be the world champion.”

Chris isn’t mincing words either.

“I look at him as one of the other anglers trying to win this event,” Chris said. “If this was a team sport and we could stand up there and hold the trophy together, that would be great. But it’s not a team sport.”

The Lane brothers are entering uncharted waters, but they’re not exactly breaking new ground. The first brothers to compete in the same Classic were Don and Tom Mann at the Currituck Sound event in 1975. Kevin and David Johnson became the second siblings to fish the Classic in 1980 on the St. Lawrence River. The Lane boys did it themselves at the 2008 Classic on Lake Hartwell.

The level of success makes the Lanes different this year. The honor for highest average finish for a pair of brothers goes to the Manns. Don was 22nd and Tom was fifth, an average of 13.5. Given that Chris and Bobby are currently first and fourth, respectively, they appear to be a lock to top the Mann brothers.

“This is a dream come true,” Bobby said. “When you have a brother and you do the same things like we do … it’s a way of life. We live and breathe this stuff. It lets the world know the Lanes are fishermen.”

The Lanes were tied Friday in sixth place with 16-4, making them first brothers to be tied on a day of the Classic.

“To be tied, that was un-freakin’-believable,” Bobby said.

Bobby, 37, is the older of the two by 13 months. (They have an older brother, Arnie, but Bobby and Chris confirm he’s more of a golfer than a fisherman.) Like most siblings, they were competitive as children, playing soccer, baseball and golf.

Based on their B.A.S.S. history, it’s hard to say which Lane has the competitive advantage in professional bass fishing.

Bobby has a 4-1 lead in Classic appearances, but Chris holds a 3-1 advantage in tournament victories. Bobby’s lone victory, however, came in an Elite Series event, while Chris’ three victories all came in Bassmaster Open events, a lesser circuit than the Elite Series. Bobby also has the edge in the Classic, finishing fourth in 2008 to Chris’ 49th.

None of that matters today.

If Bobby Lane can't win, he wants the title to go to Chris. (James Overstreet photo)

“It’s like working in an office,” Chris said. “You can’t have two brothers at desk facing each other. And our boats are our offices.”

Besides, there are no secrets between the Lane brothers. It’s not because they don’t share information; they’re just so much alike in their fishing styles.

“We can’t really help each other because we both know where to look,” Bobby said. “There are no secrets between us because there’s no need to have them.”

Bobby does admit that if he can’t win it he’d prefer that Chris take home the title.

“If for some reason I can’t win,” he said, “I only want one person in the world to win, and that would be my brother.”

Regardless of what happens, nothing, not even the Classic championship, will come between these two brothers.

“It’s blood,” Chris said. “And a Classic title’s not gonna split that.”

Also By This Author