Meet the ‘brothers Horton’

Most fishing fans know all about Bobby and Chris Lane, brothers who have qualified twice together for the Bassmaster Classic, first in 2008 and again for 2012. Fans with longer memories cite the Classic’s two other brother acts: Tom and Don Mann in Classic 1975, and David and Kevin Johnson in the 1980 Classic.

And what about Jamie Horton and Tim Horton, those two Alabama pros in the 2012 Classic with the same last name? Sorry. Tim Horton and Jamie Horton are not brothers or cousins or even third cousins twice removed.

“He and I both get asked all the time, but we aren’t related,” Tim Horton confirmed.

Someone could mix them up, at least on paper. Both are from the northwestern reaches of Alabama — Tim Horton from Muscle Shoals, Jamie Horton about two hours south in Centreville. They are of the same generation. Both will compete in the 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series as well as in the Classic.

But anyone who saw the pros standing side-by-side would not mistake them for brothers, Jamie Horton pointed out.

“Him as blond as he is, and me as dark as I am, are about as opposite in looks as we could be,” he said. “And he’s more popular than I am, for sure. I am going to have just ‘Horton’ printed across the back of my tournament jersey, and if people confuse us, it will be to my benefit.”

He laughed as he spoke, but the point he was making was serious: He just turned pro, and Tim Horton is one of the many well-known competitors Jamie Horton will face this year.

The tournament paths of the two Hortons have crossed before. When they meet again in the Classic, Feb. 24-26 on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City, La., both will bring unique Red River memories.

Jamie Horton gets nothing but good vibes from the Red. He qualified for his first Classic, the 2002 event, through a Federation Nation Championship on the Red. He’s competed there multiple times. Add his practice time for those events, plus his Classic scouting last November, and his days on the Red make the river feel like an old friend.

“The fact that I know the river pretty well makes me even more anxious to get to the Classic,” said Jamie Horton, who qualified for the Classic (and Elite Series) by winning the 2011 B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship presented by Yamaha and Skeeter Boats.

For Tim Horton, his standout memory of the Red is the 2009 Classic and an emergency night run to the hospital. His stomach and something he ate didn’t agree. He had to drop out and take a 51st-place finish in a field of 51. That trip to the Red marked the end of his 10-year Classic streak. He took the Classic bench in 2010 and 2011, earning his way back through the 2011 Elite Series for 2012.

“When you sit out, it definitely makes you hungry to get back in,” he said.

Before he travels back to the Red, he plans to head to Florida’s Lake Okeechobee to scout the second stop of the 2012 Elite season.

“I am ready to go fishing, get the dust knocked off. I am as excited to get going this year as I was early on in my career. I guess I just have the fishing bug.”

Ah, the bug — the thing that makes all anglers brothers in spirit.