Two of three Lanes cleared

Imagine the Lane brothers, Chris, Bobby and Arnie, huddling in front of the family television in their PJs, staying up late to watch the Bassmaster Classic.

"I remember all three of us sitting in front of the TV watching it," said Chris, a wee tyke when he began tagging along with his older brothers on bass fishing trips with granddad and dad. "It was the only show my parents would let me stay up late at night to watch."

Bobby confirmed the scene at the Lane's Florida household in the late 1970s and early 1980s. And while he was dreaming it, he had no idea then that two of the brothers would be competing in bass fishing's grandest stage in 2008.

Chris Lane, 32, who qualified from the Elite Series, will be joined on South Carolina's Lake Hartwell for the Feb. 22-24 Classic by older brother Bobby, who earned a spot through the Southern Open circuit.

"The Classic! Oh, man, that's a dream come true," Bobby said. "My ultimate goal since I was three years old was to make the Classic. Words can't explain the thrill I get out of knowing I'm going to the Classic, the super bowl."

It will be the third time brothers will compete in the Classic and the first time since 1980, when David and Kevin Johnson qualified. Tom and Don Mann competed in the 1975 Classic.

"I'm very excited to see Chris in there, and I know he is to see me there, but I was nervous today," Bobby, 33, said after finishing fourth on Wheeler Lake on Oct. 20 to take the third and final Classic spot from the Southern Open. "My nerves haven't been this racked in three years. But I made the Classic, qualified for the Elites, so life's good."

Bobby recently decided to resign from the FLW tour to make a run on the Elite Series next season, in part because the schedule sets up for his type of power fishing and in part because he likes to catch big fish.

"I loved working with Fox, but ESPN is the way to go," he said. "I watch most of the shows and read (Bassmaster) magazine. I'm looking forward to it. It's exciting."

"FLW had made me become a finesse fisherman, but I'd rather catch a 7- or 8-pounder than catch a 7- or 8-pound limit. BASS has got everything lined up right and it makes a great TV show."

His decision to become an Elite had little to do with Chris, whose career earnings total more than $280,000. Chris has fished both years of the Elites, making his first Classic by finishing 20th in the points standings in 2007.

Chris said he doesn't need to give Bobby much guidance on his fishing, but he does plan to clue him in on what it takes to survive bass fishing's top circuit.

"What we're going to do is go down to our camp in Kissimmee and we're going to sit there and have a little round-table meeting," Chris said. "It's going to work out. When you step up to the Elite Series, you're stepping into a professional sport."

A little advice might be passed down on how to best market yourself, but both brothers said they don't plan on much sharing of information.

"Blood is thicker than water," Chris said, "but I think we'll do our own things. I may go to him and he'll give me a little bit of a pattern. And we'll talk; what does it look like they're feeding on, crayfish or shad?

"It's a hard road to get to the level that we're at. Me and Bobby didn't come from a lot of money. We've struggled. Over the past three years, I won a tournament, Bobby won one. I kind of started to get in a groove. You know that's your place you're going to be, you start to settle in, concentrate."

Oldest brother Arnie, 34, has also put his concentration into making the big leagues, as he plans to fish the Bassmaster Open series next year. Just possibly, in 2009, the Lanes could pull off a first with three brothers in the Classic.

"We going try to hammer it out," Bobby said. "That'd be a first."

"I think that's the step we're after," Chris said. "I think that (2008) is going to be great for (Bobby and me). The Classic has been a dream that all three of us as kids have had."

"If Arnie makes it, Lord help us all," Bobby said. "That would be a good time."

Also By This Author