Lane’s Douglas Lake Tools
Coming off his lowest Elite Series finish of the year (78th at Bull Shoals), Bassmaster Classic champion Chris Lane is itching to get back on the water.
He won’t have to wait long though, as the next Elite event begins Thursday at Douglas Lake in Tennessee, a venue that like Bull Shoals, hasn’t hosted a lot of tour level events in the last several years. The Elite anglers won’t be as unfamiliar with Douglas as most were with Bull Shoals though, since many fished a BASS Open last year in June that was won by Bobby Ferguson with almost 62 pounds for three days. Lane was in the field of last summer’s Open, and finished a respectable 28th out of 159.
Despite it being a month earlier than last year’s stop, Lane is brimming with confidence as he looks ahead to the tournament. “I think it’s gonna be really good” Lane begins, “Douglas is a lake that produces a lot of very big fish, and I always love fishing lakes like that. The water levels should have most of the fish up shallow, which will make it a really fun tournament.”
Lane thinks that the spawn will still be a player in this one, saying “These Tennessee River lakes tend to bring their water levels back up around the end of April, so I really think we’re gonna hit it at just about as good a time as any, with pre, post and spawners all ready to be caught.”
I decided to forgo going into further details on how lane thinks the tournament will be won, what weights to expect and where it will be won, and instead asked the Legend Pro to give up the secrets and tell us three things he’s going to have tied on as he leaves the Marina for the first day of practice and how he thinks they will help him locate the winning fish.
Luck E Strike RC2 Crankbait-
Lane thinks the bass in Douglas will predominantly be in some stage of the spawn, and one of his favorite ways to quickly analyze the bass population in a water body is to cover water with a crankbait. “The RC2 is a great shad imitator, and shallow bass can’t resist a shad blowing by them. I plan on throwing the crankbait quite a bit as I am looking for the areas that I will fish the tournament in.”
For dialing in a shad bite around spawners and post-spawn fish, Lane relies heavily on standard shad patterns for his crankbaits and also keeps his presentation pretty simple. He throws the RC2 on a 7’ medium power; All Star crankbait rod paired with a 6.4:1 Revo SX and 15-17lb Stren fluorocarbon line, depending on the cover and depth he is fishing.
Luck E Strike Fast Lane Tube-
Since Chris expects the fish in Douglas to be pretty shallow, his Florida roots won’t allow him to leave the dock without something tied to the end of a flipping stick. In this case, he plans on using a Luck e Strike Fast Lane tube, the bait that he used to win the Classic.
About the Tube, Lane says “It’s a really versatile bait. I will flip it in the bushes for pre and immediate post-spawners, I love it for bed fish, and I will also cast it and work it slowly along the bottom like I did in Shreveport.”
He fishes the tube on a 7’6” heavy power; All Star flipping stick paired with a 6.4:1 Revo SX and 50lb Stren Sonic Braid line. He usually starts out with a ½ ounce weight and goes up or down in size depending on how the fish and cover are responding.
Gambler Cane Toad-
It might be a bit of a surprise to see that lane plans on fishing a toad in a lake with little vegetation, but Gambler’s toad is one of his all-time confidence baits. “A lot of guys think a soft plastic toad is only for vegetation, but they’re missing out on a lot of opportunities that way. I think the Cane Toad will play big in the backs of pockets, along rock walls and around flooded bushes.”
Lane’s toad setup includes the custom designed Gambler Chris Lane Double Trouble Toad Hook, a Revo SX in 7.1:1, 50lb Stren Sonic Braid and a 7’4” All Star frog rod.
Chris thinks the Douglas event will be a “good, old-fashioned bank beaters tournament” and his game plan will start out by determining whether the majority of the fish are pre or post-spawn. To do this, he starts on secondary points while he pays close attention to the shape of the fish he is catching. “If I’m catching a bunch of post-spawners on the points, then I know that the fish are almost done and I adjust accordingly. If the fish I am catching on the points are still fat, I know they are moving in and I can continue to move deeper into the pockets.”
Though there should be some fish on beds still, Lane thinks a lot of them will be too deep to see, so flipping and casting to the cover and bushes that attract spawners will be a major effort as he practices.
In the afternoons, he also plans to spend a lot of time throwing a topwater and has some prototype topwater baits he wants to keep secret but is looking forward to using in addition to the Cane Toad.
It’s not often that you get a professional tournament fisherman to open his mouth about how he is planning on catching them before a tournament, but Chris thinks “the baits themselves can only take you so far, and it’s the ability to adjust on the fly and make the right decisions that allows you to compete at the highest level.”
Fishing at the highest level is something that has been happening an awful lot for Chris as he continues his unbelievable 2012 campaign. Look for a post-tournament update after the Douglas event to find out if any of the baits he predicted wind up helping him in the tournament.