DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

CHRIS LANE LEADS ON THE ST. JOHNS RIVER

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 03/21/2014

Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos by Dave Rush and Matt Pangrac

Palatka,FL – Even though his current mailing address shows that he lives in Guntersville, Alabama, it’s no secret that Chris Lane loves fishing in Florida, the state that he lived in until 2009.  

On Friday, Lane changed the entire complexion of the Elite Series tournament on the St. Johns River when he crossed the stage with a five bass limit weighing 37-9.  With a two-day total weight of 56-4, Lane opened up a lead of 8-15 over his closest competitor.  

After leading Thursday’s opening round with a 27-3 limit, 2014 Bassmaster Classic champion Randy Howell slipped to 2nd place on Friday after weighing-in a 20-2 limit to push his total weight to 47-5.  

Justin Lucas took over the Rookie Of the Year race on the Elite Series on Friday after weighing-in a 24-15 limit that was anchored by a 10-2 kicker that bit on his last flip of the day.  With a total weight of 44-11, Lucas enters the weekend less than 12-pounds off the pace set by Lane.  

Mark Davis is off to a hot start in the 2014 season, boxing a 26-7 limit on Friday to finish the day in 4th place with 44-10.  After finishing in 3rd place last week on Lake Seminole, Davis is looking for another top finish this week in Florida.  

Paul Elias rounded out the Top 5 on Friday with a two-day total weight of 44-3.  After catching a limit of Florida bass weighing 19-5 on Thursday, the Mississippi pro weighed in 24-14 on Friday.   

Hometown favorite, Terry Scroggins, snuck inside the Top 50 cut in 50th place with a total weight of 28-14.  

The parade of big bass on Friday was led by Louisiana’s Greg Hackney, who wrangled a 10-10 beast from the St. Johns.   

1st Place: Chris Lane (18-11, 37-9: 56-4)
Lane’s initial thoughts on his 37-9 limit on Friday:
“I was in a zone out there.  I had a 3 ½-pounder in (the livewell) and I wanted to get that fish out of there so I fished my way back (to the weigh-in) even though I had around 30-pounds.  I caught the big one right towards the end of the day.  Instead of leaving and coming back early like I was telling myself to do, I didn’t.   I stayed focused because I know what this place can produce and I don’t want to mess around.  When you’re in a zone like that and the fish are biting and you’re dialed in, it’s an exciting thing.  It was just one of those days that I didn’t want to end.”

Lane on boating all of his big bites on Friday:
“It was all mental.  I got in a hurry yesterday with the fog delay and all of that.  Today, I just got dialed in really well.”  

Lane on his general technique:
“I’m flipping.  I’m pitching.  I’m casting.  I’m not sight fishing at all.  This time of the year in Florida, the fish push shallow regardless of if they’re spawning, they’re getting ready to spawn, or they're just off the spawn.  I’m really focusing on staying in the right depth to get the big bites.  If you get too shallow or deep, I don’t know if you’re going to get those giant bites.  The magic depth varies depending on where you’re at.”  

Lane on his late day flurry:
“I was on my way back and I was like, ‘Man, I’ve got time and things are going right, so don’t screw around and get back early.’ I started fishing my way back and went down a stretch where I had three or four bites in practice. I caught a 2-pounder, then I caught a 4-pounder, then I caught a 5-pounder and culled a 4-pounder.  There were two more sets of pads to fish and I told myself that I wasn’t going to quit.  I caught my giant one on the next pitch.”   

Lane on the overall significance of his giant limit:
“I’m looking at this as a four day tournament.  As bad as I wanted to sit out there and catch the giants that live here, I don’t want to be greedy.  This is the biggest sack that I’ve ever weighed-in, and I wanted to get in, weigh them in, and live to see tomorrow.”  

Lane on the current conditions of the St. Johns River:
“Monday (of practice) would have been a phenomenal day with that front pushing through.  With the cloud cover coming in (on Saturday) and the conditions being more like they were in practice, I think that tomorrow holds a good day for a lot of people.”  

Lane on how much weight he things it will take to win the tournament:
“I hope it takes over 100 (pounds).”

2nd Place: Randy Howell (27-3, 20-2: 47-5)
Howell on the Friday’s grind:
“It wasn’t nearly as smooth as yesterday, because I weighed-in two little ones today.  I had one that weighed 7-14, a 5 ½-pounder, 3-pounder, and two little ones.  My area got picked pretty good today because a lot of guys that were fishing up on the point drifted down today pretty early in the day and piled in all around.  

“Nobody caught a big bag around (that area), but one guy would catch a good one and then another guy would catch a good one.  They all came from the area that was right where I was wandering around.  Every fish that somebody else catches in a small area like that is one that you won’t catch.  That can definitely hurt.”

Howell on the potential to catch a giant limit in a matter of minutes when things line up:
“If you pull up and get two or three of those giant fish, it can happen quickly.  It seems like there are a lot of 8- to 10-pound bass in Lake George.  If you look at the other guys’ fish, it seems like a lot of them have three or four really little fish and then a couple of giants.   

“If you come across an area where there are a couple 8-pounders, you can cull out those little ones really quickly.  That’s exactly what happened to me late in the day yesterday when I caught an 8-pounder, 6 ½-pounder, and a 4-pounder in less than an hour. They all bed close together, so if you can find one there’s usually a few more close by.”

3rd Place: Justin Lucas (19-12, 24-15: 44-11)
Lucas on catching a 10-2 largemouth on his last cast of the day:
“It literally was on my last cast.  I caught that fish, put it in the livewell, picked up my Power-Poles, strapped my rods down, culled my littlest one, idled out of the area and took off.  I culled a 1 ¾-pounder, so it was a heck of an upgrade.

“I only had about 6-pounds in the livewell at 2:30, and I had to leave at 3:45 for weigh-in.  From 2:30 to 3:45, it was just incredible.”

Lucas on making a key move on Friday:
“I changed my area today.  Yesterday I fought the crowds and it just wasn’t happening for me.  I left that area without any keepers and really just stayed on the trolling motor for a long time until I came across those fish.  I was really fortunate that I did, because it could have just as easily gone the other way.

“I was catching 1-pounders off the beds to fill out my limit before I stumbled on the absolute honey hole.”  

Lucas on his hot start to the 2014 Elite Series season:
“It’s incredible.  I wanted to prove that I can catch them too, and I’m still learning as I go.  Since the beginning of last year I’ve dedicated a lot of time on the water and that has really helped me out. I want to keep things rolling and keep pushing myself.  The most important thing right now is that I’m making the right decisions.”       

DAY TWO STANDINGS

PlaceNameDay 1Day 2Total FishTotal Weight
FishWeightFishWeight
1 Chris Lane 5 18-11 5 37- 9 10 56- 4
2 Randy Howell 5 27- 3 5 20- 2 10 47- 5
3 Justin Lucas 5 19-12 5 24-15 10 44-11
4 Mark Davis 5 18- 3 5 26- 7 10 44-10
5 Paul Elias 5 19- 5 5 24-14 10 44- 3
6 Greg Hackney 5 20- 2 5 24- 0 10 44- 2
7 Keith Combs 5 14-12 5 28- 2 10 42-14
8 Alton Jones 5 18- 1 5 21-11 10 39-12
9 Mike Kernan 5 20-14 5 18- 2 10 39- 0
10 Davy Hite 5 24- 1 5 14- 7 10 38- 8
11 Dean Rojas 5 17-15 5 19- 7 10 37- 6
12 Takahiro Omori 5 22- 1 5 15- 2 10 37- 3
13 Jared Miller 5 14-11 5 21- 1 10 35-12
14 Bobby Lane 5 14-13 5 20- 0 10 34-13
15 Marty Robinson 5 24- 1 5 10-10 10 34-11
16 Jason Williamson 5 17-14 5 16-11 10 34- 9
17 David Walker 5 14- 7 5 20- 1 10 34- 8
18 Russ Lane 5 18-15 5 15- 9 10 34- 8
19 Matthew Herren 5 16- 3 5 18- 2 10 34- 5
20 Todd Faircloth 5 12-11 5 21- 2 10 33-13
21 Randall Tharp 5 18- 2 5 15-10 10 33-12
22 Gerald Swindle 5 11- 7 5 21-15 10 33- 6
23 Ott DeFoe 5 12-10 5 20-10 10 33- 4
24 Timmy Horton 5 17-11 5 15- 7 10 33- 2
25 Jacob Powroznik 5 15- 1 5 17-13 10 32-14
26 Mike McClelland 5 14- 1 5 18-10 10 32-11
27 David Mullins 5 12- 3 5 20- 5 10 32- 8
28 Andy Montgomery 5 22- 6 5 10- 1 10 32- 7
29 Stephen Kennedy 5 21- 6 5 10-14 10 32- 4
30 Pete Ponds 5 10- 7 5 21- 7 10 31-14
31 Casey Ashley 5 20- 9 5 11- 0 10 31- 9
32 Aaron Martens 5 16-15 5 14- 8 10 31- 7
33 James Niggemeyer 5 20- 5 5 10-15 10 31- 4
34 Grant Goldbeck 5 16- 2 5 14-15 10 31- 1
35 Jamie Horton 5 17- 9 5 13- 1 10 30-10
36 Kenyon Hill 5 15- 6 5 15- 4 10 30-10
37 Cliff Crochet 4 8- 5 5 22- 3 9 30- 8
38 Casey Scanlon 5 14- 9 5 15-15 10 30- 8
39 Scott Rook 5 16-10 5 13-12 10 30- 6
40 Fred Roumbanis 5 9-10 5 20-11 10 30- 5
41 John Murray 5 20-13 5 9- 7 10 30- 4
42 Bradley Roy 5 12- 4 5 18- 0 10 30- 4
43 John Crews 5 13- 6 5 16-13 10 30- 3
44 Brett Hite 5 13-13 5 16- 4 10 30- 1
45 Rick Morris 5 14- 6 5 15-10 10 30- 0
46 Chad Morgenthaler 5 14- 3 5 15- 1 10 29- 4
47 Jared Lintner 5 12-15 5 16- 4 10 29- 3
48 Nate Wellman 5 11-11 5 17- 5 10 29- 0
49 Jeff Kriet 5 14-11 5 14- 3 10 28-14
50 Terry Scroggins 5 14- 5 5 14- 9 10 28-14
51 Edwin Evers 5 10-14 5 17- 9 10 28- 7
52 J Todd Tucker 5 12- 5 5 15-15 10 28- 4
53 Jason Christie 4 8-12 5 19- 5 9 28- 1
54 Josh Bertrand 4 11-15 5 16- 0 9 27-15
55 Kenneth "Boo" Woods 5 9-13 5 18- 0 10 27-13
56 Cliff Prince 5 12- 8 5 15- 3 10 27-11
57 Brent Chapman 5 16-12 5 10-13 10 27- 9
58 Glenn Browne 5 15- 4 5 12- 3 10 27- 7
59 Hank Cherry 5 17- 2 5 10- 4 10 27- 6
60 Scott Ashmore 5 13-14 5 13- 2 10 27- 0
61 Derek Remitz 5 14-11 5 12- 4 10 26-15
62 Matt Reed 5 18- 9 5 8- 2 10 26-11
63 Dennis Tietje 5 9- 5 5 17- 6 10 26-11
64 Michael Iaconelli 5 8- 1 5 18- 8 10 26- 9
65 Rick Clunn 5 10- 9 5 14-15 10 25- 8
66 Bernie Schultz 5 11-14 5 13-10 10 25- 8
67 Tommy Biffle 5 11- 6 5 13-14 10 25- 4
68 Zell Rowland 5 17- 0 5 8- 2 10 25- 2
69 Brandon Lester 5 10- 5 5 14- 9 10 24-14
70 Kevin VanDam 5 9- 8 5 14-14 10 24- 6
71 Charlie Hartley 5 11- 1 5 13- 3 10 24- 4
72 Brandon Palaniuk 5 12-12 5 10-11 10 23- 7
73 Kevin Short 5 13-14 5 9- 8 10 23- 6
74 Cliff Pirch 5 8-12 5 14- 3 10 22-15
75 Fletcher Shryock 5 11-15 5 11- 0 10 22-15
76 Keith Poche 5 15-12 4 6-14 9 22-10
77 Brian Snowden 5 10- 4 5 12- 4 10 22- 8
78 Gary Klein 5 11- 0 5 11- 5 10 22- 5
79 Kurt Dove 5 8-15 5 12-14 10 21-13
80 Kelly Jordon 5 7-15 5 13- 7 10 21- 6
81 Skeet Reese 5 8- 2 5 13- 0 10 21- 2
82 Shaw Grigsby 5 12-10 5 7-15 10 20- 9
83 Byron Velvick 5 11-12 5 8- 9 10 20- 5
84 Greg Vinson 5 10-15 5 9- 5 10 20- 4
85 Chris Zaldain 5 9-14 5 10- 4 10 20- 2
86 Bill Lowen 5 7- 1 5 12-14 10 19-15
87 Chad Pipkens 5 9- 7 5 10- 0 10 19- 7
88 Kevin Hawk 5 10- 1 5 9- 3 10 19- 4
89 Joseph Sancho 5 11- 0 3 7-12 8 18-12
90 Yusuke Miyazaki 5 7-13 5 10-15 10 18-12
91 Boyd Duckett 3 10-13 5 7-15 8 18-12
92 Ish Monroe 5 13-13 3 4- 7 8 18- 4
93 Tracy Adams 5 12- 7 3 5-11 8 18- 2
94 Stephen Browning 5 10-11 4 7- 0 9 17-11
95 Billy McCaghren 5 11- 2 5 6- 8 10 17-10
96 Britt Myers 4 7-12 5 9-13 9 17- 9
97 Morizo Shimizu 5 9- 0 5 8- 4 10 17- 4
98 Jonathon VanDam 5 9-10 5 7- 8 10 17- 2
99 Jeremy Starks 5 7-13 5 8-10 10 16- 7
100 Brandon Card 5 7- 4 5 8-11 10 15-15
101 David Smith 5 15- 0 1 0-14 6 15-14
102 Michael Simonton 4 13- 4 1 1- 6 5 14-10
103 Trevor Romans 2 1-14 5 12-11 7 14- 9
104 James Elam 3 4- 7 5 10- 1 8 14- 8
105 Kotaro Kiriyama 3 5-15 5 8- 6 8 14- 5
106 Kelley Jaye 1 1-12 5 6- 9 6 8- 5
107 Byron Haseotes 4 6- 7     4 6- 7
108 Joel Baker 5 1- 8 1 3- 9 6 5- 1