Chris' strategy included abandoning the traditional fishing adage of "never leave fish to find fish." In other words, if you are fishing an area that you know holds fish and are catching them, it doesn't make sense to leave that area to go to another which may or may not have catchable fish. Chris, however, left areas where he was catching fish during all three days of the Classic. He admitted that the secondary areas he went to gave him fewer bites, but the fish were larger and allowed him to cull and upgrade his bag.
Lane, a Guntersville, AL fisherman, beat runner up Greg Vinson by more than 3 pounds with a total of 51 pounds, 6 ounces and took home the $500,000 winner's purse. He named two lures that he used to claim the victory. One was a Luck “E” Strike G4, a tube with a surprise inside. It has a new inner laminate of a contrasting chartreuse color (which Lane helped design) and the tube’s tentacles flash alternating colors on the fall. His other go-to lure was a Gambler Ugly Otter, a three-paddle soft plastic. He flipped the tube in shallow, stained water; he worked the Otter slowly in clearer water.
For a Classic winner, aside from the huge payday, their career is catapulted into a whole new realm of exposure and recognition. Sponsorship and appearance offers begin to flood in and with them bring a boost in income for anglers who may have been struggling just to meet expenses on the Elite Series or even the Opens the season before. Mike Iaconelli details the business strategy and talks about the advice he got from former Class winner Jay Yelas in his book "Fishing on the Edge." With these new opportunities come increased demands on their time, however, and many anglers follow up the highlight of their career with one of their worst seasons, simply because these new commitments take away from their focus and time on the water.
Over the years, top anglers have become a close-knit group and support group for each other and help each other through the highs and lows of a huge event like the Classic. Chris Lane seems like a great guy and seems like he will have a lot of guys pulling for him to follow up his Classic win with an awesome 2012. Wishing Chris all the best this year in the Elite Series!