Defending World Champion Lane Eyes Return to the Big Show
By Joel Shangle
May 31, 2018
VIDALIA, Louisiana – Even though the final outcome of Elimination Round 3 of the 2018 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup was a disappointment to Bobby Lane, the Florida-based pro is looking at the competition this month in the Lower Mississippi River Valley through “big picture” glasses.
Lane rocketed to the lead in the first period of his Elimination Round on the Black River-Cocodrie Lake Complex, boating 10 fish for 18 pounds, 9 ounces, but then stalled for five hours, catching no more scorable bass until the final hour of the day. Edwin Evers eventually snuck past Lane for a 1-13 margin of victory, which left the defending World Champion shaking his head.
“Nothing means more to me than to have a shot at defending that title,” Lane admitted.
“All I can say about that Elimination Round is that I lived to fish another day,” Lane said of his second- and third-round struggles. “At this point, it’s all about advancing as far as I can in this event and getting as many points as I can to get back to the World Championship.”
So far so good on that mission: Lane finished fourth overall at the 2018 Summit Cup in Alpena, Mich., earning 24 points and climbing from seventh place to fourth in the two-year cumulative points standings that decide the 12 spots in the World Championship.
With just two Sudden Death Rounds and the Championship Round remaining in this month’s Challenge Cup, Lane is guaranteed no worse than 18th place, which would give him a minimum of 10 points. That would bring his two-year point total to 57 points; the projected cut-off for the Top 12 and a World Championship berth is 56.
“Coming into this event, my goal here was just to fish my strengths – to fish what I know how to fish best, and to just be focused on making it to the next round – but being the reigning World Champion, nothing means more to me than to have a shot at defending that title,” Lane admitted. “This points format is so totally different than any other AOY structure any of us have fished because it’s a two-year total. There’s more riding on these Cup rounds now because we have two years of events that we’ve worked so hard in.”