Bobby Lane Leans on Junk Fishing
By Joel Shangle
July 11, 2017
NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Walking by MLF veteran Bobby Lane’s boat as he preps his tackle, it’s clear that the Florida native isn’t shy about mixing it up: Lane juggles a flippin’ rod and a frog rod in one hand, and a jerkbait rod and a light spinning setup for drop-shotting in the other. On deck lie several more rods for everything from a buzzbait to a squarebill to a Texas-rigged worm.
“I’m a true fan of junk fishing,” Lane chuckles.
It’s a style that has served “Big Fish” Bobby well: Lane has racked up 32 Top 10 finishes and 10 Bassmaster Classic appearances in 11 years on the Bassmaster Elite Series, and is a strong contender for the General Tire World Championship in Nacogdoches, Texas.
“I’m a guy that likes to shoot from the hip,” Lane admits. “Junk fishing to me is 10 rods on deck with 10 different style baits on. You’re open-minded. You can pick up the trolling motor and go somewhere you’ve never been, and just try something. If you caught 21 fish in a day, and you caught three fish apiece on seven different rods and reels, that’s a great day of junk fishing.”
Lane points to his Elimination Round victory at the 2017 Summit Cup on Wabana Lake in Minnesota as an example of a junk fishing at its finest: He caught 32 fish for 48 pounds, 5 ounces, on several different baits.
“That morning, I caught a few on a spinnerbait, a few on a drop-shot, and as the day went on, a few more looking at my graph with a drop-shot – I’d consider that different technique than casting a drop-shot,” Lane says. “The wind picked up and the sun came out in the afternoon, so my fish (from the morning) were toast, I’d already caught all of them. So, I picked up a jerkbait and went to wind-blown shoals where I could see the deeper water met up with the shallow water, and I jerked my way down shoals. That was almost 50 pounds of fish on five different baits. It was a nearly perfect day of junk fishing.”
Junk fishing at its peak now
A junk-fisherman’s mentality will be a benefit for the next three to four months as fish migrate to and from multiple depths, and relate to a variety of structure and cover through the balance of summer, into early fall.
“As those fish are so much in transition, now’s a great time to junk-fish,” he says. “Except for a place like the Tennessee Valley lakes, where fish all get offshore and one technique (deep cranking) dominates, almost everywhere across the United States, you can catch fish doing all kinds of different (techniques), all day long.”
However, it’s not a simple as just tying on multiple baits and fishing them randomly.
“Junk fishing is a skill,” Lane asserts. “You have to be diverse and skillful to be a good junk fisherman. It takes confidence in everything you have tied on. It’s not a dock-talk thing, where (somebody) says ‘They’re biting a swimbait’ or ‘They’re biting a crankbait or a frog’. It’s what you have confidence in. It’s when you pull up on that area, you choose your rod and throw that bait out there, you have to do it with 100 percent confidence in that bait.”