Bobby Lane Competing in his First MLF Cup After Being Crowned World Champion
By Joel Shangle
August 17, 2017
Maybe it’s the yellow jersey a la the Tour de France. Or maybe it’s just the fact that he’s the proud owner of an impressive new trophy, and an even more impressive new title.
Whatever the reason, 2017 Major League Fishing General Tire World Champion Bobby Lane has the look of the guy who’s leading the pack as he strolls into the boat yard in Alpena, Michigan. Lane is here with the 26 other MLF Cup anglers, competing on the lakes around Alpena County in the first Summit Cup since he was crowned World Champion.
“The minute I got here, saw the MLF banners and got into the flow of being at an MLF event, it’s like the World Championship was all rebirthed to me,” Lane says. “Everybody is saying ‘Congratulations! You’re the world champ!’. Man, I guess this thing really happened. I can’t even describe to you how great that feels.”
Lane’s post-Championship “victory tour” hit him even harder mid-week, when he, Jason Christie and Jeff Kriet greeted a packed house of fans at a meet-and-greet at a local pub/restaurant. Fresh off the recent airing of the World Championship on CBS-Sports, Lane’s performance on Lake Kurth in East Texas was the talk of the night.
And as he stooped over to sign the back of an 8-year-old fan’s shirt, Lane shook his head and smiled a “pinch me, I’m dreaming” smile.
“It’s every guy’s dream to be called a world champion,” Lane says. “I never would’ve imagined that I could do it in Major League Fishing. To be head-to-head with Kevin VanDam and Mark Davis – two of the best fishermen in history – and to beat out a guy like Jeff Kriet who was on a roll that week in Texas, it’s almost unbelievable to me.”
It’s been a dramatic turnaround – perhaps THE most dramatic in MLF history – for Lane, who finished dead last at the inaugural event in Del Rio, Texas (the Challenge Cup on Lake Amistad) in 2012, and then failed to advance out of the Elimination Round in three of the next four events he fished.
It’s an improvement that’s not lost on Lane.
“I struggled pretty hard early on (in MLF),” he admits. “I was just not good at this format. It’s just so completely different than the mentality that I have on the Elite Series. I’m glad I figured it out, though, because to look around at my peers and see guys who have done 10 times what I’ve done in my career, it puts me in a place that I had no idea I could ever be. The more people call me the world champ, the more I understand: I’m the WORLD CHAMPION! I better live up to that name.”