Buzzer beater! Lane claims dramatic victory in the final minute on Kissimmee Chain

Florida pro’s last-minute 5-5 earns him 9-ounce win over Mark Davis

Chris Lane had no idea he was the winner of Stage One when it was time for lines out. 

 Photo by Garrick Dixon

KISSIMMEE, Fla – FEBRUARY 18, 2023 • “You’re kidding me?” Chris Lane asked his official in disbelief. “No sir, I’m not,” his official confirmed.

In one of the most memorable finishes in Bass Pro Tour history, Lane was able to leapfrog Bass Fishing Hall of Famer Mark Davis in the final minute of B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Grundéns. Lane needed a bass weighing 4 pounds, 12 ounces or more to cull and catch Davis. With less than 2 minutes remaining, Lane hooked into a 5-5 largemouth, landed it with less than a minute left, and was able to edge Davis by 9 ounces.

In what should have been a moment of celebration, Lane had no idea he had actually just won his first Bass Pro Tour event. Lane believed he needed more than a 7-pounder to catch Davis and thought the 5-5 was going to leave him shy. It wasn’t until time expired that Lane’s official informed him that he had, in fact, just won the event.

Of course, Lane expressed a signature ‘POW’, maybe with a little more spunk and emotion than usual. For Lane to win this event on a lake where he holds so many fond memories, it’s easy to see why the massive moment in his career moved him to tears.

“Right over there is Brahma Island,” Lane pointed out on Lake Kissimmee. “I learned how to fish there with my grandpa, my dad and my brothers. They taught us everything they knew out here. This one was for you, grandpa, and dad.”

Chris Lane made a last-minute catch to score the win. Photo by Garrick Dixon

Lane ended with a two-day total of 49-3. His best five on Saturday were 6-15, 5-5, 5-4, 4-5 and 4-4 all caught on a Bass Pro Shops Stik-O in black and blue. It’s a bait he stuck with all week because of its big-fish-catching capabilities, especially in the places he was fishing. The Florida native ran all over Lake Kissimmee all week looking for the right patches of pads and Kissimmee grass to throw at while also keeping his eye on the ever-changing conditions of the Sunshine State in February.

“I really played the conditions this week,” Lane said. “The wind has done a full 360 in this lake. Every day it was blowing in a different direction and I fished a lot of new water to kind of follow the wind. I was hitting everything so fast because you really have to if you want to stay competitive.”

The Bass Pro Shops pro entered Saturday in third place after a 23-2 bag on Friday. He was going to need to make up a lot of ground on Davis – 11-8 to be precise. But Lane insisted he never felt out of it for the entire day.

“I never thought that it wasn’t possible,” Lane said. “I knew one swing of the rod was all it was going to take. There are some big fish in these lakes, especially this time of the year. You just have to be in the right spot with the right bait. There’s 7-, 8-, 9- and 10-pounders all over this place.”

This win marks the ninth professional-level win of Lane’s career and his first win on the Bass Pro Tour.

“My wife has never missed a win for me, but she’s up at Guntersville with my son right now for his weigh-in,” Lane said, holding back tears. “I’m away from my family a lot, and to get a win here in my home state means a lot.”

Davis’ disappointment
On the other side of Lane’s heroics was Davis’ dejection. The Arkansas pro came into the final round with an impressive 10-pound lead over the rest of the field after catching a mega bag of 34-10 in the Knockout Round. But Davis’ confidence began to lessen when he saw the forecast for Saturday’s Championship Round.

“I knew there was going to be a cold front come through on Friday night,” Davis said. “I leaned on my fish in the Knockout Round really hard because I

The conditions gave Mark Davis a lot of trouble on the final day.

knew that they weren’t going to be there today. I was right and I just couldn’t adjust quick enough.”

With his water dirtied due to the stirred-up sediment, Davis was forced to leave the isolated reeds that proved so productive only a day ago. Davis was only able to manage 14 pounds of bass on Saturday, leaving the door open for Lane and the rest of the field to play catch up. A day that started off with so much promise and cushion ended with Davis wondering what had happened.

“It’s a bummer,” Davis shrugged. “You think you’re going to win and then you get the rug pulled out from under you at the last few seconds like that. There are no bones about it, I’m really disappointed.”

Notes from the day that was
– The second-best day behind Lane was Brent Ehrler who caught 25-4 to move up from 10th to fourth. He also had the big bass of the day with a 7-8.
– Ott DeFoe grabbed a third-place finish with Jordan Lee ending his day in ninth. Both are previous winners on the circuit and figure to be right in the mix In the Bally Bet Angler of the Year race.
– The highest-finishing rookie was Mitch Crane, who finished 15th to start his BPT career.
– The Bass Pro Tour regular season continues with U.S. Air Force Stage Two Presented by Power-Pole on March 18-23 at Cherokee and Douglas Lakes in Tennessee. But before that, REDCREST 2023 descends on Lake Norman in Charlotte, North Carolina March 8-12 where a new champion will be crowned and awarded $300,000.

Top 10 pros
1. Chris Lane – 49 – 03 (10)
2. Mark Davis – 48 – 10 (10)
3. Ott DeFoe – 45 – 13 (10)
4. Brent Ehrler – 43 – 15 (10)
5. Andy Morgan – 42 – 06 (10)
6. Dylan Hays – 36 – 10 (10)
7. Jeremy Lawyer – 36 – 00 (10)
8. Jesse Wiggins – 32 – 08 (10)
9. Jordan Lee – 28 – 09 (10)
10. Mark Rose – 23 – 10 (7)

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