Despite a day of unrelenting rain, Chris Lane retained his lead Saturday on Day 3 of the Bassmaster Elite at the Sabine River.
Lane, of Guntersville, Ala., caught five bass that weighed 11 pounds, 3 ounces, good for a three-day total of 39-10.
But with flash-flood warnings in effect across the area Saturday night and muddy water flowing into the river’s maze of bayous and canals, Lane said Sunday’s final round may require a completely different approach if he hopes to score a rare wire-to-wire Elite Series victory.
“It was just a good day as far as I’m concerned, but I think everybody’s going to be thrown a curveball tomorrow with the mud and the rain,” Lane said. “I could be wrong. I’m going to hit a couple of the same spots I’ve been fishing early. But if it’s not happening, I’m going to make an adjustment right off the bat.”
Reigning Angler of the Year and Sportsman TV host Greg Hackney caught five fish for 9 pounds, 15 ounces - good enough for seventh place and a spot in the Top 12 who will fish on Sunday.
Cliff Crochet, of Pierre Part, only caught two fish Saturday, and finished in 45th place with a three-day total of 16-10.
Lane, who holds a slim lead over fellow Alabama angler Aaron Martens (37-9) and veteran Florida pro Shaw Grigsby (36-0), has been targeting shallow spawning fish all week in secluded ditches and canals where the water clarity was at least decent compared to other areas of the fishery.
But with good water clarity likely to be a thing of the past, Lane said he hopes to form a backup plan Saturday night in his hotel room.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do between now and takeoff in the morning, because I may have to do something totally different,” Lane said. “But that doesn’t bother me at all. It’s what we do. We love to go out there and figure out how to catch the fish when conditions are tough.”
Sunday’s final takeoff is scheduled for 7:10 a.m. at the City of Orange Boat Ramp, with the championship weigh-in scheduled back at the ramp at 4 p.m.
For a complete look at the Bassmaster Elite leaderboard, click here.