Josie angler tightens Bassmaster title in weekend tourney

Published 7:09 pm Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Angler Russ Lane of Prattville won the first leg of the Elite Series The Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year Tournament on Lake Jordan over the weekend.

Russ Lane might not be a household name around Troy just yet but he sure has made his grandparents, Hubbard and Mattie Renfroe of the Josie community, mighty proud.

“Our son, Curtis, took us to the weigh-ins in Wetumpka on Saturday and Sunday,” Mattie Renfroe said. “We wanted to be there to support our grandson.”

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The Renfroes weren’t the only ones who were there in support of Lane at the final weigh-in of the Ramada Trophy Chase Lake Jordan.

“It seemed like half of Prattville was there,” his grandmother said with a smile. “He really had the support of his hometown.”

For a while it seemed like the support might be a little too much.

“About 40 boats were following him around the lake all day,” Renfroe said. “He really appreciated all the support, but I wonder if it didn’t make him a little nervous.”

At one point, Lane hooked a big one – four pounds or more — and got the bass in the boat.

“But it flopped back out in the water,” Renfroe said. “But it was still hooked so he got it back in the boat. But the next time, he wasn’t so lucky. He hooked another big one, about six pounds. He was trying to get it up to where he could get it in the boat but it went under the boat and jerked so hard that it pulled the rod and reel out of Russ’ hands. The fish took off and the rod and all was so heavy that it went under the water. Somebody got that on camera and they were showing it at the weigh-in. Russ said that was the worst day he ever had on the water.”

For Lane, it might have been the worst of times but it was also the best of times.

He started the day in a three-way tie for ninth place among the Toyota 12 but he hauled in the most weight, 32 pounds and three ounces, to move into second place, only five points behind the leader Skeet Reese.

As the winner of the first leg of the Bassmaster Elite Series Ramada Trophy Chase on Lake Jordan, Lane picked up an $80,000 truck and boat combo and is in an enviable position going into the final leg of the post-season tournament, the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph, with fishing on the Alabama River July 30 and 31. The weigh-ins will be in Montgomery and the Renfroes will be there.

“We don’t want to miss it,” Renfroe said. “If nothing happens, we’ll be there to support Russ. “He’s fished Lake Jordan and the Alabama River for a long time so I hope that will help him find the fish.”

Renfroe said her grandson has always loved to fish and has dunked a lot of worms right here in Pike County.

“Oh, his granddaddy and I took him fishing on ponds around here and the two of them set out hooks on the creek,” she said. “One time, when Russ was just a little boy, we took him fishing at the Newmans’ over on the other road. A day or two later, he struck out across the fields back to the pond. The Newmans saw him down there and they let him be. He’s just always loved to fish.”

Renfroe said Lane and a friend began fishing small local tournaments and before long they started winning.

“That was the beginning of him wanting to fish professionally,” she said.

“He loves what he does and we are so proud that he’s able to do what he loves.”

Lane is the son of Elaine Renfroe Stoddard of Prattville. His first season as a Bassmaster Elite Series pro was 2006. He also has a business teaching aspiring tournament anglers.