Jason Christie has been a bass fisherman for more than 35 years, long enough that he can’t remember his first largemouth or even his first bass tournament, but chances are the Yamaha Pro won’t soon forget his Bassmaster® Elite victory on the Sabine River in Texas this past April.
During the four-day event, Christie ran approximately 70 miles each day to a tiny, remote creek where he could throw his spinnerbait or flip visible cover for four hours before beginning the long, tortuous run back to the weigh-in. There were no places to re-fuel along the way, so he was limited to 40 gallons of gasoline for the round-trip. That was only one of several on-going challenges he faced.
On the third day of competition, the river rose six feet and completely flooded the visible cover he’d been targeting. Christie had been leading the tournament since the second day, but just barely; entering the final day his lead had fallen to only 15 ounces.
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Sticking with a bold plan, but making key adjustments was the winning formula for Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., whose four-day total of 43 pounds, 15 ounces topped the Dovetail Games Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River sponsored by Bassmaster Fishing 2022 – the official video game of B.A.S.S.
Claiming his sixth Bassmaster victory, Christie posted his best effort on Day 1 with a second-place limit of 15-1. He took over the top spot on Friday by adding 13-14 and held that position on Day 3 with a limit of 6-12. He closed the deal with a Championship Sunday limit that weighed 8-4.
After entering the final round with a 15-ounce lead over Day 1 leader Brock Mosley, Christie edged Mosley by a margin of 1-6.
For four days, Christie committed the majority of his time to a narrow creek about two hours upriver from takeoff. Locating the spot in practice, Christie recognized its mix of shallow wood and cut banks as prime bass habitat, while the distant run discouraged all but one competitor from fishing the area.
“There’s a lot of backwaters downriver from this area, but then there’s like a 20-mile stretch where there’s nothing until you get to this spot,” Christie said. “The first two days of the event it was super treacherous to run; there were logs, sandbars, stuff like that. That’s what kept people from going up there."
By: Pete Robbins
Normally Jason Christie’s offseason would focus on deer hunting and family, and when he’s locked in on a particular deer it becomes an all-encompassing pursuit. This year, however, was quite different.
“I’ve been hunting a deer, one where we know each other by name, and I found myself in the stand looking at Google Earth images of the Sabine River,” said the 2020 Bassmaster Central Opens points champion. “I never do that.”
Indeed, while measures related to COVID-19 have not substantially altered the veteran Park Hill, Okla., pro’s life – “When I’m home, I have quarantined for 47 years,” he said – two years away from Bassmaster Elite Series competition has made him yearn to correct missed opportunities. During three past Elite trips to the Sabine he never finished better than 69th. For an angler who has been in the money three-quarters of the time elsewhere, that’s an aberration that needs to be corrected when he returns as a second-time first-year Elite in 2021.
As much as I love to compete on the Bassmaster Elite Series, it is nice to bring it down a few notches and enjoy a more relaxed element of the fishing industry. I got a good dose of this over the Labor Day weekend during the Jason Christie Children’s Fishing Derby, which was part of the Cherokee National Holiday.
This annual event brings together all the Cherokee tribes and visitors from all over to the Cherokee Nation capital in Tahlequah, Okla. There are all kinds of activities from softball and volleyball tournaments, to arts and crafts, a rodeo, an inter-tribal powwow – something for everybody.
We’ve been doing the kids fishing event for several years and although it started out as a tournament, that got to be a little difficult to manage. Instead we’ve made it a fun fishing event where kids get to tug on a few fish and enjoy it all at their own pace. Jimmy Houston comes out and interacts with the kids and adults, and it all seemed to go really well.
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You might think that with the first Elite event of 2018 in the books that I’ll be shifting gears into 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods mode. That’s not incorrect, but it’s not something that’s on my to-do list — we’re already there.
In fact, the thinking and planning started as soon as I left Lake Martin. Not that you wouldn’t always be planning for the next event, but this one’s different. It’s the Classic, so the focus is even more intense.
Dateline: Elite One
“…I’m not sure but I think it came down to one fish…”
Second place in 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year
I am not a fan of point systems in sports....
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Most of the time, we talk about staying near the bait. You find the food and the fish are going to be somewhere close. Well, this winter has had such a strong impact that I’m taking a different approach.
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By Todd Ceisner
This time around, Jason Christie is hoping an old-school approach leads to a different outcome.
When the Bassmaster Classic makes its second stop in 4 years at Grand Lake next March, Christie won’t be staying at a lavish lake house with a large group of people like he did in 2013. He plans on roughing it BFL-style, just like the earlier days of his tournament career.
“I’ve got a buddy who has a 10-by-10 apartment in his garage and that’s where I’m going to stay,” Christie said. “I just want to limit the distractions and focus on what’s in front of me.”
As he sees it, what’s in front of him will be a prime shot at redemption, a second chance to make a lasting impression in an event where anything short of winning is considered a failure. It’s all part of a different tactical approach Christie is taking as he prepares for his fourth career Classic.
Patterns and Lures Used
2nd: Jason Christie
> Day 1: 5, 37-04
> Day 2: 5, 26-08
> Day 3: 5, 23-12
> Total = 15, 87-12
Christie is a superb flipper, but he'd pretty much made up his mind that he was going to fish offshore long before he arrived in Quitman, Texas.
"I practiced shallow for 4 or 5 hours and checked out the flooded willows, but I felt like it was going to be won out," he said. "I could catch a couple of 5-pounders up shallow, but I could go out deep and catch a couple of 7-pounders."
He developed a string of about 15 places that had the potential to surrender quality fish – some that he'd fished in last year's TTBC and others that he discovered in practice.
"The problem was that I didn't have any of them to myself," he said. "I spent a lot of time idling, looking for a place that nobody else would find, but I just couldn't do it.
"Out of the 15 places I had, the majority might have three big ones on it at a given time, but not a whole school. Catching them was a timing deal – you had to hope they were ready to eat when you pulled up."
He led the field after each of the first 2 days and his day-1 stringer was the biggest of the tournament. It included a 10-01 brute that stood up as the big fish of the event until Ehrler roped a 10-11 in the final hour of the last day.
Gill North America would like to announce additions to their Gill Pro Fishing Team with five anglers joining current pro Dean Rojas wearing Gill in 2015. Jason Christie, Russ Lane Randall Tharp, Jared Lintner and Michael Neal all have a history with Gill and will be wearing Gill Technical Fishing Gear during the upcoming season. With their tournament seasons beginning in cold weather and ending in the summer conditions a wide range of technical clothing is needed to keep them performing at the highest levels. Gill has a 40 year history developing superior ultra-technical clothing for the marine and sailing industry. Gill and its' team of winning designers are now using that experience combined with feedback from professional anglers to develop dominant garments for fishing in any condition. Each angler had the following comments about their new Gill relationship:
Jason Christie. “I have been wearing Gill rainwear during my entire professional career. I always bought the best on the market. Gill will keep me fishing no matter what the weather.”
Randall Tharp. “I am honored and excited to be a part of Gill’s pro angler team. I have relied on Gill for years to keep me comfortable on the water so I can stay focused on catching fish.”
Russ Lane. "I was introduced to Gill rainwear several years ago at ICAST and was amazed to learn all of the things that go into making their garments. They really get it. They understand how important it is for a tournament fisherman to be comfortable, warm, dry and able to move freely during an 8 hour tournament day. Their attention to detail is what sets them apart from any other. I'm looking forward to learning even more about Gill's rainwear and layering garments so that I can help educate everyone on how to be more comfortable while on the water."
Jared Lintner. “I am very excited to be part of the GILL Pro staff. Having foul weather that provides dryness, warmth and comfort will prove to be a huge asset in 2015.”
Michael Neal. “I am extremely happy to be a part of the best rainwear on the market. Having Gill wear during this 2015 season will give me a complete ease of mind while out on the water. In the past, I have had to worry about getting wet and staying dry. While wearing Gill, I no longer have to worry about these and can concentrate solely on the task at hand. “
For more information about Gill please visit www.gillfishing.com.
The Garmin marine pro team is expanding! Jason Christie, the number one ranked bass fisherman in the world, and Greg Hackney, the 2014 Bassmaster Angler of the Year, join a host of fishermen that will be representing Garmin and its new line of sonar and GPS devices designed specifically for freshwater anglers across the B.A.S.S. Elite Series and FLW Tour bass fishing circuits in 2015.
In the last five years, professional angler Jason Christie has had five wins on a national level with a career total of 10 FLW wins and three B.A.S.S. Elite wins. A native of Oklahoma, Christie currently holds the number one BassFan World Ranking for the second consecutive year.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to join the Garmin team,” said Christie. “In our profession, seeing is believing and from what I’ve seen – especially the clear fish returns and precise map detail – I know Garmin is going to give me the competitive advantage on the water.”
Read more of the press release here.
Visit Garmin Marine for product availability and information.