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PRADCO Fishing
Published September 7, 2012

Any angler can go randomly flipping around grass or cover and catch a few bass. That should not surprise anyone, but why just settle for a few fish when you can catch more and better bass. The key to better flipping comes from knowing when to fish a quick-sinking lure or a slow-falling lure, and what to do after the lure settles to the bottom.

FLW Tour and B.A.S.S. professional angler Jason Christie always thinks flipping first when approaching a tournament. He's so good at it, he even has a new signature series flipping rod coming out.

Jason ChristieCatching better bass for Christie comes down to how fast the lure falls, or "rate of fall."

"For me, I pick the lure and weight by the water clarity," he said. "The clearer the water; the faster I want the lure to fall."

Christie says that when fishing impoundments with gin clear water, like Beaver Lake and Table Rock, he wants a fast falling lure anytime the water temperature is more than 70 degrees. When water temperature gets very cold, however, he'll begin considering a slower-sinking jig for his flipping.

The technique of flipping is done on a short line. With the reel in free spool and thumb holding the spool motionless, the angler takes the jig in his off hand (the one not holding the rod) and swings the rod to pendulum the bait toward a target in the cover, while removing the tension his thumb has been applying to the spool. The result is that the lure hits the target as quietly as possible, right in the face of the bass. Bass then strike the lure out of a feeding response or reaction strike. Christie believes that more than 75 percent of the strikes he gets while flipping are reaction strikes.

"You know, it's hard to tell if it's a reaction strike or a feeding strike when you flip it in and you get a bite," he said. "In practice sometimes, I'll flip the jig in there, get a strike and not jerk; the bass swims a couple feet and drops the lure. I think that's a reaction bite. Then, sometimes the bass will swim and swim and swim with it. I think that's a feeding bite."

Christie believes that flipping a lure next to cover or structure is like putting it into their living room. You will get a reaction of some kind from the bass.

"That's why it's such a good technique to catch bass everywhere across the country. It can be either a feeding response or reaction strike."
 
For Christie, lure selection depends on the time of the year. A large percentage of the time, Christie uses a heavy BOOYAH jig with a soft-plastic crawfish trailer, or simply the soft plastic alone. Lately, he said he's been using the YUM Wooly Bug (Texas-rigged, sans jig). Color combinations are black-and-blue or green pumpkin.

Selecting line for flipping is a challenge for every angler simply due to the massive number of styles and sizes. Christie keeps it simple. (Why not? It's been the foundation of his success.)

"I like to use fluorocarbon fishing line when flipping; in fact that's what I use almost always, regardless of technique. Although, I do use braid when flipping grass mats or sometimes around vegetation," explained Christie.

Christie warns anglers considering sink-rate to think about more than just the weight of the jig or sinker. A bulky trailer like a 4½-inch YUM F2 Mighty Bug is going to fall a lot slower than the 3 ¼-inch Wooly Bug. The number of appendages sticking or shape - flat versus round -- out will also make a difference in the sink rate.

The style of the lure can also make a difference. A ribbon tail worm flipped into a grass mat just doesn't work. The tail will wrap around every little piece of grass not allowing it to fall. Good soft plastics for flipping or "punching" grass features a compact body and short appendages, such as the YUM F2 Big Show Craw.
Randomly flipping around cover or structure catches a few bass, but you'll catch more fish by following Christie's advice and accurately flipping the right lure. It takes practice, but when you can put a jig into a coffee cup from 10-feet away, nine out of 10 times, you'll be ready.

Skipping Rocks, Doc(k)!

Dock after dock after dock -- all day long it was the same thing. Some of the docks had one bass under them and others had two or three. It was proving to be the best way to get a quality bite, but the technique required just the right touch.

"It's like skipping rocks, only you are using a fishing pole and a lure," said Beaver Lake fishing guide Brad Wiegmann.

YUM Big Show CrawThe skipping technique is all about having the right angle. When skipping light lures it's best to use a spinning rig. Leave about 14 inches from lure to the end of the rod, open the bail and bring the rod back parallel or slight pointing toward the water. Then, simply use a sidearm cast to skip the lure to its destination. It's skipping a heavier lure with a baitcasting rig that gives some anglers fits.

"Put the reel on free-spool and use adequate force to swing the lure parallel to the water," Wiegmann said. "After the lure stops, take your pocket knife and cut out the tangled mess. Retie and repeat, until you have no more over-priced fluorocarbon line on your reel. Lay down this pole and grab the next, and repeat the process until all the line is removed. At this point, it's customary to say 'the he#% with it,' grab a topwater rod and go throw a Zara Spook."

Seriously, though, Wiegmann did eventually provide useful instructions on skipping with a baitcaster, once he stopped laughing at his hilarious joke. He suggests setting the brake on the reel to the level where the line comes off smoothly, and re-adjusting it each time you change lures.

"Once set, the only brake is your thumb, so use it wisely," he said. "Side-arm similar to the way it's done with a spinning rig, in one fluid motion. While the lure is skipping, the angler should be lightly feathering the line."

Wiegmann noted that he uses a wacky rig in early spring around docks and walkways near where fish are staging to spawn. He switches to a white BOOYAH jig with a white grub once the shad spawn gets rolling. During summer, Wiegmann likes a Mighty Craw in watermelon red to mimic a panicked bream or bluegill.

 

From

Brad Wiegmann

Article also posted on Lurenet.com and OutdoorsFirst.com

courtesy Bassfan

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

By Todd Ceisner
BassFan Editor

 

Photo: B.A.S.S./James Overstreet

Jason Christie collected his
second Bassmaster Open
trophy of the season at
Fort Gibson.

When Jason Christie won the Detroit River Bassmaster Northern Open last month, it was truly a special accomplishment. The FLW Tour pro knew winning an Open this year was going to be the only way he’d qualify to fish next year’s Bassmaster Classic, slated for his home waters of Grand Lake in Oklahoma.

With the Classic berth in his pocket, he chose to fish last week’s Fort Gibson Lake Central Open essentially just for kicks. It’s about 25 miles from his home and he’s fished it many times before. He put in very little on-the-water prep time – 2 hours, actually – and wound up just fishing his instincts and a couple memories around the Grand River reservoir.

It resulted in another victory for him, a surprising result considering he had four fish on day 2 and had to overcome a 4-plus pound deficit on the final day.

“It was highly unexpected,” he said. “I don’t live far from there and I’ve fished over there quite a bit. I just got in it because it was close to the house.”

He was the only angler in the field to pop at least 14 pounds twice during the 3-day event and his 40-15 total wound up nearly 2 pounds heavier than runner-up Kevin Short, the Elite Series pro who led after day 1 and was gunning for a Classic berth of his own.

“There’s nothing sweeter than making the Classic,” Christie said, recounting his Detroit River triumph. “I was way out of my element, catching (smallmouth) on a big, ol’ lake with the Classic berth at stake. This was definitely pretty sweet, though. There were a lot of people at the weigh-in rooting for me and especially to come from behind, it was special.”

Here’s how he did it.

Practice

Christie figures he was on the water for 2 hours total prior to the tournament. He took Labor Day (first day of official practice) off and spent it with his family and then had a mechanical issue force him off the water the following day. During the abbreviated practice, he ran a 10-mile stretch of the lake and found boats everywhere.

He had originally thought the remnants of Hurricane Isaac would dump a bunch of water in the lake and flood the bushes and put more shoreline cover into play. In the end, though, the lake fished small as usual.

“It was crowded beyond your imagination,” he said. “Right then, I told myself there was no use in getting caught up in practice. About 90 percent of the guys were fishing the bank and the other 10 were fishing out. Right there, that told me that I wouldn’t be able to pick a point or run points. I was just going to have to go fishing. So those 2 hours were really good.

“That’s probably the best thing that happened for me because I wasn’t fishing anything that I couldn’t see. I wasn’t fishing anything underneath the water. I wasn’t tied up on any places and I wasn’t thinking, ‘I need to start here or go there.’ I just drove down the lake and if the wind was hitting the bank on this side, I’d hit it, or if I came across a stretch of docks, I’d fish it. It was just fishing. It was actually pretty fun and I’d like to start doing that more.”

Competition

> Day 1: 5, 14-00
> Day 2: 4, 11-00
> Day 3: 5, 15-15
> Total = 14, 40-15

He drew boat No. 3 on the first day of competition, but the advantages that come with being among the first to blast off were quickly diminished when within a minute of pulling into his first spot, boats were immediately flanking him 100 yards to either side.

“It was just a grind,” he said. “People at the weigh-in or watching on the computer see a guy come in with 15 pounds and they say, ‘Wow, he smoked ‘em today.’ Well, they don’t know that I got six bites all day long.”

On day 1, he picked up three bites right away on a topwater and then had three more flipping docks later in the day. His best five weighed 14-00, good enough for 9th place.

“All day long from takeoff to weigh-in, I was just fishing as hard as I could just trying to get a bite,” he said.

The conditions on day 2 brought heavy winds that blew consistently in the 40-mph range. As a result the bite toughened for just about everyone in the field, including Christie who turned to an old trusty bait – a Rebel Wee-R square bill crankbait – that produced three of his four weigh fish.

“It’s a bait that my uncle threw years and years ago and it’s something I’ve always had in my tackle box,” he said. “It’s just one of those baits that whenever it gets tough I know I can catch a bass.”

He said the bait was the perfect size to match the smaller-than-usual shad at Gibson this year.

“I can reel that bait really fast and it runs dead on,” he added. “It’s just a confidence bait for me.”

Despite losing a 4 1/2-pounder that would have put him near the lead, his 11-pound total for the day advanced him four places in the standings to 5th heading into the final day.

He stuck with his strategy to target isolated pieces of shallow structure on day 3, enduring a slow spell in the morning before the bite picked up around noon."I'd get a bite early, but then it seemed like it was dead until 12 or 12:30," he said. "On the second day, I had a lot of spectators follow me and they pretty much gave up at 9:30 or 10. What I think was happening was those shad were down until about noon when the sun got real high. Then, the shad would come up and the fish would come with them. I didn't see any activity until about 12 or 1 and then you'd see one bust the shad."

The One Knocker Spook produced a keeper on day 3, but the balance of his stringer came on the square bill.

"I caught some off docks, some off stumps, some off rocks," he noted. "It was literally, one here and one there. It was make as many casts as you can throughout the day to see if you could catch five."

His 15-15 final-day sack was the second-best of the event behind Short's day-1 catch of 16-11.

Winning Pattern Notes

> The popular belief was that the winning fish at Gibson would be caught deep. That wasn't the case at all as all of Christie's fish came out of 2 feet of water or less.

While just about everything he fished were visible targets – docks, logs, stumps, rocks – he focused a lot on the movements of the schools of shad swimming throughout the lake.

"Another thing I was doing was throwing my square bill into the school of shad and I caught a couple weigh fish that way," he said. "You wanted to try to cut the shad in half and every now and then you'd get a bite out of them."

Winning Gear Notes

> Topwater gear: 6'6" medium-heavy Falcon casting rod, Quantum Smoke PT casting reel (7.3:1 ratio), unnamed 30-pound braid (main line), 15-pound Silver Thread fluorocarbon line (leader), Heddon One Knocker Spook (bone).

> Square bill crankbait gear: 7' medium-action Falcon casting rod, same reel, 20-pound Silver Thread fluorocarbon line, Rebel Wee-R (Tennessee shad).

> Flipping gear: 7'3" heavy-action Falcon casting rod, same reel, 20-pound Silver Thread fluorocarbon line, 3/8-ounce XCalibur Tg Bullet Weight, 5/0 XCalibur offset hook, 4.25" Yum Wooly Bug (green-pumpkin).

The Bottom Line

> Main factor in his success – "My HyrdoWave. I'm really starting to get more confidence in using that thing and am starting to figure some things out. I still don't have it all the way figured out. The first day I pulled into a small pocket at the end of the day and there was boat on either side. I pulled in and caught a little one, maybe a 12-incher and the guy across the other side about 30 yards caught one and the guy in the back caught one. Then I caught and culled one. I asked the other guys, 'They been biting like this all day?' He said, 'Dude, you're good luck. Nobody had a bite until you pulled in.' I just think that the HydroWave makes them bite. They didn't bite like that all day for me, but there were fish in that area the last part of the day that I got around and they got to biting."

> Performance edge – "This can be another tournament that you can chalk up that I wouldn't have won had it not been for my Power-Poles. In the afternoon on the 2nd day, we had 35- to 40-mph winds and probably 20 to 25 on the 3rd day and when I got to a piece of cover that I thought was holding a fish, I just staked my claim and put them down. Without a doubt, you wouldn't be talking to me if I didn't have them."

Notable

> Christie's victory at Fort Gibson won't make him a double-qualifier for the Classic since it was the only Central Open he fished this year. Open winners are required to fish all three events in that particular division in order to claim the Classic berth.

> Christie will be fishing the Arkansas River PAA event this week. "It's my kind of fishing," he said. "I haven't gotten to fish out there a lot in the last 6 or 8 years so I'm excited to go. It'll be a smaller field from what I'm used to fishing so it'll be fun to be able to run around and actually fish. I'm looking forward to it."

courtesy Jason Christie
 
By Ken Duke
Sep 8, 2012
 
   (Photo by James Overstreet) Courtesy BASS

Wagoner, Okla. — With all the challenges facing anglers at the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Fort Gibson Lake, it only seems logical that an Oklahoman would take the top prize.

Jason Christie of Park Hill did just that, posting the second heaviest catch of the tournament in the final round to edge Arkansas Elite Series pro Kevin Short by almost two pounds. Christie’s Day 3 limit of largemouth bass weighed 15 pounds, 15 ounces and gave him a total of 40-15 for the tournament. Short finished with 39-0.

Though a lot of experts thought the winning catch would come from deep water, Christie relied on the shallows for his catch. All of his bass struck in two feet of water or less.

“I knew a lot of guys would be looking deeper,” he said, “but deep water bass just aren’t as reliable for me. You catch ‘em today, and they’re gone tomorrow.”

Christie fished flats in the Whitehorn Cove area of the lake, looking for isolated rocks, logs or anything else that might hold bass. He relied heavily on his Power-Poles to hold his boat in stiff winds so he could focus on fishing rather than boat control, saying that without the shallow water anchor system he could not have won the tournament.

When it came to lure selection, Christie kept things simple.

“I’m an old-school bass fisherman,” he said. “I don’t carry a lot of different baits in my boat. This week I used three baits to catch all my bass: an old Rebel Wee-R crankbait, a Heddon One Knocker Spook and a Yum Wooly Bug.”

The crankbait is long out of production, but Christie calls it “the classic square-bill.”

“I like it because I can crank it as fast as I want and it won’t roll over on me.” He added that some recent successes on the tournament trail may bring the lure back into production.

Short caught his bass on a trio of baits, as well: a Peeper’s Baits Deuce topwater prop bait, a WEC-E1 crankbait made by Ed Chambers of Zoom Baits fame and a Zoom Baby Brush Hog. Short’s “fish-my-butt-off-pattern” fell just shy of the finish line tape,

“Fishing was tougher today,” Short said. “The first two days I had a limit on the Deuce by 9:30, but not today. I struggled to get bites after the front came through.”

Pre-tournament favorite and lakeside resident Tommy Biffle rebounded after a slow first day to finish fourth with 35-5. He used his namesake Biffle Bug in the Sooner Run color to catch every bass he took the scales. In 2010 he used the same bait in the same hue to win an Elite Series tournament on Fort Gibson.

For his efforts, Christie takes home cash and a Triton 19SE and 200 HP Mercury Optimax boat and motor package. He did not compete in all of the Central Opens this year, but had already earned a 2013 Bassmaster Classic berth by virtue of his Northern Open win on the Detroit River in July. Christie calls Grand Lake — site of the 2013 Classic, Feb. 22-24 — his home water and he’ll be a pre-tournament favorite to win the greatest championship in all of bass fishing.

Read the entire story on BASSMaster.com

Detroit River Open winning pattern.

By Todd Ceisner
BassFan Editor

Article from Bassfan Icon

Jason ChristieJason Christie admits his comfort level at places like Lake St. Clair isn’t what it is at other fisheries. It's because Lake St. Clair, to the untrained eye, isn't like other fisheries. Its lack of prominent fish-holding features other lakes are known for, such as timber or ledges, can make it a little intimidating for the uninitiated.

It’s safe to say he’s probably a little more comfortable now than he was a week ago.

“Those flat, bowl kind of lakes are still a little new to me,” he said. “They’re hard for me to find the fish because you can’t anticipate where they’re going to be at. You can’t look at the map and see where you think they might be, for the most part. There aren’t a lot of contour changes so you just have to fish and somewhat use your mapping to find the little places.” A “little place” turned out to be the overwhelming factor in his winning the Detroit River Bassmaster Northern Open last week. He caught 67-04 over 3 days to claim his first B.A.S.S. win and clinch a berth in next year’s Bassmaster Classic, slated to be held at Grand Lake, about 75 miles from his home in Park Hill, Okla.

He spent the first 2 days of the event in 2nd place, chasing Brian Metry, who led after day 1 and 2. On day 3, he walloped 22-13 to overtake Metry and beat Brian Ward, who wound up 2nd with 65-09.

“It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “Once I get back (home) and everything settles down I’ll start thinking about it a little bit. (The Classic’s) going to be a fun event for me whether I catch them or not. I can’t tell you how many emails and text messages I’ve already received in the past 24 hours and hardly any of them have to do with the Detroit River. They all have to do with the Classic. It’ll be fun.”

He weighed nothing but smallmouth, which was expected, but as seems to be the case at St. Clair, it’s all about location.

Here’s how he did it.

Practice

Christie said he stumbled upon a small area the Sunday before the tournament and caught a couple solid fish that had already put some post-spawn weight on.

“Every other fish was skinny, but these fish were really fat,” he said. “They were around a 5- to 10-acre sand flat with grass patches that almost seemed like they were strategically placed. They were almost a perfect distance apart and they were really isolated. I didn’t know it at the time, but as I fished it more I saw it on the graph.

“I got those two bites and pretty much wrote it off, but on the last day of practice I went back to it and fished around the area and I found a concentration of fish there. I caught a couple over 4 and pretty much decided that was the only place I’d found any quality fish that had fed up after the spawn.”

Christie said the chatter among the locals in practice focused on the river bite beginning to turn on and how the lake was starting to decline. He took that to mean he needed to be somewhere in the middle, which was where his spot happened to be.

“That was one of the things that led me to the mouth of the river,” he said. “I figured if the river was getting good and the fish are migrating, I needed to be around the mouth of the river to catch them on the migration. I was on a straight line from the lake to the mouth of the river. I was just hoping that’s where the fish were migrating through.

“Whenever I’d sit there for an hour and not get a bite, I kept thinking there had to be more coming. Then you’d catch three in a row. I don’t know if that was actually going on, but I was leading myself to believe that.”

Competition

> Day 1: 5, 23-00
> Day 2: 5, 21-07
> Day 3: 5, 22-13
> Total = 15, 67-04

Having just the one confidence area, that’s where Christie spend day 1 amidst constant rainfall, which some anticipated would knock down the weights.

His 23-00 stringer included a 6-pounder and saw him trail Metry by just 5 ounces.

“I remember several times saying to my co-angler, ‘They’re not biting today,’” he said. “I wasn’t getting very many bites and neither was he, but whenever we got one it was a good one. They were 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds. I just didn’t think they were biting at all and then I got to the weigh-in and I was seeing the weights and, even though I had a big bag, I didn’t know if I was around the right ones.”

On day 2, he was able to get dialed in more to the area he was fishing where the water ranged from 13 to 15 feet deep. It resulted in a 21-07 bag that kept him in 2nd place.

“I kept thinking I was fishing 5 to 8 acres and all I needed to do was expand a little bit,” he said. “I didn’t really do a lot of that during practice or on the first day. Every time I’d try to expand I wouldn’t get any bites.

“On day 2, I took the 6 acres and narrowed it down to about an acre-and-a-half. I really figured out where they were concentrated. It was almost like a perfect square and on the corners there were patches of cabbage 3 or 4 feet off the bottom and in the center of the square was a patch of eelgrass that was the size of my truck. I’d go corner to corner and stay on the outside.

“I’d fish the outer edges for an hour or hour and a half and then I’d ease into the center and fish there. I’d catch a random good one on the outside edge and one or two good ones every time I’d go into the center.”

Knowing what was on the line heading out for day 3, he was curiously relaxed as he trusted the area would again produce quality bites. His 22-13 was the heaviest stringer among the 12 contestants who fished the final day.

“I probably had more confidence in my area on the third day than I did at any other time,” he said. “I was getting that little box narrowed down. For some reason on the third day, I was calmer than I’d ever been in any tournament at any time. I knew that’s where it could be won at and I knew that I had figured out how to catch them. I just had to get lucky and get them in the boat.”

Winning Pattern Notes

> While the small area he fished ultimately proved to be paramount to his success, triggering bites from the key fish was essential as well. Typical smallmouth spinning tackle wasn’t suited for the violent rips and jerks Christie used when presenting his tube.

He said the fish would devour on the fall each time.

“Up until 10 o’clock, I’d rip it and I’d reel up the slack and go to rip it again and the fish would already be on there,” he said. “By 10:30 or 11, when I’d rip it, it would get up to the peak and they’d hit it then and it would throw slack into my line. They were coming up and crushing it and they’d have it in their throat every time.”

> Another key element was his use of a HydroWave unit, something he hasn’t depended upon much in the past. After seeing how effective it can be, it’ll become part of his arsenal going forward.

“I knew that it did something, but I hadn’t quite figured it out yet,” he added. “On the second day, I got it to where I had it on and played with it and it got the fish fired up. I had like a 2-hour dry spell without a bite until I finally realized I had accidentally stepped on the pause button. Once I put it back on play, I went from 17 pounds to 21 pounds in like 5 minutes.

“On the third day, I’d ease into the center of the square and turn it on high and it would get them fired up. I think it has an effect on fish that are schooled up. It’s like they hear it and they see their buddies get going and they don’t want to be left out.”

Winning Gear Notes

> Tube gear: 6’11” heavy-action Falcon Jason Christie Signature Series Frog Rod, Quantum Smoke PT casting reel (7.0:1 ratio), 8-pound Silver Thread fluorocarbon line, unnamed 1/2- and 3/4-ounce tube jigs, 4” Yum F2 Tube (green-pumpkin).

> He opted for the stout frog rod with plenty of backbone because of the way he was fishing. “I didn’t want a soft rod and I definitely didn’t want a spinning rod,” he said. “I used a really stiff rod so I could rip that tube as fast as I could.”

> He also caught a few fish on a Carolina-rigged 6” Yum Salleemander.

The Bottom Line

> Main factor in his success – “Definitely having one area to fish. There were times on days 1 and 2 that I wasn’t getting a lot of bites and if I’d had confidence in any other area I would’ve left. Having that one area, I stayed there and toughed it out.”

> Performance edge – “It was a combination of everything. The wind blew hard the first 2 days and I could manage my drift with my Power-Poles. I figured out that if I was drifting 1.2 (mph) I could could put one blade down and drop it by 20 percent. I wanted to be drifting 0.5 to 0.6 and I really used those and you can use one or the other or both. I’d put my left one down to swing the boat and drift. The Lowrance StructureScan was key, too. How do you find stuff these days without that. It’s changing fishing. It’s not only the StructureScan, it’s the accuracy of the GPS. Being able to pinpoint a 4-by-4 patch of grass and make an accurate cast. Of course the (Ranger) boat and (Mercury) motor. When you’re going to St. Clair you have to have a dependable rig or you won’t make it back to the weigh-in.”

Oklahoma Angler looks forward to a home state Classic
 
Jul 21, 2012

DETROIT — Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., claimed that his status as a non-local enabled him to stay focused and win this week’s Northern Open on Michigan’s bountiful Lake St. Clair, but he’s hoping to have a local advantage when he fishes the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake, the body of water where many consider him a prohibitive favorite.

Christie slammed the door shut today with 22 pounds, 13 ounces, to beat a field studded with Tour-level stars and a cadre of top local sticks. It was his third straight bag heavier than 21 pounds, and it will enable him to fulfill a lifelong dream.

“No. 1, you dream about fishing any Classic,” he said. “But to get to fish a Classic on your home lake is a dream come true.”

 
 

Jason Christie Bassmaster Northern OpenBesides his Classic berth, Christie won a fully rigged Nitro Z-9 bass boat with a Mercury OptiMax 250.

He said that his advantage over the many St. Clair regulars was that he didn’t have many decisions to make. He found one key area in the mouth of the Detroit River with patchy vegetation and decided to grind out the tournament in a limited range. “They were probably debating what spot they needed to be on,” he said of his fellow competitors. “I didn’t have that problem. I had no desire to go anywhere else.”

He credited his HydroWave unit for firing up the schools of smallmouths and used his Power-Poles to slow down his drift. His primary baits were a green pumpkin Yum Tube and a Carolina rigged Yum Salleemander in the same color.

“This is where you come to test your equipment, and my equipment did good,” he said.

The Oklahoman’s dream to fish the Classic began early in life, when he’d “get up early and watch professional wrestling and bass fishing on TV.” Unfortunately for the Northern Open field this week, he decided that he’d rather pursue a path as the next Rick Clunn rather than as the next Hulk Hogan. He said his lanky build wasn’t suited for the wrestling ring, anyway: “I would have gotten in the ring and tried to outrun them.” Perhaps Rick Clunn isn’t the right role model for Christie to emulate; if all goes according to plan, he’d like to be the next Boyd Duckett, the only Classic contender to ever claim the crown in his home state.

Second-place finisher Brian Ward of Chesterfield, Mich., was the only angler other than Christie to weigh in more than 20 pounds each tournament day this week. He was remarkably consistent, with limits that weighed 21-14, 22-1 and 21-10.

“All I wanted to do was be steady,” Ward said. He achieved that goal, but ultimately fell short of Christie’s winning weight by nearly 2 pounds. Andrew Upshaw of Hemphill, Texas, who fished the 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River, was the third angler to bring in more than 21 pounds today, and finished third, nearly 4 pounds behind Christie.

A dejected Brian Metry, who led on the first day and the second, suffered mechanical problems today, which cost him several hours of valuable fishing time. Perhaps more importantly, after securing a loaner boat, he was left without his waypoints and forced to scramble to put together a limit that was decent by conventional standards but not nearly enough to maintain his lead. After weighing in 23-5 and 22-0 the first two days, he could only bring in 17-0 today and fell three places. Metry, of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., burned two different Jack-It Products crankbaits all week to elicit reaction strikes.

Eric Klotz of Bowling Green, Ohio, weighed in 14 pounds, 3 ounces of smallmouth behind Ward today to claim the co-angler title and its accompanying prize of a Skeeter ZX 190 bass boat with a Yamaha VZ150. Unless Klotz comes home bearing gifts, the victor may be in the proverbial doghouse.

“I’m missing my brother-in-law’s wedding to be here today,” he said. “And my wife is in it.”

Mike Kiester of Davisburg, Mich., who took second place in the tournament on the co-angler side, won co-angler Carhartt Big Bass honors for his 6-2 bass. Mark Modrak of China, Mich., won the Carhartt Big Bass award on the pro side, also with a 6-2 fish. 

The third and final Bassmaster Northern Open will take place Aug. 16-18 on Cayuga Lake in Seneca Falls, N.Y. It will be the final chance for many of this group of anglers to punch their ticket to the 2013 Classic. Most of them won’t get to sleep in their own bed at Grand Lake like Christie will, but they’d certainly welcome the opportunity to stay in an Oklahoma hotel rather than watching it online as a spectator.

***Photo by David Hunter Jones

Photo by: Shaye Baker, courtesy FLWOutdoors.com

 

Article Courtesy BassZone

Park Hill, OK – At the midway point of the 2012 FLW Tour Major season, it appeared to be smooth sailing for Oklahoma’s Jason Christie who recording three consecutive top 25 finishes that included a 25th place finish on Lake Hartwell, 8th place finish on Table Rock, and 21st place finish on Beaver Lake.

Christie was leading the FLW Tour Angler Of the Year points race, and it seemed inevitable that the fifth year pro was headed towards another top five finish in the point standings after recording a career high 4th place finish in the final FLW Tour Major standings in 2011.

Add to that the fact that within the past year Christie had notched an FLW Tour Major victory, PAA All-Star Series win, four top 20 finishes in FLW Tour competition, and a top 10 finish in the Forrest Wood Cup, and few would argue that Christie was casting with confidence.

Then an anomaly happened.  Christie, who hadn’t finished in the triple digits in FLW Tour Major competition since a 102nd place finish on Guntersville in June of 2010, posted a 125th place finish on the Potomac River in mid May.   A blip on the radar for sure, but the warning signals started sounding less than a month later when he finished 128th at Kentucky Lake and in the span of two tournaments went from leading the Angler Of the Year point standings to fighting for a berth in the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup on Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

It was the first time that Christie had recorded back-to-back finishes lower than 100th place since his rookie season on the FLW Tour in 2008.

At the season finale on Lake Champlain, a herculean effort was needed just to have a chance at qualifying for his fourth consecutive Cup, and even then, there were no guarantees.  “I was pretty aggravated after Kentucky Lake because I really put myself in position to be the first angler in professional bass fishing to lead the Angler Of the Year standings halfway through the season and not even make the championship,” he said.   

Christie finished in 11th place on Champlain, regaining his form just in the nick of time.  With a total of 888 points, he finished in 39th place in the AOY standings and edged out another perennial Cup qualifier, Mark Rose, by a single point for the final spot in the 2012 Forrest Wood Cup.  “I knew that I’d not only have to catch them at Champlain, but I’d also have to get a little lucky to get into the Cup as well,” said Christie.

Making the Forrest Wood Cup each year is something that Christie, like all FLW Tour competitors, takes very seriously.   “The more you fish, the more you take for granted fishing in the championship,” he admitted.  “I want to make the Forrest Wood Cup every single year, and long story short, I pride myself on making the Cup. You can’t win a half-million dollars unless you’re there, and it’s not a good feeling when you’re watching it or reading about it on the couch.”

Decisions, Decisions

Looking back, Christie said that his two sub-par finishes on the Potomac River and Kentucky Lake were a combination of poor decision making and bad luck, but he learned from both.

“At the Potomac, I found an area where I thought I could win, so I stayed in there both days,” he explained.  “The wind ended up trashing the area.  I’ve heard people say a million times that fishing isn’t about catching fish, it’s about the decisions that you make on the water. I mentally hit a concrete wall when we went to the Potomac River, and I got tunnel vision and didn’t stay open minded.”

While he may have hit a mental roadblock on the Potomac, he hit something else on the first day of competition at Kentucky Lake that cost him his entire day’s catch. “I was heading in on the first day patting myself on the back for having a good sack and the next thing I knew, I was sitting in the middle of the lake with no lower unit.   It was just a bone-headed decision on my part,” he lamented.

“Early that morning, I ran to Paris and worked back down way too fast,” continued Christie.  “When I checked the clock, I had an hour-and-a-half left in the day.  I usually fish in Lake Barkley, and I’d found one school that was about 20 miles from where I was.

“I made the run and culled everything in 30 minutes to have around 18 pounds.  When I left the upper end of Barkley, I had two decisions to make.  One option was to run the river channel, get back the weigh-in in plenty of time, and go to the scales with around 18 pounds.  The other option was to take the shortcut across the flat on Barkley, gain another 15 minutes of fishing time, and possibly cull up to 20 or 21 pounds. Rayovac Pro Jason Christie

“I chose the second option and ended up hitting something on the flat and lost my lower unit.  I was in the last flight and it was like a ghost town on Barkley – not even a ski boat came past and I missed the weigh-in and zeroed for the day.”

Change in Mindset

Christie credited his success over the past several seasons on the FLW Tour, in part to a change in his mindset and how he approaches multiple day tournaments.

“A couple of years ago, FLW changed the format for a year to where the entire field fished three days before cutting to the top anglers on the final day.  At the time, I hated it because my mindset was that if I wasn’t catching them, I wanted to go home.  I didn’t want to go through the heartache and aggravation for another day,” he explained.

A brief conversation with legendary angler, Larry Nixon, changed his approach.

“I mentioned that to Larry Nixon, and he looked at me and said, ‘You’ve got to be crazy to think that way,’” remembered Christie.  “He explained that the good fishermen will always come out at the end and get better each day. I’d never really looked at it that way until he said it.  If you look at the really good fishermen – the Andy Morgan’s and the David Dudley’s and JT Kenney’s – a lot of times they’ll survive the first day and then really bust them on the second day.  It’s not about winning on the first day; it’s about surviving and staying around so you have a chance to fish on the final day.”

With the exception of Table Rock Lake, Christie’s day two and day three weights during the 2012 season were always higher than his weight on the first day of the tournament.   

Industry Support

With yet another Cup qualification in his back pocket, Christie, who ran the Diet Mountain Dew boat in 2011 and now has Rayovac Batteries as his title sponsor, said that being selected as the angler to represent a company is an enormous confidence boost.

“My first three years on tour, I pretty much paid for everything and was fortunate enough to do well enough to stay out there,” he said.  “In 2011, Mountain Dew came on as a sponsor and that gave me some support that they believed in me and wanted me to promote them. After I signed with them, I think that I won two tournaments in the next month.

“I really needed somebody to show that they believed in me, because I’m one of the worst at believing in myself.  I’ve always been a ‘glass is half empty’ type of guy,” Christie explained.

“Mountain Dew got out of fishing this year, which was simply a business decision, but some of my other sponsors that I got with have really helped me,”  Two sponsors in particular, Power-Pole and Lowrance, have completely changed the way that Christie fishes.

“This is not a sales pitch, but Power-Pole has made me a completely different fisherman,” he stated. “I went from running the banks at 100 miles-per-hour, to really slowing down and milking a key area.  Whenever I put those poles down, I honestly believe that I can catch every single fish that’s in the area.”

He also dedicated more time to studying and learning to locate winning fish with his electronics.  “Now, if I don’t see the fish on my graph, I rarely make a cast.  I’ve spent more hours idling this year than ever before.  When I go fun fishing on Lake Tenkiller (in Oklahoma), I’ll put the boat in at first light and I may not make a cast until 10:00 because I haven’t found the mother lode.”

Spinning on Lanier

When the Forrest Wood Cup was held on Lake Lanier in 2010, Christie reached two milestones, one slightly more important than the other.  It was his first top 10 finish in Cup competition, but it was also the first time in his life that he brought a bass to the weigh-in scales that he caught using a spinning rod.

Now, with the Cup less than a month away on the same Georgia fishery, he has a little bit more experience with the technique.

“I’m serious, it was the first time that I’d ever weighed-in a bass caught on a spinning rod,” said Christie with a chuckle.  “When I made the 2010 championship, I literally went to Falcon Rods and asked them for some spinning rods and then went and got some spinning reels.  I’d used them crappie fishing before, but I didn’t have a clue."

After getting the new equipment, Christie spent the better part of two weeks drop-shotting and finesse fishing on Lake Tenkiller in an attempt to gain a comfort level with spinning tackle.  “That’s exactly how I ended up catching them in the tournament,” he said.  “After the first day, one of the camera guys wanted to know where I was going to be fishing.  I joked with him and told him that all he had to do was drive down the lake and look for a guy fishing with a spinning rod turned upside down and reeling backwards.”


Moore, OK - The CABELA’S ALL-AMERICA team was created to recognize anglers who excelled during the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Tour Majors, and PAA Tournament Series seasons. Performances in the Bassmaster Opens, FLW Tour Opens and FLW EverStart Series tournaments were also taken into consideration.

The ALL-AMERICA team was chosen by a voting panel that consisted of members of the bass fishing media and anglers were selected based on a combination of on-the-water tournament performance as well as contributions to the sport/industry during the 2011 season.

Based on votes, the Top 10 anglers were broken down into five First Team ALL-AMERICA anglers and five Second Team ALL-AMERICA anglers. Each First Team ALL-AMERICA angler will receive a $2,000 gift card courtesy of Cabela’s and each Second Team ALL-AMERICA angler will receive a $1,000 Cabela’s gift card.

The CABELA’S ALL-AMERCA members were honored at a banquet during the third annual Fish & Chips combination bass fishing and poker tournament this week at Downstream Casino near Grand Lake in Oklahoma.


First Team All-American: Jason Christie



2011 Highlights

- 1st place finish at FLW Tour Major at Lake Hartwell
- 1st place finish at PAA All-Star Series tournament at Ray Hubbard
- 10th place finish at 2011 Forrest Wood Cup at Lake Ouachita
- 4th place finish FLW Tour Angler Of the Year standings
- 4 Top 20 Finishes in FLW Tour Major competition

Visit Basszone.com for the entire story and to see what other anglers made the list.

Day-two leader Jason Christie slipped to fifth after catching four bass that weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces. His three-day cumulative weight sits at 40 pounds, 12 ounces. The Diet Mountain Dew pro has 10 or so shallow coves that are covered with standing timber. Not only are the bluegills spawning around the timber, but the shade spots and wood make the Oklahoma native feel more comfortable.

Christie’s mainly throwing topwaters – prop baits in slick water and poppers when it’s choppy. Occasionally he’ll flip to a piece of cover.

“In the first hour of the day I left 9 or 10 pounds out there and that messes with you,” said the Lake Hartwell champion.

Courtesy FLW Outdoors.

Shallow Might Win
Christie Leads Martin By 10 Ounces, Tharp 3rd

From Bassfan.com Bassfan

Friday, August 12, 2011

The 18-pound bag remains the benchmark. Four bags of that class have come to the scales so far, but they belonged to four different pros. Any pro who can weigh 18 pounds twice might very well walk away with the Forrest Wood Cup.

For day 2 of the Cup, conditions at Arkansas' Lake Ouachita offered a complete turnaround from yesterday's cold front, and a return to what the field experienced in practice. Winds were light, the sun was bright and the bite overall turned tougher.

Jason ChristieThe winning pace, set today by Jason Christie after his 13 1/2-pound catch, is a little better then 15 pounds a day (down from a 19-pound opening pace). That was expected, and the pace should dip at least another pound tomorrow.

The big surprise, instead, was Scott Martin – or more specifically, his co-angler Jeffrey Cummins, who caught 18 pounds against Martin's 11-09. That dropped Martin to 2nd, but he's alone among the leaders in his choice of pattern. He's fishing deep and is clearly around big fish. He left his fish again this morning, so he should be able to rope another good limit.

Christie, on the other hand, is running a timber and wood pattern that he's started to refine. Yesterday, he said he caught his 18 pounds with 100% junk-fishing. Today, he said he caught his 13-06 with about 60% junk-fishing. So he's 40% dialed in and hopes to improve that percentage tomorrow.

Jason Christie casted a topwater to shallow water all day for the tournament lead (Photo by Rob Newell)

Oklahoma pro leads day two of 2011 Forrest Wood Cup

12.Aug.2011 by Brett Carlson
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Bass Fishing 101 states that the day after a front is the toughest. And that proved true on day two of the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup as the weather returned to normal and Lake Ouachita became stingy. While the weights fell substantially, a handful of pros continue to figure them out. Ironically, the one leading the tournament had an absolutely terrible practice.

Jason Christie felt like yesterday’s cool, cloudy conditions were a godsend. It not only allowed him to fish to his strengths, but it also helped him slowly begin to pattern the lake.

“I took what I learned yesterday and applied it to today,” he said. “I figured out what I should be looking for and today I found more of that; I probably doubled my area. I junk-fished completely yesterday and today I spent about 60 percent of my day junk-fishing. I’m just taking off with the trolling motor, and I’ll fish all the way through an area and then pull up and go somewhere else. I actually fished a place today and went back an hour later and there were fish there that weren’t there an hour earlier. I think they just cruise around and travel. You’ve just got to hit them in the head.”

Christie has 10 or so shallow coves that are covered with standing timber. Not only are the bluegills spawning around the timber, but the shade spots and wood make the Oklahoma native feel more comfortable.

“I actually caught my biggest fish today flipping, but my primary deal is topwater.”

The Diet Mountain Dew pro is throwing both prop baits and poppers on top.

“In the slick water I use the prop baits and when it’s choppy I use the popper, which is the best topwater bait in August, period.”

Christie starts each morning by staying in one area until he has a limit. Today he had No. 5 by 9 a.m. But each day his better fish have come from somewhere else. That trend has him reconsidering the order in which he samples his spots.

“I caught probably twice as many fish today, but they’re still spooky. Overall, I would still describe them as hard to catch. If you don’t make the perfect cast with just the right angle you don’t get bit.”

Christie’s day-two limit weighed 13 pounds, 6 ounces and pushed his total weight to 31-7.

“This tournament is all about getting a big bite or two each day. And I think the big bites come from up shallow so I’m going to live or die there.”

Courtesy FLW Outdoors.

Christie stunned with second-place sack


Pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., finished the first day of 2011 Forrest Wood Cup competition in second place. (Photo by Gary Mortenson)


In second place is Park Hill, Okla., pro Jason Christie, who caught a limit of largemouths worth 18 pounds, 1 ounce. A noted shallow-water fisherman, Christie was extremely thankful for the change in weather.

“It played right into my hands,” said the Lake Hartwell champion. “I had one of my worst practices ever. But today I was able to just go fishing like I do back home. When you get wind and rain on a clear lake like this, they bite.”

Christie described his pattern as junk-fishing. He threw topwaters quite a bit, but that wasn’t his only bait.

“I fished both deep and shallow. Now I know what I’m looking for, but I don’t know where they’re at. As soon as I get home I’ll be looking at a lake map.”

While several pros struggled with keeping fish buttoned up, Christie never lost one.

“I didn’t catch a lot of fish, but I got the right bites. But to be sitting in second, I’m as shocked as anyone.”

Courtesy FLW Outdoors.

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