No one is fishing as strong as YUM Pro Jason Christie. In the last two weeks, the Oklahoman won an FLW Tour Event, a B.A.S.S. Elite Tournament, and just hit No. 1 on the BassFan.com World Rankings.
Christie has been a strong FLW competitor for more than six years, but only started fishing B.A.S.S. events last year after learning that the Classic would be held on his home lake. He qualified for that Classic in his second Northern Open, and won a Southern Open before the year was out. He finished seventh in the Classic.
Christie’s latest victory at the B.A.S.S. Ramada Quest at Bull Shoals Lake is special for several reasons. First, it’s his first B.A.S.S. Elite win in what’s considered his Rookie season. Plus, his leap from 11th to first place is the biggest Day Four comeback in Elite Series history, and his final day limit of 18-pounds-even was the largest of the tournament. (His tournament total for the four-day event was 56 pounds, 8 ounces, giving him the win by 1 pound, 2 ounces.) It also put a 2014 Bassmaster Classic qualification in his pocket.
Christie notched his back-to-back wins on White River impoundments, Beaver and Bull Shoals Lakes, but the way he fished the two couldn’t be more different. In the FLW event on Beaver, Christie said he caught 90 percent of his fish on the YUM Flash Mob Jr.
For the first three days of the Bull Shoals event he used a variety of lures and techniques, including a Bomber 6A crankbait (Crawdad color pattern) a Carolina Rig with a YUM Lizard (Watermelon), and he flipped a YUM Wooly Bug (Green-Pumpkin, Purple Flake).
“The last two tournaments were on lakes that are similar to the lake I live on (Tenkiller Lake), and this time of year you have to fish the conditions,” he said. “You have to forget what you did yesterday. You have to change with the conditions, not only daily, but sometimes during the day.”
He was fortunate to even qualify to fish the final day. On Day Two he only had four fish in the box when he headed back to the ramp, but caught a good fish on literally his last cast before putting the boat on the trailer. On Day Three, the water was rising and he changed tactics, putting the Carolina rig away and pulling out his flipping stick.
“I’d watched the water rising,” he said. “The third day it was in the bushes pretty good and I thought I’d try flipping, and I got some bites and stuck with it the rest of the day.”
The final day was another crazy day of “fishing the conditions” and making the right adjustment. He had been flipping the bushes and was motoring from one pocket to another when bass started schooling over a big area. He grabbed a Heddon One Knocker Spook and started firing. Big bass were crashing the surface all around him.
“I could see the balls of shad coming to the surface and then a bass would smash up through them,” he said. “That Spook (Pearl Shad color pattern) resembles the color of shad in that water. They have an almost transparent look about them. And that rattle in the One Knocker calls them up. When you’re fishing in 50 feet of water, it will get their attention.”
He said he caught 15 to 20 fish on the Spook and culled eight or 10 times. He’d never seen fish school in that area during the previous days of the tournament.
“But with the wind, you just couldn’t see it happening,” he said. “You could see it the last day because it was flat calm out there.”
The BassFan.com World Rankings were created in 2001 to track the best pro anglers in the world and give fishing fans a way to track their favorites. It also shows the non-fishing world that consistently catching fish isn’t “just luck.” It’s the first time Christie has risen to the top of the list.
“You can’t go into every tournament thinking you’re going to win,” he said. “You lose a lot more than you win, but I just want to stay consistent and if I get an opportunity to win, execute, and if not, just make a good showing.”
Image courtesy PRADCO Fishing