Rayovac pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., proved that in fishing there is sometimes a hometown advantage, as he brought a five-bass limit to the scales Thursday weighing 21 pounds, 12 ounces to take the lead at the Walmart FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Castrol. Christie now holds a slim 5-ounce lead over another Oklahoma fishing legend, Chevy pro Jimmy Houston of Cookson, Okla., who weighed in five bass worth 21 pounds, 7 ounces. Both will be looking to add to their totals tomorrow heading into day two of the four-day competition featuring the world’s best bass-fishing anglers who are vying for the top cash award of up to $125,000.
“I actually exceeded my expectations a little bit today,” said Christie, who has five career victories in FLW competition on Grand Lake. “I was hoping to catch 16 to 18 pounds and stay in the hunt, but I got lucky today and pulled up on the right spot at the right time, and they were there.”
Christie caught an early-morning limit by fishing shallow water, but knew that he needed to change his tactics in order to stay near the top of the leaderboard.
“At 12 o’clock I decided that what I was doing wasn’t working,” Christie said. “I knew that I needed to do something different, and it paid off for me.”
Christie made the move to his key area, where he was able to quickly upgrade his limit by culling all of his smaller fish. He said the area was not new to him, and was a place where he has caught fish in the past.
“It was definitely my lake experience that helped,” Christie continued. “This was a spot where I have caught a lot of fish under these conditions. I actually have a lot of places like it, but most of them don’t have any fish on them. If you look at my GPS, it’s crowded with waypoints, but a lot of them don’t have any fish on them because of the water color.
“With the way that they ran the water today, I think it pulled a lot of those fish out and set them where they needed to be,” Christie continued. “One thing about Grand Lake, though, is that they can be there today and gone tomorrow. You just have to try to catch them coming out, and today I had pretty good timing. Hopefully I can hit it at the right time again tomorrow.
“There are no secrets here,” Christie went on to say. “You just have to fish and move around until you find them. Grand Lake has so many fish in it that if you’re not getting bit, you’re not around them. You just have to keep moving until you find them.”
The top 10 pros after day one on Grand Lake are:
1st: Rayovac pro Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., five bass, 21-12
2nd: Chevy pro Jimmy Houston, Cookson, Okla., five bass, 21-7
3rd: Todd Auten, Lake Wylie, S.C., five bass, 20-12
4th: Randy Blaukat, Joplin, Mo., five bass, 20-3
5th: Matthew Stefan, Park Ridge, Ill., five bass, 19-14
6th: Adrian Avena, Vineland, N.J., five bass, 19-11
6th: Ryan Chandler, Valparaiso, Ind., five bass, 19-11
8th: Robbie Dodson, Harrison, Ark., five bass, 19-9
9th: Zell Rowland, Montgomery, Texas, five bass, 19-8
10th: Ish Monroe, Hughson, Calif., five bass, 19-4
10th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., five bass, 19-4
Blaukat won the 3M ScotchBlue Big Bass Award on the pro side Thursday with a fish weighing 5 pounds, 14 ounces worth $500.
Overall there were 703 bass weighing 1,973 pounds, 8 ounces caught by 147 pros Thursday. The catch included 131 five-bass limits.
Pros are competing for a top award of up to $125,000 this week plus valuable points in the hope of qualifying for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. The top 35 anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify. The 2013 Forrest Wood Cup will be in Shreveport, La., Aug. 15-18 on the Red River. Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC when “FLW” airs Sept. 29 from 2:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. ET.
Keith Honeycutt of Temple, Texas, leads the co-angler division with five bass weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces followed by Mark Horton of Nicholasville, Ky., in second place with five bass weighing 17-9.
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Keith Honeycutt, Temple, Texas, five bass, 17-11
2nd: Mark Horton, Nicholasville, Ky., five bass, 17-9
3rd: Dustin Evans, Eads, Tenn., five bass, 16-10
4th: Tim Guard, Waynetown, Ind., five bass, 15-15
5th: Brock Mosley, Collinsville, Miss., five bass, 15-14
6th: Frank Divis Sr., Fayetteville, Ark., five bass, 15-6
7th: Jason Theis, Larned, Kan., five bass, 15-0
8th: Masafumi Nishida, Kishiwada, Osaka, Japan, five bass, 14-8
9th: Mike Casada, Stearns, Ky., five bass, 14-5
9th: Robby Frashier, Carrollton, Ga., five bass, 14-5
9th: Benjie Seaborn, Guin, Ala., five bass, 14-5
Mike Devere of Berea, Ky., caught Thursday’s 3M Peltor Big Bass weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces in the co-angler division to win $250.
Overall there were 494 bass weighing 1,134 pounds, 13 ounces caught by co-anglers Thursday. The catch included 51 five-bass limits.
Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $25,000 this week plus valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart. The top 35 co-anglers in the point standings from the six events on the 2013 Walmart FLW Tour will qualify.
Anglers will take off from Wolf Creek Park located at 963 N. 16th St. in Grove at 6:30 a.m. each morning. Friday’s weigh-in will be held at Wolf Creek Park beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s final weigh-ins will be held at the Walmart located at 2115 S. Main St. in Grove beginning at 4 p.m.
Fans will also be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Walmart on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. Also on Sunday, country music artist Dylan Scott will perform a free live concert on the Walmart weigh-in stage at 3 p.m.
Coverage of the Grand Lake tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when “FLW” airs July 28 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. ET. The Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 564 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors