Rayovac pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., had never fished in a four-day tournament on his home waters of Grand Lake of the Cherokees. After leading the first three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Castrol, all that he needed was one more solid day’s weight to claim his second FLW Tour title of the season.
Christie caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 13 ounces Sunday to win $126,000 with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 78-1. The catch gave Christie the win by a 5-pound, 5-ounce margin over Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., who surged to his second consecutive second-place finish on the FLW Tour with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 72-12, earning him $34,266.
“This was such a special week for me,” said Christie, who earned his sixth career victory on Grand Lake in FLW competition. “The way that I was catching them, it brought back a lot of memories. I bet my co-anglers were tired of hearing all of my stories. This lake is responsible for teaching me how to fish.”
Christie said that his main area that he fished this week was a 20-acre stretch in Elk River.
“The main reason that I went there was because that it was an area that I had the most confidence in,” Christie said. “It was only 20 acres, but there is a lot of fishing in that 20 acres – a lot of shoreline, a lot of bushes and a lot of places for the bass to hide.
“The area is on an island,” Christie continued. “When that current gets rolling and rolls around the tips of that island, it really gets the big ones going up there. It was pretty simple. I just got in the bushes and put my head down and got busy.”
Christie estimated that 95 percent of the fish that he caught this week came by flipping, but said that he switched up his baits every day. He boated some key fish the first day on a black BOOYAH Poppin’ Pad Crasher. Other baits that produced for him throughout the week were a YUM F2 Wooly Bug, a BOOYAH jig and an unnamed creature bait.
“I was using a 7-foot, 3-inch Falcon Rod paired with a Lew’s BB1 7.1:1 reel. It was spooled with 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line using Lazer Trokar Flippin hooks. I never missed one fish all week,” Christie said.
“The pressure is off for me for the rest of the year,” Christie went on to say. “I don’t have a chance to beat these guys for Angler of the Year, and I think I’m already in the Forrest Wood Cup. So, I’m just going to go up to Chickamauga and try to win. Everyone likes to peg me as a shallow-water fisherman, but I love to fish deep. I’m looking forward to that.”
The top 10 pros finished the tournament in:
1st: Rayovac pro Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., 20 bass, 78-1, $126,000
2nd: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 20 bass, 72-12, $34,266
3rd: Robbie Dodson, Harrison, Ark., 20 bass, 72-6, $29,366
4th: Chevy pro Jimmy Houston, Cookson, Okla., 20 bass, 71-11, $24,466
5th: Chevy pro Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., 20 bass, 70-7, $19,566
6th: Barry Wilson, Birmingham, Ala., 20 bass, 69-2, $16,626
7th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 20 bass, 68-13, $15,646
8th: Zell Rowland, Montgomery, Texas, 20 bass, 66-14, $14,666
9th: Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., 20 bass, 65-12, $13,686
10th: Straight Talk pro J.T. Kenney, Palm Bay, Fla., 20 bass, 61-14, $12,706
Overall there were 50 bass weighing 165 pounds, 12 ounces caught by pros Sunday. All of the final 10 pros caught five-bass limits.
Keith Honeycutt of Temple, Texas, won the co-angler division and $25,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 45 pounds, 13 ounces, followed by Anthony Goggins of Auburn, Ala., in second place with 15 bass weighing 41 pounds, 6 ounces worth $7,343.
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.
The Tour stop on Grand Lake presented by Castrol was hosted by the Grand Lake Association and was the fifth of six events on the Walmart FLW Tour’s 2013 season. The final Walmart FLW Tour event of the 2013 season will be held at Lake Chickamauga June 27-30 in Dayton, Tenn., and is presented by Chevy. The event will be hosted by the City of Dayton and boats will launch from the Dayton Boat Dock in Dayton. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Pros competed 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.
Image courtesy FLW Outdoors