Oklahoma pro expands overall lead during second day of FLW Tour action on Grand Lake, top-20 cut announced
Courtesy 07.Jun.2013 by Gary Mortenson
GROVE, Okla. – For the most part, the changing landscape of the FLW Tour event on Grand Lake has been a sight to behold. Water levels have shifted somewhat dramatically, starting off nearly 4 feet above normal pool and then receding steadily with each passing day. The muddied up waters that greeted anglers upon their arrival have slowly given way to more gin-clear conditions throughout significant portions of the lake. Throw in the fact that anglers witnessed sunny and calm conditions today, in stark contrast to the overcast skies and medium winds on day one, and it’s obvious that anglers have had much to process throughout this tournament.However, given all of the significant changes anglers have had to battle through this week, the one constant appears to be the standing atop the leaderboard. For a second day in a row, pre-tournament favorite and Rayovac team pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., has dominated the headlines. Bolstered by a total, two-day catch of 40 pounds, 10 ounces, Christie took a 5-ounce lead after yesterday’s competition and inflated it to nearly 3 full pounds after Friday’s weigh-in.And although Christie – who considers Grand Lake to be his hometown water – had attempted to argue at the start of the tournament that the conditions left him with no local advantage, the results say otherwise. Christie is clearly on top of his game. And he’s now obviously the man to beat.“Twenty pounds a day, I’ll take it,” said Christie. “I’m where I wanted to be.”While weights were down across the board in Friday’s competition, including Christie who recorded nearly 2 pounds less than yesterday’s catch, the Oklahoma pro still managed to haul in the day’s biggest stringer in either division with a whopping 18-pound, 14-ounce stringer.“I have three different patterns going on in three different sections of the lake,” said Christie. “And I’m using all three patterns each day. I have about 1,000 places on this pond, but it has to be the right deal. A stretch that was good today might not be good tomorrow. The water levels are starting to stabilize and there’s still plenty of fish. But you have to be in the right place at the right time. Believe it or not, I’ve never fished a four-day tournament here and I’m learning just like everyone else.”While Christie lost two nice fish today, he basically chalked it up to the way he’s fishing.“I’m basically flipping a Yum Wooly Bug in two different colors and throwing a Booyah spinnerbait. But I’m mostly flipping,” said Christie. “I did lose two big fish at the boat today so that was kind of aggravating. But that’s going to happen. I didn’t catch as many keepers as yesterday, but I still caught 20 to 25 fish. So overall, I’m pretty happy with how today went.”One of the keys to Christie’s success has been an area in deeper water where he’s been able to haul out some of his bigger largemouth. While Christie didn’t want to divulge much, he did note that it was “off the bank” and that he appreciates windier conditions where fish continue to get prodded out into deeper water.“I’m fishing at different depths,” said Christie. “Tomorrow I’m going to have to (adapt) to the conditions like everyone else. I’m just going to go out there and go fishing.”
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FLW Press Release
GROVE, Okla. – 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
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BULL SHOALS, Ark. — Two days ago on the Ramada Quest stage, Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jason Christie bemoaned the crystal water and dead-calm conditions of Bull Shoals Lake.
“Clear water and no wind scares the heck out of me,” said the Elite Series rookie from Park Hill, Okla., on that second day of competition. He dropped from fourth place into 14th. It was a serious fall in what had become the “ounces-count” Quest.
If Christie was scared, he was scared straight. On the third day, he managed to climb up into 11th place and qualify for Monday’s fourth and final round. He was 5 pounds, 6 ounces behind the leader.
Monday at the weigh-in, he showed what having the fire under you can do. He turned in a huge bag, the tournament’s largest: 18 pounds, 0 ounces. Christie landed squarely in the winner’s seat, with his first Elite Series trophy. It came with $100,000 and his second consecutive Bassmaster Classic qualification.
“Awesome,” said Christie about his secure return to the Classic. “I was hooked on it last time, and I’m ready to go again.”
Christie’s winning weight was 56 pounds, 8 ounces. His Day Four bag of five largemouth of 18-0 included two 4-pounders and a 5-0, the largest bass of the day.
His margin of victory was 1 pound, 2 ounces over Fred Roumbanis of Bixby, Okla. That was a notable achievement given that the Day Three leader, Casey Scanlon, led by 12 ounces, and the Day One and 2 leader, Greg Vinson, led by 1 pound and by 3 ounces, respectively.
Christie’s leapfrog from 11th into first place was the biggest Day Four comeback in Elite Series history. (Arkansas pro Kevin Short rose from sixth place to win the 2009 Mississippi River Elite event.)
Christie, 39, came into the Quest hot off an April 14 FLW Tour win on Beaver Lake. The Elite Series title of Monday chalked up rare consecutive wins in the sport’s best-known circuits, both on White River impoundments in Arkansas.
“I just want to ride this train till it wrecks,” said Christie of his winning streak.
Photo: Brett Carlson / FLW Outdoors
By Todd Ceisner BassFan Editor
For some anglers, 3 days of practice isn't enough. For others, it's way too much. Jason Christie understands the importance of getting a feel for how a lake is setting up prior to the start of competition, but like others, he has fallen prey to the what-works-in-practice-will-work-in-the-tournament mindset.
Maybe his Beaver Lake FLW Tour experience will change that.
After a so-so day 1 netted him just five keeper bites and saw him mired in 67th place, he scrapped his plan to target smallmouths and moved into areas in and around the White River, where the water had more color to it and he stood a better chance of colliding with some chunky, pre-spawn largemouths.
His "Just Go Fishing" mentality paid off as he caught more than 51 pounds over the final 3 days to earn his second career FLW Tour win and moved into the Top 10 in the latest Angler of the Year standings.
"Whenever I can figure it out during the tournament, that's when I do best," he said. "If I figure it out during practice, I might as well just stay in the truck because you get locked into certain areas. If you figure it out during the tournament, you can take off and run with it. It's just different. Practice is very important, but I think some people put too much emphasis on it and catching a lot of fish. Every lake's different."
While he caught fish on a variety of baits all week, from a spinnerbait to a jig and also a crankbait, the vast majority of his weigh-in fish were caught in less than 10 feet of water on an umbrella rig.
He's now finished in the Top 50 in the five Beaver Lake FLW Tour events he's fished since 2008.
Here's how he did it.
From past experience, Christie had a pretty good idea of how Beaver was going to set up last week, but he had no inkling that the lake would kick out the weight it did.
The weather was blustery and cold through practice and a warm front was due to move in for the weekend with shifting winds. Trying to prepare for all of those scenarios on a lake where the fish can be quite finicky was a difficult proposition.
Coming out of practice, he opted to target smallmouth in the clear-water areas.
Jason Christie poses for the cameras with his family at his side intheir "Rayovac Attack" t-shitrs. (Photo by Kyle Wood)
ROGERS, Ark. – Rayovac pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., brought a 20-pound, 4-ounce stringer to the scales Saturday – the third-largest stringer ever weighed in during FLW competition at Beaver Lake. Christie didn’t duplicate that effort Sunday, but it turns out he didn’t need to. After the final fish was weighed, Christie’s five-bass limit worth 14 pounds, 1 ounce gave him a total four-day weight of 61 pounds, 8 ounces as well as the championship trophy and $126,500 at the Walmart FLW Tour at Beaver Lake presented by Kellogg’s.
“I’ve got a little groove going right now,” said Christie, who earned his second career victory in FLW Tour competition. “If you had asked me after practice if I was going to do any good in this event, I would have said ‘no way.’ It always seems like you win tournaments when you least expect it, and I really did not expect this one.
Christie’s four-day total of 61 pounds, 8 ounces was the heaviest weight to ever win an event in FLW competition at Beaver Lake.
“My key bait this week was a Yum Yumbrella Flash Mob Jr.,” he said. “It’s a special rig. It’s more compact and has willow leaf blades on it. And, it’s tough. I used one rig and it lasted all three days. I never broke a wire or anything – it’s really the best one on the market.
“When I get in the groove, I just seem to make good decisions,” Christie continued. “Today, I really struggled. I was expecting to catch them real well, and I didn’t. I found a stretch that I hadn’t fished all week, and something just told me to pull up there. When I did, I started catching them.
“My family is the reason that I do this,” Christie went on to say. “I go fishing so that I can support them. I enjoy it, and there is not a day that I go fishing that I take for granted. This will give me some momentum, and hopefully I can carry it over into qualifying for the Forrest Wood Cup. The last few years FLW has held the Cup at deep, clear reservoirs. This year, we’re changing it up and I really want to go fish the muddy water down in Shreveport.”
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