Diet Mountain Dew pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., caught a five-bass limit weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces Sunday to lead the tournament wire-to-wire to win his first Tour title as well as $125,000 at the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Hartwell presented by Chevy with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 70-11.
“This goes to the people who support me,” said an emotional Christie. “They’re sitting there watching me right now – my parents, kids, wife and uncles.”
The final day of competition started slowly for Christie. He made a run down the same area in Beaver Creek he had fished the previous days of competition and didn’t have a bite at almost 10 a.m. Christie stuck with his game plan, however, and relocated to another spot in the same creek.
“I had one stretch that I could catch them in, but I went through the entire stretch and never got a bite,” Christie said. “I moved across to a little half-moon – a little notch in the bank that has a deep cut that runs into it. That’s where I caught my fish.”
Christie said he caught most of his keeper fish in Beaver Creek with four coming during the second day from Shoal Creek. Christie said he caught one fish by flipping a YUM soft plastic bait the second day of competition, and said 75 percent of the rest came on a BOOYAH spinnerbait and the others on a YUM F2 Mighty Bug. Christies’ rigs consisted of Falcon rods, Quantum Smoke reels and 20- and 25-pound-test Silver Thread Fluorocarbon line.
“The spinnerbait has taken a lot of trial and error with me,” Christie said. “The BOOYAH ½-ounce spinnerbait has a single willow blade on it and the wire is light, so when you throw it, it has the same vibration as a (BOOYAH) Boogie Bait. It has a thumping vibration. And the fish – pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn fish – they like that vibration.
“One of the reasons I picked that creek was it was landlocked,” Christie added. “So you’re going to have some pre-spawn fish, some fish that are spawning and some post-spawn fish. I mean, they’re going to spawn in there for another month. It’s just a big area. Three guys in the top 20 were in there and the co-angler won in there. There’s some really big fish in there. I was shocked.”
Christie opened the tournament on Thursday with five bass weighing 22-4. On Friday he added another five bass weighing 20-4. He then caught five bass weighing 13-6 Saturday to make the crucial top-10 cut in first place.
“People don’t realize how hard it is to win a tournament after four days,” Christie said. “And it’s not done very often out of one area. After the second day I had come in with two big bags and I still had to catch them two more days to win. I know if I had gone scrambling good things wouldn’t have happened.”
Christie’s final day catch gave him the win by a 10-pound margin over National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 60-11 and earned $35,000.
“Coming into today I didn’t think second (place) was doable,” Ehrler said. “I was thinking, ‘Man, I hope I just catch them OK and move up into third or fourth.’ It was brutal because it took all day. I didn’t just go out and catch them on the one spot. I did something different every day. And that’s tough, because you don’t know if you’re going to catch 7 pounds or 20 pounds.”
The remaining top 10 pros finished the tournament in:
3rd: Ramie Colson Jr., Cadiz, Ky., 20 bass, 59-4, $30,750
4th: Stacey King, Reeds Spring, Mo., 20 bass, 57-10, $25,000
5th: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 20 bass, 55-13, $20,500
6th: Chevy pro Larry Nixon, Bee Branch, Ark., 20 bass, 55-2, $17,000
7th: Joe Thomas, Milford, Ohio, 20 bass, 54-2, $16,500
8th: Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre, Union City, Pa., 20 bass, 54-1, $15,000
9th: AMP Energy pro Stetson Blaylock, Benton, Ark., 19 bass, 50-12, $14,000
10th: Tom Monsoor, La Crosse, Wis., 16 bass, 50-10, $13,000
A complete list of results can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 46 bass weighing 111 pounds, 12 ounces caught by pros Sunday. The catch included nine five-bass limits.
J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and $25,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 40 pounds, 9 ounces followed by Moo Bae of West Friendship, Md., in second place with 14 bass weighing 33-0 worth $7,500.
In FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are vying for valuable points that could help them qualify for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, where they could win up to $600,000 – the sport’s biggest award – and $60,000 respectively. This year’s Cup will be in Hot Springs, Ark., Aug. 11-14 on Lake Ouachita.
Pros and co-anglers are also competing for the prestigious Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year presented by Kellogg’s in 2011 that will be determined by the most points accumulated over the six Tour Majors. The pro winner will receive $100,000, while the co-angler title holder will win a new Ranger 198VX with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard.
The Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Hartwell presented by Chevy was hosted by the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Anderson Convention and Visitors Bureau, and was the third of 10 Walmart FLW Tour tournaments of the 2011 season. The Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Chickamauga presented by National Guard will be the next tournament and will be held April 14-17 in Chattanooga, Tenn. The event will be hosted by the Great Chattanooga Sports Committee and boats will launch from Chester Frost Park in Hixson, Tenn. For a complete schedule, visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Coverage of the Lake Hartwell tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors” will air May 8 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper and Laura Schara, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.
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ABOUT FLW OUTDOORS FLW Outdoors is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com. FLWOutdoors.com