Christie clamps down on first place at Lake Norman

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., relied on two nice kicker fish and a total weight of 16 pounds to grab the overall lead on Lake Norman after the first day of FLW Tour competition.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - While a combination of bluebird skies, low water levels, sparse wind and a recent cold front conspired to tamp down weights nearly across the board in Wednesday's FLW Tour competition on Lake Norman, Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., managed to buck the trend. Relying on two nice kicker fish and a total weight of 16 pounds, Christie found himself standing alone at the top in first place in the Pro Division holding a 1-pound lead over his next closest competitor. And while a 1-pound lead might not seem like a lot, it is significant on Lake Norman. To underscore this point, after the first day of competition, the disparity between standing in 79th place and 18th place turned out to be a grand total of 2 pounds, 14 ounces. In short, on Lake Norman, every ounce counts. And nobody knows that better than Christie. "I got really lucky today," he said. "I was really fortunate to get those two big bites because that's what it takes to do well here. If I didn't catch those fish, I really wouldn't have done a whole lot today. I basically had a three- to four-hour drought where I didn't catch anything. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with the way things turned out. I had a good day and caught a lot of fish. But I've led tournaments early before and you can't get too excited on the first day of a four-day event." Christie said that he's targeting pre-spawn bass in 3 to 7 feet of water with a wide variety of baits. "I'm fishing in places where I think the fish are (staging)," said Christie. "I'm covering a lot of water and hopefully I'll keep finding the places the fish are coming to. But it's tough fishing out there. Right now I'm fishing all over the map. I'm using a combination of jigs, shaky head worms ... a lot of different baits. You really have to mix it up. Right now it's just really hard to get big bites." However, despite the difficulties of the current conditions on Lake Norman, Christie said he's cautiously optimistic about his chances of making a run at the title. "I'm around a lot of fish and I think they're the right fish," said Christie. "There aren't a lot of boats in my areas and there are lots of shad where I'm fishing. I'd definitely be happy with 12 pounds tomorrow. But I'd sure love some wind or cloud cover - something to change it up a little bit. We'll just have to see what happens." Morgan nets second place Pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., posted a 15-pound catch to land in second place overall on Lake Norman.Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn., posted a 15-pound catch to land in second place overall. But like most of the field, Morgan said the fishing was far from easy. "I didn't catch a lot of fish today," said Morgan. "For me, it wasn't about until 1 p.m. when my fish started biting at all. I really had to run around a lot." Morgan said that he ultimately targeted bass in 3 to 15 feet of water using a variety of techniques. "I used crankbaits, spinnerbaits and finesse jigs," said Morgan. "I was trying to find fish that are coming into spawn. But I also caught fish on some secondary stuff. The fish were just about everywhere. I was targeting points, docks, logs, stumps - whatever was in front of me. But the key is getting those big bites." Overall though, Morgan said he was generally pleased with the way things turned out in the end. "I feel pretty good," said Morgan. "I know I'll catch them tomorrow. I just don't know how big they're going to be." Pro Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C. Montgomery shows off his catch with a little one in tow. Montgomery finished Wednesday's competition with a total catch of 14 pounds, 5 ounces.Best of the rest At the end of the day, third place belonged to Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C. Montgomery finished Wednesday's competition with a total catch of 14 pounds, 5 ounces. Incredibly enough, there was a three-way tie for fourth place between Ishama Monroe of Hughson, Calif., Greg Pugh of Cullman, Ala., and Nate Wellman of Jenison, Mich. All three competitors turned in identical catches weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces to remain in striking distance of the leaders. Rounding out the day's top-10 pro competitors: 7th: Tim McDonald, Lexington, Ky., 13-7 8th: John Devere of Berea, Ky., 13-5 9th: Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., 13-1 10th: Rusty Trancygier of Hahira, Ga., 12-11 Cook nets co-angler lead Bolstered by a total catch of 11 pounds, 11 ounces, Mitchell Cook of Drexel, N.C., took over the top spot in the Co-angler Division. However, with only a 1-ounce lead over his next closest competitor, Cook knows that he has his work cut out for him over the next few days. Bolstered by a total catch of 11 pounds, 11 ounces, Mitchell Cook of Drexel, N.C., took over the top spot in the Co-angler Division after the first day of FLW Tour competition on Lake Norman."It feels pretty good to be where I'm at," said Cook. "I'm really enjoying myself. Now if I can do this again tomorrow and Friday, I'll feel really good. But right now I'm only leading by an ounce so I still have a long way to go." Cook said that he targeted his catch using a combination of jerkbaits, jigs and worms. "I was mainly fishing in about 4 to 8 feet of water," he said. "And I was mostly fishing docks." As for tomorrow, Cook says that he doesn't plan on changing things up too much. "I'm pretty much going to throw the same baits I threw today and see what happens." Best of the rest Second place in the Co-angler Division belonged to Andrew Roberts of Spotsylvania, Va. Roberts ultimately recorded an 11-pound, 10-ounce catch. J.R. Wright of Truckee, Calif., used a 10-pound, 11-ounce catch to grab third place. Andrew Lemle of Whitehouse, Ohio, used a 10-pound, 8-ounce catch to net fourth place while Keeton Blaylock of Benton, Ark., finished in fifth place with a catch of 10 pounds, 6 ounces. Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers: 6th: Brent G. Evans of Calvert City, Ky., 10-5 7th: Mark Heatwole of Harrisonburg, Va., 9-14 8th: Tyrone Phillips of Little Rock, Ark., 9-13 9th: Stephen Smith of Glenwood, Ark., 9-6 10th: Naohiro Maruo of Takamatsu Kagawa, Japan, 9-5 Day two of FLW Tour competition on Lake Norman resumes during tomorrow's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7:15 a.m. at Blythe Landing, located at 15901 N.C. Highway 71 in Cornelius, N.C.

Tags: headline-story  gary-mortenson 

/news/2015-06-29-dobson-sticks-with-jerkbait-for-win

Dobson Sticks With Jerkbait for Win

Scott Dobson of Clarkston, Michigan, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 21 pounds, 6 ounces Saturday to win the first Walmart Bass Fishing League Michigan Division tournament of 2015 on Lake St. Clair. For his victory, Dobson earned $5,804. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-johnston-targets-beds-for-big-limit

Johnston Targets Beds for Big Limit

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Ontario, Canada, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 25 pounds, 13 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Northeast Division tournament of 2015 on 1000 Islands. For his victory, Johnston earned $5,632. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-football-jig-helps-bates-net-title

Football Jig Helps Bates Net Title

Matthew Bates of Greenville, Mississippi, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 20 pounds even Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Mississippi Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Ferguson. For his victory, Bates earned $3,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-hipsher-hops-ledges-for-victory

Hipsher Hops Ledges for Victory

Craig Hipsher of Benton, Kentucky, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 22 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League LBL Division tournament of 2015 on Kentucky and Barkley lakes. For his victory, Hipsher earned $4,385. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-lauer-wins-on-ohio-river

Lauer Wins on Ohio River

David Lauer of McConnelsville, Ohio, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 12 pounds, 5 ounces Saturday to win the second Walmart Bass Fishing League Buckeye Division tournament of 2015 on the Ohio River. For his victory, Lauer earned $6,289. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-29-creature-bait-does-it-for-berhorst

Creature Bait Does it for Berhorst

Dennis Berhorst of Holts Summit, Missouri, weighed a five-bass limit totaling 16 pounds, 12 ounces Saturday to win the fourth Walmart Bass Fishing League Ozark Division tournament of 2015 on Lake Truman. For his victory, Berhorst earned $5,963. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-wendlandt-back-at-the-top

Wendlandt Back at the Top

It’s been 14 seasons since Clark Wendlandt last stood on a Walmart FLW Tour stage and hoisted a tournament championship trophy. Since that time, the Texas pro has experienced ups and downs, including an Angler of the Year title (his third) in 2009 and a major medical issue that sidelined him for most of the 2014 season. All that’s in the past now, however, and Wendlandt is right back where he belongs in the world of bass fishing – in first place after the final day on the Potomac River in the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-top-10-patterns-from-the-potomac-river

Top 10 Patterns from the Potomac River

Clark Wendlandt didn’t pull off any secret techniques to win the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. He simply found an area with the right quality of bass to win and managed it perfectly despite facing a medley of Mother Nature’s toughest challenges. The rest of the top 10 stuck with the standard Potomac targets too, namely grass, docks and wood cover. The only underlying trend of the top 10 is that they found areas to themselves. Here’s how the rest of the top 10 got it done at the 2015 Tour finale. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-28-potomac-river-day-4-coverage

Potomac River Day 4 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-wendlandt-receives-helping-hand

Wendlandt Receives Helping Hand

Not to discredit Clark Wendlandt’s skills as a bass fisherman, but if it wasn’t for an extreme act of kindness on the part of fellow competitor Shin Fukae, Wendlandt wouldn’t be where he is this evening – leading through three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-3

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 3

Pouring rain, gusting winds, a remarkable act of kindness, an Angler of the Year title on the line – day three of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River certainly was not boring. To say the top 20 anglers were waterlogged after Saturday would be any understatement, but as nasty as the weather was, it wasn’t the biggest story of the day. Shinichi Fukae generously helped Clark Wendlandt retain his lead, while Scott Martin sealed the deal on his first AOY title. Meanwhile, a number of other anglers scrambled to adjust with what the weather and the Potomac are throwing at them. Here’s how the rest of the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-27-potomac-river-day-3-coverage

Potomac River Day 3 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on the Potomac River presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-wendlandt-in-familiar-territory

Wendlandt in Familiar Territory

A lot of flip-flopping took place on the second day of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. When the scale closed, it was three-time Tour Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt who found himself on top with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 10 ounces. Wendlandt caught 17-13 today – the day’s second-heaviest limit – and leads Potomac local Bryan Schmitt by 1-12 going into the weekend. Wendlandt missed part of last season after suffering a heart attack but has rebounded with good success this season. He has won three times on Tour but hasn’t finished in first place since Beaver Lake in 2001. Details to come on the patterns of the top five. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-26-potomac-river-day-2-coverage

Potomac River Day 2 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-jersey-boy-leads-the-pack

Jersey Boy Leads the Pack

Talk about a traffic jam. And, no, we’re not talking about the streets around the Washington, D.C. area. We’re talking about the standings at the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. Adrian “Jersey Boy” Avena leads the way with a 16-pound, 12-ounce limit, but a total of 41 pros weighed in at least 12 pounds. Many pros lamented the tough bite today, but the results say otherwise as 114 limits were brought to the scale on the pro side. Troy Morrow trails Avena by just 1-06, and 1 ounce behind Morrow is one of the most successful tidewater bass anglers of all time, Bryan Schmitt. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-top-5-patterns-from-potomac-river-day-1

Top 5 Patterns from Potomac River Day 1

It might seem impossible for 405 miles of water to fish small, but space was hard to come by on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event presented by Ranger Boats on the Potomac River. The creeks near takeoff at Smallwood State Park have seen as much traffic as a Washington, D.C. highway at rush hour. On the flip side, anglers who were able to develop patterns that got them away from the crowds, such as day-one leader Adrian Avena, have been able to reap the benefits of what has been a stingy fishery. Here’s how the rest of the pros in the top five caught their fish today. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-aoy-shake-up-martin-makes-his-move

AOY Shake-Up: Martin Makes His Move

Scott Martin has been talking about winning the Angler of the Year title since before the 2015 Walmart FLW Tour season started. It’s on his mind and for good reason: Angler of the Year is the only major FLW title he hasn’t won in what Martin has built into one of the most decorated professional fishing careers in FLW Tour history. Today, on the first day of competition at the Tour finale on the Potomac River, Martin has unofficially moved into the lead in the AOY race for the first time all season. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-25-potomac-river-day-1-coverage

Potomac River Day 1 Coverage

Daily updates from the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Chickamauga presented by Ranger Boats. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-richardson-wins-all-american

Richardson Wins All-American

Curtis Richardson has a way of surprising people – even himself. The Ontario angler had all but written himself off in the championship round of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American, thinking his limit of five bass wouldn’t hold up for long with the likes of Jeremy Lawyer and Bill Schroeder breathing down his neck. READ MORE »

/news/2015-06-20-all-american-midday-update-day-3

All-American Midday Update Day 3

Big changes might be coming in the standings of the Walmart Bass Fishing League All-American on Kentucky Lake, as some of the top 10 leaders struggled this morning to catch limits. Canadian angler Curtis Richardson, who currently is leading, had only one 3-pound keeper by midmorning. And second-place boater Billy Schroeder, who had fished just below the Paris Landing Bridge for the first two days, finally bailed out from there after catching four keepers this morning. READ MORE »