UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Christie’s lead shrinks to six

Christie is still in command! Diet Mountain Dew pro Jason Christie leads the Walmart FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell with a three-day total of 55-14

GREENVILLE, S.C. - As an Oklahoma native, pro Jason Christie is accustomed to fishing dirty water. So when the back of his small pocket was slowly clearing up late yesterday and today, he began to worry. But Mother Nature dumped over an inch of rain on Lake Hartwell Saturday. And overnight, that rain will carry some mud into his area and return the water to its darker tint. That, along with a 6-pound lead, has Christie excited.

Like he did each of the past two days, Christie fished flat, extremely shallow water in the backs of pockets that have a ditch running through them. The largemouths use this water to stage and spawn. One creek is by far his best and he shares it with pros Dan Morehead and Ramie Colson Jr. Morehead was fishing within casting distance of Christie Saturday, but failed to make the top-10 cutoff while Colson is on the other side of the bank.

Christie's day-three limit of 13 pounds, 6 ounces was by far his lightest of the week. But with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 55-14, he still holds a solid lead going into the final day of competition.

"They're there ... I just have to make them bite," Christie said. "I lost a giant this morning on about the third cast on my best stuff. But I think I've figured it out."

Christie said he employed the same technique that he used the first two days - a 1/2-ounce Booyah spinnerbait with a single gold Colorado blade. In addition to throwing over beds, he makes long casts to willows.

"The water has gotten really clear," Christie added. "I thought the lake had come down a lot, but it's actually just clearing up to where I can see the bottom, and I don't like that. They can see my bait too good. I can't tell you how many I had wake my bait ... just running out of the bed after it."

Yesterday Christie caught three bass sight-fishing with a Yum Mighty Bug on what he calls muddy spots. Today they all came on the spinnerbait.

"I'm going to go down swinging doing the same thing tomorrow," Christie said.

The Diet Mountain Dew pro has been in this position before. At the 2009 FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake, Christie led heading into the final day. But he fell from first to fourth as flipping bite died.

"If it's my time it's my time. But I can tell you I feel better about this one than I did leading Beaver a few years ago."

Monsoor makes a move

Second-place pro Tom Monsoor holds up his two biggest bass from day three on Lake Hartwell.Tom Monsoor was unsure yesterday if his prespawn pattern would hold up after two days of pressure and a change in weather conditions. But after he switched from grubs and Senkos to a jerkbait, the La Crosse, Wis., native caught a 16-pound, 6-ounce stringer, the heaviest of the day.
Monsoor has now accumulated a three-day total weight of 49 pounds, 13 ounces.

Just like Christie, Monsoor lost a giant Saturday that would have made a big difference. But he still caught 9 keepers in total. Of the five he weighed, three were nice largemouths and two were smaller spotted bass.

"I think I'm on a pretty consistent pattern," said Monsoor. "But I'm having to work for every bite. Switching to the jerkbait enabled me to fish faster and that was important with an hour and a half less time to fish today."

Monsoor is fishing a couple of 400-yard stretches of clear water towards the dam and targeting staging fish in 6 to 12 feet of water. The sweet spots in these stretches are little stickups of brown grass.

Like Christie, Monsoor has never won an FLW Tour event. With a 6-pound hill to climb, he's within range, but will have to have a banner day tomorrow.

"If he falters, I'd have a chance, but who knows. It's really all up to the fish. But this lake is really something else."

King third
Stacey King sits in third place with one day of fishing left on Lake Hartwell.
In third place is Missouri veteran Stacey King with 45 pounds, 9 ounces. King finished second at Beaver Lake earlier this month and clearly has momentum on his side. His day-three stringer weighed 13 pounds, 2 ounces.

King is focusing on three major creeks off the Tugaloo River. While crowding has been a problem for many of the other finalists, King said has all the space he needs. Like Christie, he's targeting spawning fish in shallow, dirty water.

"I've got a lot of places I've been catching them, I really do," he said. "I'm more worried that the colder weather will set them back - the thunder and lightning especially."

King is using Texas-rigged plastics (lizards, stickworms) with a 3/16-ounce slip sinker to catch his fish.

Thrift retains fourthChevy pro Bryan Thrift is in fourth place with a three-day total of 45 pounds, 6 ounces.

Chevy pro Bryan Thrift didn't make the big move many anticipated today. But he still caught 12-14 and held down his fourth-place position with a total weight of 45 pounds, 6 ounces.

Thrift is primarily fishing one stretch of riprap bank near a bridge in the Tugaloo River. The fish are staging over the riprap and the Shelby, N.C., angler targets them with shallow-running crankbaits, including a Damiki DC 100. One rock in particular has accounted for many of Thrift's fish as he makes repeated casts.

"I sat on that spot today for over five hours," he said. "It's a really good area; I bet I hardly went 45 minutes without getting a bite."

Ehrler up to fifth

Brent Ehrler rose to fifth place after catching 13-7 Saturday.National Guard pro Brent Ehrler has been steadily climbing the leaderboard. After starting the day in eighth, Ehrler caught a 13-pound, 7-ounce limit to rise to fifth. After sight-fishing most of the first two days, Ehrler used a very unique pattern Saturday in the clear water.

The Redlands, Calif., pro believes the motion of his trolling-motor prop is causing the bass to rise up and check out the commotion. Once they come up, they'll follow his Senko or finesse worm all the way down to 15 feet and eventually eat it.

It's a strange pattern to say the least, but its working as Ehrler has a three-day total of 45 pounds, 3 ounces.

"I thought I needed sun, but the rain and clouds really didn't hurt me too bad," he said.

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros at the FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell:

6th: Ramie Colson Jr. of Cadiz, Ky., 45-0
7th: Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., 43-5
8th: Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa., 42-6
9th: Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Ark., 42-5
10th: Joe Thomas of Milford, Ohio, 42-3

Day four of the FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell will begin Sunday at 7:30 a.m. at Portman Shoals Marina located at 1629 Marina Rd. in Anderson.

Tags: brett-carlson  headline-story  2011-03-24-lake-hartwell 

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