UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Grand Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Reel Chat with JASON CHRISTIE

Reel Chat with JASON CHRISTIE
Pro winner Jason Christie holds up his two biggest bass from day four on Lake Hartwell.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Welcome to FLW Live Reel Chat. Today we're joined by bass pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., who is fresh off of his first-ever FLW Tour win.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
With six top-10 finishes on the FLW Tour since 2008 as well as 30 top-10 finishes overall in FLW Outdoors events over the course of his young career, Christie has clearly found his groove and proven that he's a force to contend with at each and every event. Boasting more than $480,000 in career winnings, he finally grabbed his first-ever FLW Tour title on Lake Hartwell on March 27.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Currently ranked 11th overall, Christie now has a realistic chance at making a significant run to the top of the leaderboard in the highly competitive FLW Tour Angler of the Year race.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Today, Jason Christie is here to take questions from you, the fans. So, without further delay, let's get started.

Q: Jason, what was it like to get your first-ever FLW Tour win?
-- Pat Zak (Oakland, Calif.)
A: Well, it was gratifying, and it kind of tells me this is where I need to be. It was rewarding, and now I'm in it for the long haul. Financially, it puts me out there for another couple years for sure.

Q: Do you think you now have a legitimate shot to make a run at the AOY title this year on the FLW Tour?
-- Matt Hunt (San Diego, Calif.)
A: Definitely. I was telling a guy earlier that the next tournament is a big one; I either make a run at it, or I fall off. But if (Bryan) Thrift keeps fishing the way he is, none of us have a chance; but the guy has to come back to Earth eventually. But yeah, I definitely think I have a chance.

Q: What's the next goal now that you've got that Tour win?
-- Mitch (Pine Bluff, Ark.)
A: Two Tour wins is my first goal. It's like anything else: Once you do it, you want more of it. And now I expect more out of myself, and the people around me expect more out of me. After that, winning AOY and the Forrest Wood Cup are my next goals. Those are the goals all of us fishermen want.

Q: I picked you for the Chickamauga tournament. Is that a wise move, and where else should I pick you this year?
-- Nick (Peoria, Ill.)
A: I haven't seen the lake, so I'm not sure, but it is the time of year I like. The fish should be relating to the bank and should be in some stage of the spawn, which I like. The other tournament I like would probably be Kentucky Lake. I just have a lot of confidence there. The fish are on the ledges, and I like that. Everybody thinks I just fish shallow, dirty water, but I have a lot of confidence fishing ledges that time of year.

Q: Jason, at what point in the tournament did you feel confident that you were going to win your first FLW Tour title?
-- Jon Pageler (New York, N.Y.)
A: I would say I felt comfortable at 1 p.m. the last day. I thought I had a good chance then, but I wasn't sure until I saw Tom Monsoor struggle. I've been beat by big stringers before, so I definitely wouldn't have been shocked to have been beat by a giant sack.

Q: If you hadn't caught that first fish (on the last day at Hartwell), what was plan B? Where would you have gone and what would you have done?
-- Nick (Greenville, S.C.)
A: There is one word for that - PANIC. I was on the verge of losing all sense of control. That bite really changed the entire tournament - that was the fish that won it. Once you get to chasing your own tail, it usually means bad news. That fish was as important as the 22 pounds the first day. As far as what I was gonna do, I was just gonna start running places I fished in practice and never got to. I was just gonna start fishing faster and covering a lot of water.

Q: What's been the hardest technique for you to master since competing on the FLW Tour?
-- Scott (Harlem, Ga.)
A: Anything involved with a spinning rod. I finished eighth in the Forrest Wood Cup last year on a spinning rod, but that was pretty much drop it down and reel it in. Anything that involves a spinning rod is out of my comfort zone, 100 percent.

Q: Why was the spinnerbait the right lure for those conditions? Why couldn't you flip or work a shallow-water crankbait around the sprouts?
-- Grant (Hendersonville, N.C.)
A: The reason you couldn't flip was there was a lot of sediment, and those fish were spawning on the sprouts and the hard surfaces. If you would have flipped, the bait would have been sitting in the silt and it would've been hard to find. And you could cover so much more area with the spinnerbait. And I actually tried a shallow-running crankbait in the tournament, but there was some type of dead grass in that area that would foul up your casts, and that pretty much knocked the crankbait out.

Q: How heated was it in the back of that creek with Morehead and Colson (at Lake Hartwell)? Guys sharing water when all that money is on the line can be dicey.
-- Hal (Cleveland, Tenn.)
A: There wasn't a lot of heat between us as far as confrontations, but it was stressful in your mind. Every fish you see them catch, you see that as a fish you could've caught, and that's very stressful. But as far as confrontations, there were none. (Dan) Morehead and I basically shared the same bay, and Ramie (Colson) was directly behind us in a similar bay. But the really big ones were definitely in the bay Morehead and I were fishing. The three of us found those fish, and it was like a boxing match, slugging it out. That's part of what made it so gratifying. It was toe to toe, and we were battling every day.

Q: Which beaver-dam creek were you in: Big Beaver or Little Beaver?
-- Jason (Newberry, S.C.)
A: I think it's Big Beaver. It's the 40-acre bay on the north side of a riprap bridge. I watched semis go back and forth on Highway 85 the whole time. It was landlocked between 85 to the north and a rirprapped road to the south.

Q: What's your fastest way to locate fish on a new lake?
-- Chris Walter (Burlington, N.C.)
A: It depends on the water, but it would definitely be something moving fast - like cranking or throwing a spinnerbait. You can cover so much water with a crankbait, and that's what it's all about these days. (Editor's note: See a column from Christie about search baits in the spring for more information; also watch video of Christie, explaining how he likes to fish suspending jerkbaits.)

Q: Jason, how did you locate your prime fishing spots on Lake Hartwell?
-- Titus Song (Minneapolis, Minn.)
A: If you lay a map out on a table, that Beaver Creek will jump up and slap you. It's the best-looking area on the map. It's a protected spawning area, and it was shallow water. This whole bay was just solid blue, and that meant it was shallow. And it helped it was in the midlake area. I actually kind of ruled it out, figuring everybody else would find it. I was boat No. 56, and I was the first boat in there. It would have been ugly if I was the only guy in there. But it could have been a totally different deal if Morehead would have gotten a better boat draw than me.

Q: How much has fishing Oklahoma lakes prepared you for the other lakes you fish on Tour?
-- Billy Rusher (Stilwell, Okla.)
A: I can relate about 90 percent of the lakes on Tour to a lake in Oklahoma. If I had to relate Hartwell to a lake back home, it would be Fort Gipson. That's kind of what I do. I get there, look at it and (then ask), What does this remind of me back home, and how did I catch them (there)? You try and make it similar to the lake I grew up fishing.

Q: When will the bass be done spawning in Beaver Creek (at Lake Hartwell)?
-- Mark (Spartanburg, S.C.)
A: I would say you'll have one more decent wave on the next moon. Barring the weather, that will pretty much be it. Believe it or not, I actually caught some postspawn fish in the tournament. So one more wave will pretty much be it.

Q: I heard you were Okla fishing with a small spinnerbait for the win. Exactly what does that mean, and is it the right time to be doing it here at home in northeastern Oklahoma?
-- Nick Muzljakovich (Wagoner, Okla.)
A: Oklahoma fishing, for me, means shallow-water fishing - 3 (feet of water) or less. That goes back to the question of trying to relate lakes. Given the Jason Christie celebrates after winning the FLW Tour event on Lake Hartwell.way the grass was, it ruled out a rattle bait or boogie bait and made the spinnerbait the best bait for that situation. In northeastern Oklahoma, right now is prime time for that spinnerbait. In my opinion, the calendar should read January, February, March, Spinnerbait, May. April should be renamed Spinnerbait.

Q: What is your favorite sight-fishing bait?
-- Ron (Spooner, Wis.)
A: A 3-inch Yum Mighty Bug in green-pumpkin. I Texas-rig that bait with a 3/8-ounce Excalibur tungsten and a 4/0 Excalibur hook.

Q: Congrats, first off! What do you do when in practice - say two days before the event - you are really catching them, and then - boom - a cold front comes in?
-- TJ (Rogers, Ark.)
A: Cuss, throw a fit. Call a bomb threat in so they move the tournament. No, seriously - you have to change your entire mind set. You can change areas completely, but usually I find the best method is to buckle down and change your approach. If you were catching them on top, now you have to fish on the bottom. At this tourament, I was actually throwing a frog and ended up changing to a spinnerbait when the weather got colder.

Q: If you were going to fish Hartwell in late August or early September, what part of the lake would you focus on most?
-- Chrissy (Hixson, Tenn.)
A: That's a tough one. I've never been there (at that time of year), but more than likely a person is going to have to find the herring somewhere. You'll either have to drop-shot trees or fish a deep-diving crankbait. That would be my best guess. The other option would be to run as far away from the herring as possible and try to catch them shallow.

Q: For a young angler wanting to follow in your footsteps,what advice would you give him?
-- Logan (Hixson, Tenn.)
A: If you believe that you can do it, then get after it. Everybody starts in the same place: from scratch. I would first fish the local club tournaments, then the BFLs, then the EverStarts, then, if you feel comfortable, the Tour. Time on the water is key. You gotta have time on the water to be able to make those decisions.

Q: If I'm using a 7-inch ribbon-tail worm and they are just picking up the tail, I think because I can't get a hookset, what should I do: go to a smaller worm or straight tail or a shaky head?
-- Craig (Leroy, N.Y.)
A: I would try going to a smaller worm and maybe a different color worm. It might not be a bass nipping at your bait; it could be a perch. And if you're throwing that worm around spawning areas, that's how fish eat. If you're fishing spawning areas, you should probably try something more compact that they can eat.

Q: What water temperature do you like to have before you go look for a shallow, prespawn spinnerbait pattern like you did at Hartwell? What are any other necessary conditions for this pattern?
-- David (Bowling Green, Ky.)
A: I would say the miminum; I actually won a BFL on Grand Lake in the bushes in 43 degrees. But the optimum water temperature is 50 to 58 for prespawn. It's got to be shallow water, and it's got to be somewhere around where they spawn. The same pattern actually works in the fall when the water gets back down to 50 to 58. There was a fall tournament back in the '90s on Lake Hartwell, and it was won in the exact same bay. I didn't know that until afterwards.

Q: Would you have the same strategy and fish the same area if you were fishing the same tournament this week, or would it be different?
-- Jason (Newberrye, S.C.)
A: Definitely. With nobody knowing what happened, I would definitely attack it with the same pattern and probably the same area. And I bet a lot of locals have gone back in there and caught quite a few.

Q: Jason, what are your favorite baits/fishing techniques? Also, are there any techniques you think you need to work on getting better at in the future?
-- Jim Interlandi (Chicago, Ill.)
A: My favorite is shallow-water flipping and power-fishing: frog, spinnerbait and anything with a flipping stick. I need to get better with a shaky head and drop-shot - that kind of stuff.

Q: Hi, Jason. I was wondering how I can become a co-angler. Do you have any tips?
-- Kenny (Wellington, Kan.)
A: It's as simple as calling FLW Outdoors and signing up for a BFL. You'll learn a bunch. And pretty soon you'll start putting that knowledge together and feeling comfortable out there. (Editor's note: Read some tips about how to get started in tournament fishing at FLW.)

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Unfortunately, that's all the time we have to chat with Jason today. Thanks, once again, to all the fans who tuned in and participated in today's Reel Chat. And a special thanks to Jason Christie, the recent FLW Tour winner on Lake Hartwell, for giving us his time and insights into bass fishing. Check back shortly for a complete transcript of today's FLW Live Reel Chat.

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