Phoenix wire reports
GROVE – Rayovac pro Jason Christie of Park Hill had never fished in a four-day tournament on his home waters of Grand Lake of the Cherokees. After leading the first three days of competition at the Walmart FLW Tour at Grand Lake presented by Castrol, all that he needed was one more solid day’s weight to claim his second FLW Tour title of the season.
Christie caught a five-bass limit weighing 19 pounds, 13 ounces Sunday to win $126,000 with a four-day catch of 20 bass weighing 78-1. The catch gave Christie the win by a 5-pound, 5-ounce margin over Chevy pro Bryan Thrift of Shelby, N.C., who surged to his second consecutive second-place finish on the FLW Tour with a four-day total of 20 bass weighing 72-12, earning him $34,266.
“This was such a special week for me,” said Christie, who earned his sixth career victory on Grand Lake in FLW competition. “The way that I was catching them, it brought back a lot of memories. I bet my co-anglers were tired of hearing all of my stories. This lake is responsible for teaching me how to fish.”
Christie said that his main area that he fished this week was a 20-acre stretch in Elk River.
“The main reason that I went there was because that it was an area that I had the most confidence in,” Christie said. “It was only 20 acres, but there is a lot of fishing in that 20 acres – a lot of shoreline, a lot of bushes and a lot of places for the bass to hide.
“The area is on an island,” Christie continued. “When that current gets rolling and rolls around the tips of that island, it really gets the big ones going up there. It was pretty simple. I just got in the bushes and put my head down and got busy.”
Christie estimated that 95 percent of the fish that he caught this week came by flipping, but said that he switched up his baits every day. He boated some key fish the first day on a black BOOYAH Poppin’ Pad Crasher. Other baits that produced for him throughout the week were a YUM F2 Wooly Bug, a BOOYAH jig and an unnamed creature bait.
“I was using a 7-foot, 3-inch Falcon Rod paired with a Lew’s BB1 7.1:1 reel. It was spooled with 20-pound-test fluorocarbon line using Lazer Trokar Flippin hooks. I never missed one fish all week,” Christie said.
The area was also represented by veteran angler Jimmy Houston of Cookson, who finished fourth with 71-11 and pocketed $24,466.