Revealed! The lures and tactics that helped Jason Christie to Bassmaster glory
“Put your nose in the dirt and grind,” Jason Christie said on the stage at the 2022 Bassmaster Classic, describing the approach that delivered his victory.
Christie had found one good group of deep fish and a few bass that were around docks, going into the world championship, but not much more. He found most of the fish he would bring to the scales as he fished, during the tournament, sticking with a pattern.
Christie, who entered the final day of the Bassmaster Classic with a lead for the third time in his career, caught 17lb 9oz on the final day, bringing his three-day total to 54lb and giving him the victory by 5oz. His winning weight was nearly 4lb heavier than those from any of the other three Classics held on Hartwell.
Christie used a two-pronged approach, with two very different techniques.
Christie caught some fish that he ended up weighing from a deep-water drain in 15ft to 30ft with a prototype bait, the FF Sonar Minnow by YUM, using a technique he has been perfecting on Lake Tenkiller for years. The technique allows him to keep a bait in front of deeper fish and coax them into biting.
The deep-water approach helped Christie put limits in the boat early on the first two days, allowing him to go shallow to target larger fish by pitching a War Eagle Jiu-Jigsu jig around docks after the sun got higher. He knew the jig would produce less bites, but they would be the fish he would need to win.
On the final day, Christie only caught one fish from his deep-water spot, but it was the largest fish he caught that day.
The biggest part of Christie’s winning weight came in shallow water on the Jiu-Jigsu rigged with 2.75in Green Pumpkin YUM Craw Chunk trailer. He used a GP Orange Craw jig for two days and switched to Green Pumpkin on the final day because he had beat up his other jigs, fishing them around docks for two days. His Craw Chunk was also Green Pumpkin.
Not surprisingly, the Jiu-Jigsu Jig was near the top of Christie’s list of Top 10 Early Spring Bass Baits. It is his go-to bait when fish are tight to docks or other cover.
He focused on very shallow docks, targeting the shallowest part of each dock.
“If it was touching the bank, it was high percentage,” he said. “That’s what they usually do before they spawn. They get up there as close to the bank as they can, and then they build their bed in the sunlight a couple of feet away.
“I was fishing in a foot to three feet, and people think you need a smaller jig in that situation. But when the water is clear, I want to go fast,” Christie said.
Many fish hit Christie’s Jiu-Jigsu jig before it ever hit the bottom, and he caught a few bass swimming his jig back, showing that it was a reaction bite, and that speed was important in the clear water.
Christie, who has said in the past that “when it’s your time, it’s your time,” noted that he did not lose a single fish during any of the three days of competition.