Christie Translates College Basketball Competitiveness to Fishing - Major League Fishing

Christie Translates College Basketball Competitiveness to Fishing

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February 15, 2018 • Joel Shangle • Cup Events

ALPENA, MI – If you dig far enough back into the social-media archives of MLF Summit Cup Angler Jason Christie, you’ll come across a video that could’ve easily landed the Oklahoma native on an episode of Dude Perfect: March 29, 2015, a video titled “I should be ashamed of myself, this is the only way I can beat Ali at H-O-R-S-E.”

In the video, Christie pulls off a next-to-impossible hook shot over the top of the family’s 30-foot-tall garage, a perfect bank into a goal standing on the edge of the driveway some 40 yards away. In the comments, Christie has the following advice: “You won’t score if you don’t shoot it.”

Sound words from a competitor who has racked up 15 wins in B.A.S.S. and FLW competitions, and was bestowed the nickname “The Most Feared Man in Professional Bass Fishing” during a stretch from 2011 to 2013 where he won six tour-level events (including wins in back-to-back weeks at Beaver Lake on the FLW Tour, and Bull Shoals on the Bassmaster Elite Series).

“I’ve always loved to compete,” Christie admits. “It never really mattered at what: basketball, fishing, pool, H-O-R-S-E. If there’s a winner at the end of the contest, whatever the contest is, I want to be that person.”

Christie has fished bass tournaments around his home in Park Hill, Oklahoma since junior high, but his competitiveness was fueled even more on the basketball court: a multi-sport athlete at Tahlequa High School in northeastern Oklahoma, the 6-foot-3 Christie played point guard for two years at Bacone Junior College in nearby Muskogee, and then moved on to Northeastern State University in Tahlequa for two years to finish his college career, setting a single-game record for three-pointers (10) his senior year playing shooting guard.

Even then, though, fishing was his number one source of competitive fuel.

“I played basketball because I knew it would pay for my college, but fishing weekend tournaments with my uncle was what really got me fired up,” Christie says. “I was so competitive and driven to succeed that somedays when my uncle and I didn’t do good at a tournament, I’d drop him off at home and then go back and fish until dark because I didn’t like the way we fished. I just really wanted to win.”

From the Court to the Lake
The question posed to Christie – “How do you connect the two, basketball and fishing?” – might sound like a little bit of a stretch, but his response is immediate: “There are a lot of comparisons between athletics and fishing.”

“It’s all mental,” Christie points out. “It’s all about confidence, and your ability to work hard. Look at THE guy in our sport, Kevin VanDam. The biggest thing he has going for him is his mental toughness and his confidence in himself. You may wonder how confidence can catch you a fish, but you watch VanDam when it’s 1 o’clock and he hasn’t caught anything, he’ll look you straight in the eye and tell you ‘I’m going to find them.’ And 99 times out of 100, he will. It was like that in basketball, too. The last minute you compete is as important as the first minute, and vise versa.”