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Welcome to FLW Live Reel Chat. Today we’re joined by Rayovac pro Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., who recently took home the top prize of $125,000 after winning the 2013 FLW Tour event on Beaver Lake.
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With over $800,000 in career FLW earnings to his credit, Christie recently netted his second FLW Tour title with an impressive win on Beaver Lake. Christie now boasts nine tournament titles since he began his FLW career back in 1996. Christie has also recorded 35 top-10 finishes, including 11 on the FLW Tour alone since the 2008 season. The Oklahoma native has qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup four years in a row, beginning with the 2009 season, and currently sits in ninth place overall in the 2013 FLW Tour Angler of the Year standings.
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Today, Christie is here to take questions from you, the fans. So, without further delay, let’s get started.
Q: Congrats on the big win on Beaver. I live on Lake Hudson and would like to know what lures you use in stained water? John Morrow also says keep up the good work. Thanks.
— James Henson (Salina, Okla.)
A: I would say a Booyah spinnerbait as my first choice and a Excalibur One Knocker lipless crankbait and a Booyah jig. Those are my three that I would have on my deck this time of year on Hudson.
Q: Given the circumstances following the past two weeks it seems fitting that the fans get a live chat following another HUGE! win. Are you on Cloud 9 right now or what? Congrats.
— Donald Garrettson (Mobile, Ala.)
A: Absolutely. Its more of a like numb feeling. Its almost like I’m in a dream. What transpired yesterday and over the last couple weeks has been unreal. Everything happens so fast, its hard for it to sink in. I’m sure as I sit here and have some time I will start to appreciate it even more.
Q: BASS has outlawed the umbrella rig which would’ve been a factor in the Bassmaster Classic. Do you think FLW should outlaw it or should BASS rethink its decision?
— Joe (Kirkwood, Mo.)
A: My personal opinion is that I don’t like it. I really think its changed fishing. It changes the way I fish. Certain guys are defined by certain ways of fishing. With us able to use this rig, if they are biting it, you better be throwing it or you’re going to get beat. I just don’t want to see guys like Larry Nixon as a worm fisherman have to throw an Alabama rig. Each of us guys have certain personalities and we’re all different. To me, that’s what makes fishing special. Now I did win the tournament on it but I had to because that’s what they were biting. I respect the decision both organizations have made, but personally I don’t like it.
Q: Jason what is your favorite rod, reel and line setup for jig fishing? What are your situational requirements to throw a jig?
— Jeremy (Birmingham, Ala.)
A: I like to flip with a 7-3 Falcon Cara swimbait rod and a Lew’s BB1 7:1 ratio. My favorite line is 20-pound Silver Thread fluorocarbon. Fish can be caught on a jig anytime and pretty much anywhere. One of the things I would say is that I always look for a jig bite in practice. Because if you can get on a jig bite, you have a chance to win as the jig tends to bring bigger bites.
Q: Congrats on the win! I am curious, what makes you a great closer? It seems that when you are in contention for a win, you always manage to pull it off in impressive fashion.
— Jack (La Crosse, Wis.)
A: Well, he doesn’t remember all the tournaments. There have been a few that I didn’t close – Beaver a few years ago, Lake Ouachita at the Forrest Wood Cup. Believe it or not, those experiences have made me a better closer. The more experience I get, the more I’m not afraid to scratch the plan and go fishing. That’s what happened to me on day four this year at Beaver.
Q: When you got out of your boat the final day at Bull Shoals what did you get out of your truck? How do these last-minute decisions or gut feelings help you become successful?
— Andrew (Nokomis, Fla.)
A: I had an idea that I was going to throw a swimbait some that day. I keep big swimbaits in one box, little swimbaits in another box and jigheads in another box. I keep swimbaits in the boat, but when you’re on Bull Shoals where there is 25 feet of visibility you’ve got to throw small stuff more often not. The funny thing is I never even made a cast with any of it.
Q: Jason, how does this recent stretch where you won both FLW Tour and BASS titles in less than two weeks compare to some of the best moments of your career?
— Jon Pageler (New York, N.Y.)
A: These past two weeks probably have been the best two of my career. To win one is great. To win two, back-to-back, is crazy. It’s got me all spun out to be honest. Its definitely the biggest thing I’ve done so far.
Q: What is your favorite crankbait color in clear, rocky water?
— Tara Hicks (Anderson, S.C.)
A: I would say like a foxy shad – that’s about as lifelike as you can get. In clear water, you want it to look as real as possible. If its bright and sunny, I want the color to be transparent. If its cloudy, I want it to be a little darker where it puts off a profile.
Q: What league is more competitive, FLW or B.A.S.S?
— Carson (Mooresville, N.C.)
A: Both of them have great anglers. I wouldn’t say one is more or less than the other. You look at some of the names on both sides and they are highly competitive.
Q: Where did you fish the first day at Beaver Lake? Why didn’t you start up the river?
— Nick M. (Springdale, Ark.)
A: The first day I fished down around the Copper Mine area. I had developed what I thought was a strong smallmouth pattern. But like I said earlier, when Plan A doesn’t work out go to Plan B. I actually finished my limit up the river the first day. I thought I could catch a 12- or 13-pound limit of smallmouths pretty easily, but I didn’t know Beaver was going to show out like it did.
Q: You just came off probably your busiest stretch of the season fishing both tours. How have you handled it mentally and physically?
— Jordan G. (Tulsa, Okla.)
A: Physically now I actually feel really good. The first stretch from Alabama to Texas wore me out. The bigger kicker in that was making the 9- or 10-hour drive after I made the cut. This one wasn’t that bad. But it probably has something to do with how you’re performing. But I’m ready to go fishing now. The more you fish, the more mentally sharp you become. I’ve had some spurts like this before and they all come down to how often you fish. The more time you spend outdoors, the more in tune you become with it.
Q: The One Knocker Spook keeps catching them year after year. What about that bait is so good compared with other walking-style topwaters?
— Gerry (Joplin, Mo.)
A: You know I think its the sound more than anything. Its funny, back in the day we used to take a regular Spook, cut it open and put BBs in there. Now they have the right size with the right sound. There is just a special sound to that bait that draws those fish out of deep water.
Q: Hi Jason, I was reading your news reports after you won on Beaver and was interested on learning more about some of your strategies. One thing that really caught my attention was when you relate the fish color to where they have been or where they’ve come from. Could you explain that in more detail and how it helps you find out where the fish are.
— Dustin (Wonder Lake, Ill.)
A: A lot of times whenever you catch a largemouth bass and he’s got good, green color, that means he lives shallow. Once I pulled up to those Beaver bass, I was only catching them in 4 or 5 feet of water, but they were snow white. That got me really excited because I thought a lot more were coming to me. I was convinced I was in between where they were and where they wanted to go.
Q: Jason, my dad and I will be fishing in the BFL tournament at Stockton Lake in Missouri this weekend. What would you say could be the key bait and what type of bank,or structure should I be fishing around?
— Nick (Webb City, Mo.)
A: I would say they would be on the last staging area before they spawn. I would say a Rogue or a jig would be good bets for baits. The last stopping place before the spawning area is the key though.
Q: I noticed you flipped bushes both at Smith Lake and at Bull Shoals. Why didn’t you try and flip bushes at Beaver?
— Steve (Flippin, Ark.)
A: Because the bushes at Beaver were 6 feet up on the bank. There were lay-downs here and there, but the bushes were high and dry. If there was water in them, believe me, I would have tried to at least catch them there.
Q: With the back-to-back wins, are you worried about the amount of spectator boats that will follow you on Grand this June? Ever think about hiring a buddy to manage the whole flotilla?
— Hal (Tulsa, Okla.)
A: During the Classic, the first day I really didn’t think the spectator boats would influence the way I fished. But after the second and third days, I saw how it affected everything. So coming to Grand again, that’s definitely something I will think about. I will manage my fishing areas, but I’m not going to hire someone to keep them off. If they’re out there watching me, I would assume they would have the respect to back off if I asked them to. But knowing the people at Grand, I don’t expect to have any problems.
Q: What color Spooks do you use when fishing clear water/dirty water? Do you ever use a Spook Jr. if bass are keying in on smaller baitfish?
— Marcus (Santa Clara, Calif.)
A: I use pearl shad for clear water and in dirty water I like darker colors. And I absolutely use the Spook Jr. I try to use the bigger one, just because I can throw it further, but sometimes the Jr. just outperforms the bigger one.
Q: Jason, When you were on Bull Shoals did you see a lot of fish up on beds or were they in deeper pockets waiting to come to beds? Also, what is your favorite bait to throw when bass are on beds?
— Derek Marveggio (Springdale, Ark.)
A: I didn’t see that many on beds. It seemed there were more on beds during practice than in the tournament. I didn’t know most of them were still out in the middle until the final day. I would say my favorite sight-fishing bait is a Texas-rigged Yum Money Craw.
Q: How deep was the water where you were catching them on the Spook yesterday?
— Ryan Kirkpatrick (Lindenhurst, Ill.)
A: The water was 50-feet deep.
Q: Congratulations Jason. I am curious why the A-rig seems only to work in cold water. Have you tried it in the summer? Why don’t you think it works in warm water?
— Liam (Albany, N.Y.)
A: I have tried it a little bit in warmer water. I’ve caught them on it in the fall when the water is still pretty warm. I don’t think it works as well in the summer because its too slow. I honestly don’t believe fish see as well in cold water. I don’t think there’s any scientific proof of that, but that’s just my opinion. It is too slow and the fish see too well in the summer.
Q: Jason, you seem to have a lot of experience when it comes to winning tournaments. Would you say the majority of your wins are a result of something you found in practice, or something you found during the actual event?
— Thomas Waltz (Fairfax, Vt.)
A: Most of the time when I win I find something special during the tournament. Over the years when I think I have something figured it in practice I don’t that well. The tournaments I win I’m fishing on instincts and that’s when I find that something special.
Q: Do you feel comfortable on highland lakes? Of course, Grand, but you won on Lake of the Ozarks and now Beaver and Bull Shoals. Do they fit your adjust-on-the-fly style of fishing?
— Henry (Berryville, Ark.)
A: I’ve always kind of considered myself a river fisherman. But, I grew up on these highland reservoirs so I have a lot of experience fishing those. When we go to these river tournaments, it gets kind of crowded. In these highland tournaments, you can really move around and adjust. I like to get out and fish by myself and usually highland lakes let you do that.
Q: What made you fish that little bend that produced the two kickers on day four at Beaver Lake? It didn’t look like anything special at first glance.
— Brett C. (Victoria, Minn.)
A: I had driven by there everyday and never fished it. But there were two reasons I liked it. First, it was a good transition. That place there goes from a deep bank to a flat bank. The other reason was that the wind has hitting it perpendicular – blowing right into it. When that happens, it pushes the shad right to the bank. The wind and the transition were the two reasons I stopped there and thank God I did.
Q: Jason congrats on the win at Beaver! I fish the BFL and next tourney is Eufaula. I bought the Flash Mob Jr. and will fish it with the new Fluke Jr. Any other suggestions or tips for Eufaula ?
— Josh Miller (Oklahoma City, Okla.)
A: Whenever you go to Eufaula, and the water is not in the bushes, you’ve got to be fishing rock and it sounds like you already have the baits to catch them. I think the fish, a lot of them, have already spawned. So I would be looking for more post-spawn areas.
Q: First – congrats on a great year so far – keep it going! Question: What is your Spook setup? Braid or mono?
— Bryan (Olathe, Kan.)
A: 30-pound Silver Thread braid with a 15-pound mono leader that is 5- or 6-feet long. I use a 6-6 Falcon Cara, medium power and a Lew’s 6.4:1 BB1.
Q: With water temps here in Oklahoma still in the high 50s do you think some or most of the fish have went ahead and spawned? Or are most of the fish still in the prespawn waiting to move up?
— Jason (Edmond, Okla.)
A: I think there is some in all three stages right now and there probably will be until mid-May. That’s the good thing about the cold weather. It makes the spawn last longer.
Q: Crankbait bite or jig bite for the FLW tournament on Grand in June?
— Henry (Berryville, Ark.)
A: I would say both and a lot more. Grand has many fish in it and guys will be able to catch them a lot of different ways, not just with a jig or crankbait.
Q: Jason, How did you start out your fishing career, and what was the biggest break or best chance to pursue it? When did you realize the dream had became a reality?
— Ernest Brown Jr. (Schell City, Mo.)
A: I started fishing because my family introduced me to it. The big break I had was the EverStart win at Lake of the Ozarks. That put the money in the account and allowed me to make a decision, fish professionally and give it a try. Right now, its working out great.
Q: How does it feel to be labeled as “the hottest angler on the planet?” And how does it to feel to win $225,000 in one week while fishing?
— Ryan Kirkpatrick (Lindenhurst, Ill.)
A: It all still feels like a dream. I know it was happening on the water and it was real, but off the water it doesn’t seem real. It really hasn’t set in. When I get some time to spend around the house with family I’m sure it will slowly set in. That’s really the best part. But to win that kind of money, what can I say, it’s awesome. But to stay where I’m at, I’ve got to keep catching ’em.
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Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have to chat with Christie, who is picking his girls up from school today. Thanks, once again, to all the fans who tuned in and participated in today’s Reel Chat. And a special thanks to Christie, the 2013 FLW Tour Beaver Lake winner, for giving us his time and insights.