How Hartwell Was Won
By Luigi De Rose
Under trying conditions, Jason Christie of Oklahoma went wire to wire all four days to claimed the championship at Lake Hartwell this past weekend. To the casual observer, it looks so simple. Whip a spinnerbait out there and reel them in.
Fourth-place Ramie Colson, Jr. and 12th-place Dan Morehead fished the same backwater, yet they couldn't equal his success. Christie's catches over the event were: day 1: 22-04, day 2: 20-04, day 3: 13-06 and day 4: 14-13 for a grand total of 70-11. Jason Christie executed very well and used a proven spring time strategy to keep first place all to himself.
Confidence was the name of his game. During several interviews, Jason explained that his fishing area looked a lot like Oklahoma water. What that meant was his area was very similar to the types of areas he fishes back in his home state. It had shallow flats with trees along the shoreline and an underwater ditch. It was very typical of the areas Jason prefers to fish in the spring.
Feeling comfortable in an area provides a feeling that cannot be matched. This is especially true during high stakes fishing. Its easy to become frazzled and leave a good area. Jason had the confidence, conviction and stamina to work it. Much like how KVD won the Classic, how Brandon MacMillan won at Lake Okeechobee and how Shaw Grigsby won at Harris Chain of Lakes. Each angler found the correct location, with all the features needed for spawning and worked it to death. It is amazing how much repetitive casting is needed to grind out a victory. Larry Nixon, a living legend, explained that he intentionally searched out clearer water at Hartwell. For him, clear water has always worked for him in the past and he felt comfortable there and road it out to a sixth place finish. Even when the wind blew the baitfish out of Larry's location the second day, he stood by his guns like a true veteran.