Thursday, March 31, 2022

Heavy Neko Rig: The Easiest Way to Fish Matted Grass

Fishing matted grass needs the correct tackle. But, what happens when you're not comfortable using a magnum bullet weight and punching rig? Look no further than a heavy spinning rod and reel spooled with braided line and a beefed up neko rig.

Check out this video and learn how to break through the heavy cover without using the big rod. Neko rigged senko style worm with braid is a great solution if you know how to rig up for monster bass.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Bobby Lane Wins Redcrest 2022 Presented by Costa on Grand Lake!

Florida pro Bobby Lane caught the REDCREST-winning bass with less than 3 minutes left. (Photo: Berkley) 


GROVE, Okla. – It was hard to keep up with the action in one of the most dramatic finishes in Major League Fishing history. REDCREST 2022 Presented by Costa was one for the ages.

The suspense never wained throughout the Championship Round with numerous lead changes and nobody running away with the win as the weights remained close all day. Several anglers made big runs at various points, and it became clear that whoever had their hot streak last would take home the trophy.

The group of Bobby LaneLuke ClausenJacob Wheeler, and Dustin Connell battled it out at the end and Lane came out on top as the 2022 REDCREST Champion after catching 10 bass for 29 pounds, 14 ounces.

Before Lane’s triumph, a dizzying array of catches came across SCORETRACKER® late in the game with the lead held by four anglers during the third period. It was set up to be a showdown between the anglers using forward-facing sonar, Wheeler and Connell, and the anglers casting to shallow targets without relying on their electronics, Lane and Clausen.

Clausen began the period with the lead before Connell took control. Then came Wheeler, who held the lead for more than an hour. Lane then caught a 2-0 with less than three minutes to go. Clausen then added a 4-2 mere seconds later. 

But, when the clock stopped and the waters calmed on Grand Lake, Lane prevailed for the biggest win of his career.

Lane Emotional After Win

Lane has had a stellar career with a Major League Fishing World Championship, MLF Cup titles, and a Bassmaster Elite Series win, but this is now easily his most significant achievement. He’s also been very close to more wins, including some heartbreakers last year.

“It’s a big monkey off of my back, and I’ve fought the battle for a long time to win a big one again,” he said. “Last year, Wheeler beat me by 2 ounces on Lake Travis and that was running through my mind today. Those demons are behind me, and I’m finally standing here as the REDCREST Champion.”

During the week, Lane quietly had success each day of fishing. He began the tournament with a sixth-place standing after catching eight bass for 26-12, then added four for 9-9 the next day. In his group’s Knockout Round, he tallied 27-13 on nine fish to make it to Championship Sunday.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Neko Rig Hack! Never Loose Another Weight Again with IBASSIN (PROVEN)

Neko rigging is a super popular bass fishing technique but loosing all those nail weights is a major pain! Check out this bass fishing hack that attaches a wire keeper onto nail weights saving you money and time on the water. This approach is ideal for largemouth, smallmou
th and spotted bass!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Drew Cook Wins 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on Santee Cooper Lakes with 105-05lbs!

Canadian: Cory Johnston 5th

Drew Cook of Cairo, Ga., has won the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes with a four-day total of 105 pounds, 5 ounces. ( Photo: BASS)

BASS Press Release 

CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — Before the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes began, Drew Cook had never led a single round of an Elite Series event.


Apparently, he was just saving up for the best event of his career.


The Cairo, Ga., pro grabbed the lead on Day 1 of the tournament with an astounding catch of 31-13 and then never relinquished the first-place spot, as bags of 24-12, 24-3 and 24-9 pushed him to a four-day total of 105-5. He earned one of the blue trophies that every pro covets, a $100,000 paycheck and a Century Belt for catching more than 100 pounds.


Cook and second-place pro Caleb Kuphall (103-1) became the 33rd and 34th different anglers to reach Century Club status — and Lakes Marion and Moultrie have now produced eight Century Belts, the second-most in Elite Series history, with only Falcon Lake in Texas producing more (15).


“I completely forgot about the Century Belt. That’s cool,” Cook said. “It was a perfect storm this week. I had a blast. I did really well keeping my composure. There were a couple of times this week the wheels could have fallen off. I acted like I had been there before and it all worked out.”


Cook spent his entire week doing what he loves best, sight fishing for spawning largemouth using a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog.


“That is what is so awesome about it,” he said. “All my friends joked with me and said I was going to win my first tournament either at a place like the Sabine or with a spinning rod smallmouth fishing.


“To be able to win my first one wire-to-wire with my favorite rod doing my absolute favorite things, it is a blessing.”


Spending his time in the Potato Creek region of Lake Marion, Cook caught the majority of his weight in lily pad fields that were located next to deep water.


In practice, the female bass he found had not locked onto beds. But come tournament time, they settled close to the only male he found on bed.

Monday, March 21, 2022

2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on Santee Cooper Lakes Day 3: Cook Leads as Massive Limits Weighed!

Canadian: Cory Johnston 6th

Drew Cook of Cairo, Ga., is leading after Day 3 of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on Santee Cooper Lakes with a three-day total of 80 pounds, 12 ounces. ( Photo: BASS)

BASS Press Release 

CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — When the threat of strong winds and storms postponed the third day of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper LakesDrew Cook watched from his rental house as boat after boat entered the area where he has dominated the event.


But despite the local boat traffic and a day off with no idea what happened to his area, Cook sacked a limit weighing 24 pounds, 3 ounces to maintain his lead with a three-day total of 80-12. With previous bags of 31-13 and 24-12, Cook holds more than a 4-pound lead over Idaho's Brandon Palaniuk (76-6) and Oklahoma pro Luke Palmer (76-3).


“I’m staying across the creek from the cove I’ve fished every day, and it was pretty brutal to sit there and watch it happen,” Cook said. “I can’t complain. I still have a 4-pound lead and we are one day away.


“Having that lead is nice, but a 4-pound lead here really isn’t much. I could go catch 20 pounds tomorrow and Luke (Palmer) could catch 24 pounds and there goes my lead. That is one bass here and there is a pile of 4-pounders.”


The Georgia resident continued sight fishing for bedding bass on Day 3, catching eight total fish with his biggest weighing approximately 7 pounds on BassTrakk. Throughout the week, Cook has struggled during the morning hours and one big bass he saw on Friday was gone when he went back Sunday.


While there are new fish, both males and females, Cook was surprised he didn’t see more.


“If you would have said there was going to be a day off, you would think there would be more bass pulling up than there was,” he said. “A lot of that could have been from the local pressure. There were still new ones up there, and I’m sure there will be new ones tomorrow too.”


Cook plans to start Championship Monday in the same area on a big bass he saw Sunday and give the rest of the area a look. But he will likely be fishing new water much of the day.


Saturday, March 19, 2022

Severe Weather Forces Day 3 Cancellation Of Bassmaster Elite At Santee Cooper Lakes


CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — Forecasts of high winds and severe weather have forced the cancellation of Day 3 at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on Santee Cooper Lakes.

"Safety for our anglers and marshals is our primary concern," said Lisa Talmadge, Tournament Director-Bassmaster Elite Series. "We have been monitoring the weather closely alongside the local National Weather Service. Beginning mid-morning and into the afternoon, the NWS is calling for gusts to 30 mph, lightning and large hail.


"In addition to considering the safety of those on the water, we also want to ensure fans coming to our Outdoors Expo and weigh-in stay safe."


The competition will resume Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. ET when the Top 47 anglers launch onto Santee Cooper Lakes for Championship Sunday.


FS1 will broadcast live with the tournament leaders beginning at 8 a.m. ET. Live coverage can also be streamed on and the FOX Sports digital platforms. 

Friday, March 18, 2022

2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on Santee Cooper Lakes Day 2: Cook Continues to Lead!

Canadians: Cory Johnston 6th, Chris Johnston 52nd & Gustafson 66th 

Drew Cook of Cairo, Ga., is leading after Day 2 of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on Santee Cooper Lakes with a two-day total of 56 pounds, 9 ounces. (Photo: BASS)

BASS Press Release 

CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — Former Bassmaster Rookie of the Year Drew Cook had never led an Elite Series event until Day 1 of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes, but Cook took the milestone in stride by catching 24 pounds, 12 ounces on Day 2 to stretch his lead in the event.


After a catch of 31-13 on the first day, which leads the VMC Monster Bag standings as the tournament's heaviest bag, Cook now has a two-day mark of 56-9 that gives him a sizeable lead over Idaho pro Brandon Palaniuk (second, 48-15) and Louisiana pro Greg Hackney (third, 48-1).


“I should have had another really big bag,” said Cook, who resides in Cairo, Ga. “When it is going your way, it is going your way. At 10 o’clock I didn’t have a bass. I stayed on a female for too long and I left, went to another one, caught her. Then I went back to that (first) one and, on the first cast, I caught her.


“It’s been going right and hopefully it will keep going right.”


Despite a slow start, Cook continued to show off his sight-fishing prowess, picking off bedding bass with a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog in tilapia magic. His heaviest fish weighed 7-8.


“I never spun out or anything. I kept my head in it, I thought, really well,” Cook said. “This is the first time I’ve ever been in this situation. It could have easily gone the other way. I caught one female, then another one and then a big male. Once we got things rolling we kept on.”

2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on Santee Cooper Lakes Day 1: Drew Cook Smashes 31-13lbs for Lead!

Canadians: Cory Johnston 14th, Chris Johnston 38th & Gustafson 47th 

Drew Cook of Cairo, Ga., is leading after Day 1 of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on Santee Cooper Lakes with 31 pounds, 13 ounces. (Photo: BASS) 

BASS Press Release 

CLARENDON COUNTY, S.C. — Drew Cook has a history of making life difficult for himself with tough Day 1 performances.


But by catching 31 pounds, 13 ounces, Cook shed his streak of bad opening rounds and leads the field of 94 anglers after the first day of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite Series on Santee Cooper Lakes.


The Cairo, Ga., resident holds more than a 2-pound lead over Wisconsin pro Caleb Kuphall, who landed in second with 29-10, and nearly a 4-pound lead over Louisiana pro Greg Hackney.


“I said I was going to act like I was 12 pounds behind from the get-go,” Cook said. “I have never won one of these things and have never really had a good start to an event. Hopefully, with a good start, we can keep it going.”


Cook secured his catch a couple of hours after takeoff at John C. Land III Sport Fishing Facility, all by sight fishing. He found many of the bass he caught on Thursday during practice, but they had not locked onto a bed. There was one male, however, that had locked on during practice and Cook located those females around that male on tournament day. 


“I only had two females to start on, and I caught one of them right off the bat and then I caught the next one,” Cook said. “A couple of the ones I had seen swimming around had moved onto bed. We were done at like 11 a.m. I watched every one of them (eat it). It was a lot of fun.”


Right before the beginning of the official practice period, a front moved through the area bringing colder temperatures and rain to Lakes Marion and Moultrie, which have been a few feet lower than normal. But the subfreezing lows for the weekend and the beginning of the week have now been replaced with warmer days and nights.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Christian Creico Wins 2022 Tackle Warehouse Tour Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes!

By Kyle Wood

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Press Release 

LEESBURG, Fla. – Success in tournament bass fishing is a mix of having a solid game plan, trusting your instincts and maybe a bit of luck, and when they all come together special things can happen.

Case in point, Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me rookie Christian Greico at Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Presented by Frogg Toggs. The Tampa, Florida, pro knew exactly what he wanted to do when he saw the Harris Chain on the schedule and he executed it flawlessly.

“I liked the timeframe of this event a lot because I knew it gave those fish an opportunity to move to some postspawn areas that maybe some of the other guys wouldn’t really know about or key in on,” Greico said. “So in practice, I hit a few shell bars and saw they were out there, then I knew a lot could happen and I could have a really good shot (at winning).”

Greico spent the first three days of the event running around Lake Harris fishing shell bars with mixed results. Though he caught 15 pounds, 11 ounces and 22-5 over the first two days, the young pro quickly realized his shell bite was fading.

“The first three days I really leaned on those shell bars,” said the 23-year-old pro. “I caught a 5-pounder the second day flipping a Kissimmee grass line, but primarily I was just on those shell bars.

“After yesterday, that bite was just deteriorating on me. I wasn’t getting near as many bites as I had been the past few days.”

To pluck fish schooled up on shell bars in 10 to 12 feet of water, Greico relied solely on a Carolina rig. His setup was a 7-foot, 6-inch, heavy-power 13 Fishing Muse Black rod with an 8.3:1 gear ratio 13 Fishing Concept C2 reel spooled with 20-pound-test fluorocarbon. On the business end, a ¾-ounce weight pulled around either a Googan Baits Slim Shake or a Googan Baits Dart. But after scraping together just 11-4 on Day 3 to barely slide into the Top 10, Greico knew he had to make a change.


Wednesday, March 16, 2022

2022 Tackle Warehouse Tour Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Day 3: California Rookie Loberg Leads into the Final Day!

By Kyle Wood

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Press Release 

LEESBURG, Fla.– If the fishing on the final day is anything like it was on Day 3, tomorrow’s finish to Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Presented by Frogg Toggs is going to be one for the record books. Jeff Reynolds and Michael Neal (he’s unstoppable!) both caught more than 27 pounds on Day 3, and Andrew Loberg tallied 22-10 on Day 3 for a 57-11 total that put him on top prior to the weights zeroing out on the final day.

One of the most consistent pros all week, Loberg put his best weight of the week on the scale today, which he believes is mostly due to the fact he’s getting more dialed in.

“I’ve said it a few times, but a lot of the style of fishing [in Florida] reminds me a lot of Clear Lake, which is kind of my home lake,” said Loberg. “Shallow grass, all the tules, dirty-ish water and I really like targeting postspawn fish and they love going to the grass after they spawn. So that’s what I started doing in practice.

“I found a few areas and really just capitalized on those areas and milked them each day. Which is good because I’ve learned more and more each day as I’ve fished about the spots and what’s going on.”

Doing his damage in Lake Eustis, Loberg has been making the most of the morning bite each day.

“The morning bite each day has been kind of my best deal, especially for a bigger bite,” said the former Chico State angler. “As the day goes on it seems like it’s harder to get multiple bites. It’s kind of one here, one there. But the weather is changing so much you kind of almost have to practice in your areas and figure out how they are going to bite with all the changing conditions.”

Given that the Top 10 starts with a clean slate tomorrow, Loberg knows he’s likely got to bust his biggest bag of the event to have a shot at winning. With what he’s learned over the course of three days firing reaction baits around his spots, he’s going to lean on his West Coast roots to try and help him seal the deal.

“I’ve learned where the sweet spots are on my areas,” he said. “I’m going to try to figure out some other baits to throw and I’m definitely going to be throwing a big swimbait tomorrow just to see if I can get bigger bites. Over 20 (pounds) is for sure going to win it, so I really need to capitalize on the morning and strategize with different baits because I’ve put a lot of pressure on those areas over the last few days.”

With wins at the college and Toyota Series levels under his belt, the 28-year-old pro is used to closing events, though he’s never fished a tournament of this magnitude. But in classic Loberg form, he’s excited for the challenge and ready to get back out and do what he loves – go fishing.

Top 10 below

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

2022 Tackle Warehouse Tour Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Day 2: Christian Greico Jumps into Lead!


By Jody White

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Press Release 

LEESBURG, Fla.– Perfect Florida weather headlined Day 2 of Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Presented by Frogg Toggs and many pros took full advantage. Weighing 22 pounds, 5 ounces today,  Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me rookie Christian Greico moved from 28th into the lead with an even 38 pounds. Behind him, Kerry Milner moved from third to second with a 36-3 total and Jason Reyes moved up from ninth to third with a 35-10 total.

Tomorrow, the Top 50 will duke it out for a chance to fish on the final day with zeroed weights for up to a $135,000 payday. With almost every lake in the chain producing now, and only about a 4-pound difference between 10th and 36th, it sure looks like Day 3 on Tuesday is going to be interesting from start to finish.

Today, Greico leaned on local knowledge and Florida savvy to move up the leaderboard in a big way. Hot as a pistol of late, Greico has banked four Top 10 finishes in the Sunshine State in the last two years.

“It feels really good,” said Greico after taking the lead. “When I saw the schedule and saw the Harris Chain was on there, I knew that was probably going to be my best shot at winning one of these.

“It was a good day out there,” he said. “Yesterday I figured something out in the last two hours and ran that a little bit today. I started off a little bit slow, but as the water heated up it got pretty good. I had about 18 pounds, and then I ran some other stuff and caught a 5-pounder. It just seemed like every decision worked out for me.”

Fishing mostly shell offshore, Greico added a 5-pounder late in the day flipping Kissimmee grass.

Top 10 Pros Below

Monday, March 14, 2022

2022 Tackle Warehouse Tour Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Day 1: Keith Carson Scores Lead!

Two monsters anchors 23lb bag for Keith Carson
(Photo: MLF)

By Jody White

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Press Release 

LEESBURG, Fla. – The conditions at takeoff on Day 1 of Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Presented by Frogg Toggs were universally agreed to be terrible. But by the end of the weigh-in, with the sun shining and local favorite Keith Carson slotting into the 10th spot with a kicker plucked from a bed, the day turned out to be a pretty good one.

Setting the pace, Grant Galloway put 23 pounds, 9 ounces on the scale to earn the lead. In second, Randall Tharp, one of the biggest hitters in Florida, caught 22-15. Hot on his heels, Kerry Milner wrangled 22-13 for third.

A sophomore pro from Mississippi, Galloway has struggled in his start on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me, never finishing above 100th so far. After today, with an 8-pounder and a 9-pounder to his credit, he may have finally got the ball rolling.

Things started out poorly for Galloway, however, as big wind in his area had him frustrated and mentally scattered.

“I got there and it was really windy, it was blowing right down the pipe of the area I was fishing,” said Galloway. “I finally settled in, there was one local boat in the area, and I saw him catch a few, so that kinda made me settle down. I slowed down, went to pitchin’, and it was just not working.”

Then, at about 9 o’clock in the morning, things changed dramatically.

“I had one point that was windblown, and I bombed one up there, set the hook, and she wrapped me up in the pads,” said Galloway. “So, I high-tailed it to her and grabbed it. So, I get her in the boat, after I pass out and come back twice.”

That was his first big one.

“I go on down the bank, and I saw a blown-in trash mat,” said Galloway. “I pitched over there, with a pitching bait, ‘thunk.’ I set the hook, and I just pinned it, I didn’t know what it was. So, I high-tailed over to it, and I could just see her lip sitting in the mat. When I grabbed it, I didn’t have a clue how big it was.”

In a matter of minutes, Galloway went from a goose egg to 17 pounds for two fish.

From there, the former Mississippi State angler pulled out a jerkbait to finish his limit and get over 20 pounds. Then, he moved to a flat and wound a crankbait to cull up several times to hit his leading mark.

Having had a good practice, Galloway is in much better shape than he’s used to after Day 1, despite struggling with the conditions.

“I wasn’t able to fish thorough, I didn’t even get to fish a couple stretches that I just intentionally wanted to fish slow,” said Galloway. “The wind was just too bad. Hopefully, it lays down, and I can capitalize on that tomorrow.

“It’s Florida, and every time I’ve fished here, the big bite goes a long way, especially in these multi-day events,” said Galloway. “Do I think I can do it again? Yeah, if the good Lord’s willing. But, it’s all about the bite. I’m not targeting specific sized fish. It’s not like we’re on the Tennessee River and I’m graphing a school and I know how big they are. It’s just the luck of the flip. I feel like as long as I’m around numbers, the quality will show itself.”

2. Randall Tharp – 22 – 15 (5) 

Pretty high up there on the list of pre-tournament favorites, Randall Tharp landed a 9-7 for the Day 1 Berkley Big Bass and seems to be on pace to be terrifying for the rest of the field.

Catching just 10 keepers, Tharp caught the right ones for sure.


Friday, March 11, 2022

Daiwa Launches New High Performance EXIST Spinning Reel Family

Behold the newest of high-end freshwater and inshore spinning reels, Daiwa’s brilliantly designed EXIST. Style, innovation, research, and passion come together in the birth of the new EXIST. Anticipated by anglers—a top-of-the-line freshwater spinning reel featuring all the bells and whistles—is now in DAIWA’s newest line-up of 2022 products! 

“What you find in the EXIST is a flagship freshwater spinning reel designed and manufactured for the most serious of anglers seeking the highest level of performance, weight reduction and rotation,” says Marc Mills, Daiwa Senior Marketing Manager. “We’re proud to offer more than what anglers have been asking for or even expecting in the EXIST.”

“Perhaps the most important design consideration in the EXIST’s supreme performance,” comments Mills, “is Daiwa built the entire reel around the AIR DRIVE concept.”

For starters, the new EXIST family features an all-new EXIST Air Drive System with ZAION Air Drive Rotor, Air Drive Bail, Air Drive Spool, and Air Drive Shaft. Thanks to ZAION, the new EXIST Air Drive Rotor is 15% lighter, features a screwless design, flush surface, and greatly increased rigidity. The design eliminates design waste without reducing strength. But the largest benefit to the AIR DRIVE ROTOR is the lighter rotation providing you less handle turning resistance.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Dustin Connell Wins Stage Three on Lewis Smith Lake MLF Bass Pro Tour !

MLF Press Release 

CULLMAN, Ala. – For the second time in two years, Alabama is “home sweet home” for MLF pro angler and 2021 REDCREST Champion Dustin Connell of Clanton, Alabama, who caught a total of 33 bass weighing 71 pounds, 2 ounces during Monday’s Championship Round to take home the big, red trophy and $100,000 at the Favorite Fishing Stage Three on Lewis Smith Lake Presented by Mercury in Cullman, Alabama. This was Connell’s second major national win in his home state, the first being REDCREST 2021 on Lake Eufaula, in Eufaula, Alabama. 

Monday marked the seventh time Connell has qualified for the Championship Round on the MLF Bass Pro Tour. The MLF NOW! broadcast team coined the Alabama pro “Connell the Conqueror” – a moniker that just may stick after battling it out with a star-studded field of fierce competitors and a headliner list of some of the best in the business.

Connell said he felt blessed to be able to find his honey-hole on Lewis Smith Lake and that everything lined up the way it did on the final day. 

“I rolled in here during the afternoon of the Knockout Round. When I saw the fish and the opportunity in here my adrenaline started rushing and I thought, ‘Oh my goodness – this is the winning spot’,” Connell said. “I knew if I could make it into the Championship Round, it could happen. I woke up this morning and told my wife and my camera guy Brett, ‘It could happen today.’


Monday, March 7, 2022

Jason Christie Wins 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic Presented by Huk Day!

Canadian Chris Johnston 5th!

Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla., has won the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk with a three-day total of 54 pounds. 
(Photo: BASS) 


GREENVILLE, S.C. — For years, Jason Christie has had to live with the crushing weight of leading pro fishing’s biggest event twice on the final day, only to fall short.


But no more.


The 48-year-old pro from Park Hill, Okla., led once again going into Championship Sunday and this time sealed the deal in dramatic fashion with a final-day limit of 17 pounds, 9 ounces that made him the champion of the 52nd Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk at Lake Hartwell. His three-day total of 54-0 was only 5 ounces better than that of second-place finisher Kyle Welcher, who shared the lead with Christie going into the final day.


The event drew a Classic-record 154,932 fans.


“Honestly, when I was sitting at the door waiting to come in and weigh my fish, I thought I had given it away again,” said Christie, who pushed his career earnings with B.A.S.S. to $1,668,011 with the $300,000 victory. “Stetson Blaylock had just weighed in a big bag, and Kyle Welcher used to be a professional poker player, so I knew he had more than what he was saying.


“I knew it was gonna be close. I honestly thought there could be a tie, and that was scary for me because I didn’t have any fish left.”


Christie certainly found plenty of fish throughout the week as he alternated between deep- and shallow-water patterns that were about as different as two techniques can be.


He caught half of his weight targeting bass on Garmin LiveScope in a 15- to 30-foot drain that he said held “hundreds of fish” the first two days. He used a spinning rod with a 3/16-ounce jighead and a prototype lure from Yum that only this week earned an official name, the FF Sonar Minnow, which stands for “Forward Facing Sonar Minnow.”


“It’s a bait that I can cast to the fish and work the rod and keep it on him; the bait does not move forward,” Christie said. “It’s a technique that I’ve been working on for about five years now.


“A lot of times you throw a swimbait over the top of them and they’ll just trail it. But you can drop this bait right to the fish and keep it on top of him.”


The drain was good to Christie the first two days. But when he arrived there early on Sunday, he found what he described as a “ghost town.” A spot that had produced half of his weigh-in fish during the week produced only one on the final day — and even though it was his biggest bass of the day, a 4-11 largemouth, he admittedly started thinking, “Here we go again.”