If you’ve ever fished all day without a bite, don’t be embarrassed—it happens to Bassmaster Classic champions too. In fact, sometimes, like this week, they fish not one, but two long days without a single bite.
A social media post Monday evening from 2009 Bassmaster Classic Champion Skeet Reese was the first warning shot fired as to how tough fishing is this week at the Bassmaster Elite tournament on the Chesapeake Bay.
“That stinks! A 13-hour day on the Chesapeake without a bite,” posted Reese following the first official practice day on Monday.
Current Bassmaster Classic champion Casey Ashley will be quick to tell you Reese was not alone. Read More
Ever watch male turkeys during their spring strutting rituals? Bent on attracting hens with impressive displays, gobblers proudly strut their stuff with one key objective – maximizing their profile.
Head back, wing tips dragging, tail fully fanned and feathers flared, the long beards figure bigger is better when it comes to wooing the gals. In a way, the same principle applies to mop jigs for bass—sometimes, you just need to show the fish a puffed-up, flared-out profile.
Particularly when summer’s heat makes the midday period tough, Bassmaster Classic champ and Elite Series pro Casey Ashley will reach for a brown mop jig with a green pumpkin Zoom Super Chunk trailer because he knows it presents the right image to interest bass.
“I like a mop jig, especially in the post spawn (when the fish are moving out to deeper water),” Ashley said. “They don’t really want to move much, so when they eat, they want to eat something big.” Read Story
In the newly released July/August issue of Bassmaster Magazine, B.A.S.S. named Lake Hartwell among the 100 Best Bass Lakes in America. Since the 2012 inaugural ranking, this is the first time Lake Hartwell has made the list.
According to B.A.S.S., “This year’s Bassmaster Classic venue illustrated just how good this lake can be even under the toughest of conditions. Casey Ashley won on the strength of his final-day 20.3 limit, giving him 50.1 over three days. And remember, this was in brutally cold conditions. The spotted bass here have all grown up, and 3-pounders abound.” Read More
In the end, the Curse of the Bassmaster Classic won't be denied.
Officially, the Curse involves an angler who lives in the same state the Bassmaster Classic is held in being unable to capitalize on home lake advantage to win the prestigious tournament.
Since the 1970s, a local state angler had never won the Bassmaster Classic until 2007 when Boyd Duckett did it at Lay Lake. In 2014, Alabama angler Randy Howell won the Classic on Lake Guntersville even though there's some debate if being born and raised in North Carolina makes Howell a true Alabama native.
Everyone in the state of South Carolina knows that local Donalds, angler Casey Ashley won this year on Lake Hartwell and with back-to-back local champions, being Howell at Guntersville and Ashley at Hartwell, many said the curse was defeated. Maybe it was just delayed. Checking in with Ashley at the break in the 2015 Bassmaster Elite season, Ashley unashamedly admits he's having the worst tour season of his career.
"So far I've not done so well in the five events I've fished on the tour," Ashley said. "I had a pretty decent showing at Lake Havasu in the desert. I made the top 10. Other than that, I'm just not catching the right fish." Read More
Pro fisherman Casey Ashley, the reigning Bassmaster Classic champion, loves his popper fishing. He’s particularly fond of the XCalibur Zell Pop, but even though the bait comes ready for action, Ashley makes a few adjustments to ensure he gets the performance he needs.
• Split ring. A little extra mobility on the nose helps him keep the bait moving.
• Upsize hooks. “This bait comes with No. 6 hooks, but I change it to No. 4s. What that does is it makes the bait sit down in the water a little more and allows me to work it faster,” he said.
“Changing hooks also makes the bait sit flatter. That way, when you chug it, the bait doesn’t dive; it just spits and walks.” Read More
By Casey Ashley GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Folks, I don’t want this to come across the wrong way.
I think Lake Guntersville is one of the Top 10 bass-fishing destinations in the country, and if I was going to pick a lake anywhere in America just to go fishing for fun, it would certainly be on my short list.
But this is not my favorite place for a professional bass tournament.
For what we do, it’s downright tough.
I don’t mean it’s tough to catch fish. There’s an amazing amount of bass here, and anyone who knows much at all about fishing is going to catch them. Read Full Story
By Alan McGuckin - BassFan Those that listened closely to Casey Ashley talk from the Bassmaster Classic weigh-in stage heard him make a quick reference to a song that got inside his head the night before the final day of competition and steered him to victory.
Drill a little deeper and Ashley confirmed that the song’s lyrics lead to breaking up with his favorite lure the night before, all in an effort to capture the most celebrated 35-pound trophy in the sport the next day.
“If you’d have asked me before the Classic started to name the lure I might win on, I’d have told you a jig,” said Ashley, who eventually won on a homemade horsehead spin his father, Danny, made for him.
To those that know the humble 31-year-old’s overly simple approach to life, that answer would come as no great surprise, because while Ashley hardly one-dimensional in his lure selection, the jig is the one lure he leans on more often than any other to keep confusion out of his tournament game.
Sure enough, Ashley danced with the one that brought him as the tournament began.
“I spent a ton of time – I mean a ton of time – throwing a jig in practice and one particular day, I had 30 bites on it,” he said.
Further confessing how his love affair with a half-ounce Knights Custom Lures Dock Buster jig nearly lead him to heartbreak in the biggest tournament of his life, he admits, “The bites I had on the jig in practice gave me so much confidence that I burned 10 hours of tournament time the first two days of the Classic trying to make ‘em eat it.”
“I was lying in bed the night before the final day of competition thinking about how the jig was letting me down,” he continued, “and I’m not sure why, because I hadn’t listened to it in a while, but Why Lady Why popped into my mind. Full Story
By Mike Suchan - You can take the boy out of the country, but even a Classic victory can’t take the country out of Casey Ashley.
Ashley, two weeks removed from winning the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro, admits the winner’s whirlwind is stronger than he’d imagined, but he’s aiming to keep his feet on the ground, to stay the down-home angler from Donalds, S.C.
“You all know me, I’m just a plain ole' country boy,” Ashley said. “I keep to myself.”
(To see Ashley's post-Classic visit to JM Associates to tape 'Winner's Circle', click here.)
Ashley knows being married to the title doesn’t really allow that, and he’s been busy trying to accommodate everyone in the receiving line. Winning the Classic is every angler’s dream, and he’s certainly not complaining when he admits he wasn’t quite ready for the hectic honeymoon that follows. Full Story
By Bryan Brasher Before last week’s GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro on Lake Hartwell, two questions could be heard across Upstate South Carolina from Anderson to Greenville.
First: “Why would anyone fish in 10-degree weather with icicles hanging from docks and boats freezing to their trailers?
And next: “How would they catch anything in such demanding conditions?”
The why was easy. Because it was the Classic, with fishing’s most-coveted trophy and a $300,000 first-place prize at stake.
And now that it’s all over, here’s a closer look at how the world’s greatest anglers caught the fish that placed them near the top of the Classic standings:
Lure that ruled the Classic: The Fish-Head Spin
Whether it was the homemade version hand-poured by champion Casey Ashley’s father, Danny, or the one used by Jacob Powroznik, the simple-looking Fish-Head Spin put a lot of fish in the boat last week on Lake Hartwell. Full Story