By Kaylea M. Hutson-Miller - Life-changing is how Casey Ashley describes life after his 2015 win at the Bassmaster Classic.
Ashley, who won last year's tournament on South Carolina's Lake Hartwell, enters this year's Classic as the reigning champion.
According to B.A.S.S. officials, Ashley is one of only three pros who have won the tournament in their own state within the 45-year history of the Classic. The others being Randy Howell, who won in 2014, and Boyd Duckett, who won in 2007.
Ashley won last year's tournament with a final-round catch of 20 pounds, 3 ounces, which brought his three-day total to 50 pounds, 1 ounce. Full Story
MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
By KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer Casey Ashley was a spectator the last time the Bassmaster Classic hit Tulsa and Grand Lake O’ The Cherokees. This time he not only returns as a competitor but as the reigning Bassmaster Classic champion.
He is relishing the opportunity.
“You don’t ever want to miss a Classic anyway, but the way this lake sets up it plays to my strengths and I wanted to be here,” he said. “It really hurt the last time when I didn’t qualify.”
Ashley, 32, of Donalds, South Carolina saw the realization of a childhood dream when he came from fifth place on the final day of the February 2015 Classic to win the world championship on his home lake.
“I’ve been fishing as long as I can remember and this is always what I wanted to do for a living and winning the Classic on my home lake was something else,” he said. “This will be my ninth year on the tour and it’s just been a dream so far. The only thing I can ask for now is to win another Classic.”
And what about this one?
Anything is possible, he said. He likes fishing in cold weather — a factor at Greenville last year as it was even colder there than it was at Grand in 2013.
While he is a southern angler, he enjoys fishing in cold, inclement weather and feels that deeper water bodies with structure like Grand’s play well into his wheelhouse whether it sets up as a crankbait tournament or a jig fishing tournament.
The first weekend of March the weather and water color will tell the story, he said. “It’s pretty much a crapshoot with the weather that time of year,” he said. “It could be snowing or it could be 75 degrees that week. You just have to be able to adjust.” Read More
Photo BassFan: Since the end of the Bassmaster Elite Series regular season last August, Casey Ashley figures he’s spent fewer than 10 days on any body of water with a rod and reel in his hands.
Just this past Monday, he wet a line on Lake Hartwell for the first time since capturing the Bassmaster Classic title there 347 days ago. He’d done some video work on the lake a couple weeks ago, but he hadn’t intentionally made a cast until this week.
“It’s been warm here and the water’s still warm,” he said. “They’re biting. The dumb ones are up shallow and biting. I was just excited to get to go fishing.”
To say it’s been a busy offseason for the reigning Classic champ would be an understatement. It’s been an adjustment for the South Carolina native, who refers to himself as a “homebody.”
“It has been a roller coaster ride for sure,” Ashley said, “and it’s still going. You really find out how valuable your time is now – what time you do have for yourself.”
He said the most hectic portion of the offseason is mostly behind him, but he still has a boat show to be at this weekend and a trip to Florida planned for next week before he can start to sharpen his focus on the Elite Series season ahead.
“I’d like to fish, but you have to do what you have to do,” he said. “I’ll get going soon on things once I get squared away with all of this travel.” BassFan Article
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