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
Lowrance Pro Casey Ashley wins Tournament with 7 additional anglers in the Top 10 Lowrance — a world-leading brand in fishing electronics since 1957 — once again confirmed its No.1 position among America’s fishing-tournament professionals, following Lowrance Pro Casey Ashley’s 2015 Bassmaster® Classic Championship performance. In the three-day event held on Lake Hartwell, South Carolina last weekend, Ashley boated a five-fish limit each day for a total weight of 50.1 pounds to win the $300,000 top prize – nearly 4 pounds ahead of the second-place finisher.
In addition to Ashley’s championship, seven of the top 10 finishers were Lowrance Pro Team Anglers, and 16 of the top 25 also used Lowrance fishfinder/chartplotters. In the 56-competitor field, nearly 65 percent used Lowrance electronics. This was the fourth consecutive year in which a Lowrance angler won the Bassmaster Classic.
Casey used a set of HDS-12 Gen2 Touch fishfinder/chartplotters, supported with mapping solutions provided by Insight Genesis™ to identify underwater ditches that held the majority of bass he located to win the Classic. Ashley said the key to finding active fish that would bite in the frigid waters of Lake Hartwell was watching them closely on his Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch fishfinder display.
“I caught them all deep,” Ashley said, “and I completely relied on my Lowrance electronics to make it happen. I could literally watch the fish come out of the ditches and onto the flat areas. The fish were holding right on the bottom, but as soon as I started to see fish move off the bottom, I would start getting bites.
The key was marking fish that were slowly moving off the bottom as I passed over, then making a cast right back into those areas.” For more information on Lowrance and its tournament-winning fishfinding technology or to locate an authorized dealer, please visit www.lowrance.com.
Casey Ashley said he's become considerably more tech-savvy since winning the Bassmaster Classic 8 days ago.
"I've learned how to text and answer emails at the same time I'm talking on my phone," he said with a chuckle. "That part's been good."
A lot of other stuff that's happened since has been good, too. He said that all the attention he's received hasn't even begun to wear on him.
"It's actually a great feeling to tell the story over and over," he said. "Sometimes when I'm telling it, I'll remember stuff that I didn't remember the first couple times I told it.
"I've been there at the Champion's Toast when other people have won the Classic and I've thought about winning that trophy one day and experiencing that feeling. Then everybody leaves, and that's it. People have no idea what actually goes along with it until they do it. I've had some good friends who've been in these shoes and they told me to call them if I needed any help with any of it, and I've done that. I knew what was coming and I've prepared myself for it." Read More
PITTSGROVE, N.J. — Join newly crowned Bassmaster Classic champion Casey Ashley and runner-up Bobby Lane on Mike Iaconelli’s interactive web show, Ike Live!, Monday, March 2, at 8 p.m. ET at MikeIaconelli.com.
Ashley won the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell on Feb. 22. His Day 3 bag of 20 pounds, 3 ounces pushed his three-day total to 50 pounds, 1 ounce. He is only the third angler to win the Classic in his home state and the first ever to win on his home lake.
Lane placed second with an impressive 46-15 total, and Iaconelli pulled in a total of 42-6 on his new Abu Garcia line of rods. The three anglers will talk about the many challenges of this year’s Classic, not the least of which were frigid temperatures and freezing rain.
Fans can receive an email reminder for the show by joining Ike’s Fish Heads Nation and can opt-in to the monthly newsletter for links to videos and periodic discount offers. Fans can watch videos of previous shows at MikeIaconelli.com/IkeLive and watch or subscribe to clips on YouTube at Going Ike.
Audio versions of previous shows are now available on iTunes. To subscribe to the show, click here and click “View in iTunes.” Choose iTunes as your application. Click “Subscribe” and new shows appear in your iTunes library automatically as they become available.
When Casey Ashley, a 31-year-old angler from Donalds, hoisted the Bassmaster Classic trophy over his head in front of a packed house at Bon Secours Wellness Arena this past Sunday evening, it was the culmination of a lifelong dream.
The dream was reaching the highest point in professional bass fishing.
All human interest facets aside, and there were plenty — winning in front of a hometown crowd, using a fishing lure that was hand-made by his father and enduring single-digit temperatures — Ashley is likely to go down in history as one of the last "old-school" bass anglers to win the Classic. Full Story
Record-breaking cold. Plummeting water temperatures. A massive lake smack full of bass in a state of flux as a result of the arctic blast.
Everything about this year’s Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell seemed to line up against the anglers to make it one of the most grueling Classics in the 45-year history of the tournament. The pressure and intensity of the event is one thing when conditions are prime and the fish are chewing, but it may be a while before this particular Classic is surpassed in terms of the unique variables the competitors had to deal with on the water.
Ice on rod guides, ice on reels, frozen livewells, boats frozen to trailers – things bass anglers typically don’t have to deal with on a regular basis – were just some of the headache-inducers the Classic qualifiers encountered during the event. For Casey Ashley, a three-time Elite Series winner who also won an FLW Tour event at Hartwell early last March, he had to deal with all of that plus the burden and expectations that come with being the hometown favorite.
Ashley displayed an unflappable confidence all through the event and, in fact, believes the ever-changing weather conditions – temperatures ranged from a low of 10 on Friday to a high of 55 on Sunday – worked in his favor. When the stakes were at their peak on Sunday, Ashley had made-to-order conditions for his under-spin pattern in the form of clouds and off-and-on rain. The low-light conditions were prime for him to target fish hanging on a creek channel edge near Party Island.
“I knew the first day I had an area with a good many fish in it and they were the right size,” he said. “Did I think I could win out of that? No, but I knew I could go in there and get a solid limit to start with and then I’d have a chance to go run my deal with a jig fishing docks the rest of the day. After two days, that checked up very short so (Sunday) with it being so overcast and raining, that is the day you want to pick to throw that (under-spin). The weather played into my hands big time.” Read More