> Day 4: 5, 19-05 (20, 73-12) Entering the final day in 12th, Ashley knew he had nothing to lose, but he continued to hammer away at the same area that produced virtually all of his fish this week.
The seven-spot jump on the final day pushed him up to 20th in the AOY points and closer to a berth in next year's Classic at Lake Hartwell, his home lake and site of his FLW Tour victory earlier this year.
"Points mean everything now and I didn't think I could win," he said. "I did lose one today about 7 pounds that probably would've put him in second. Other than that, most everything I caught was on one little deal."
Casey Ashley is proving that he’s one of the Tour’s best spotted bass and clear-water anglers this season. He won the second event on Tour at Lake Hartwell last month with limits of spots, and today he brought in a strong 14-pound, 10-ounce limit at Beaver Lake.
“I came here and practiced for three days from daylight to dark,” said Ashley, who’s fishing in his first tournament on Beaver this week. “I wanted to see everything. I found one good area where I caught three good ones. It’s just hard to get good bites.”
His best success has come by covering water in the clearer parts of the lake and “fishing the wind.”
“The wind makes them bite here,” he said. “I caught more fish today in the wind than all three practice days combined. The clear water is more stable this time of year. But if it gets slick tomorrow, it’s going to get tough.”
Like Thrift, Ashley caught his three best fish with a shaky head – he actually has three shaky heads rigged and ready on his deck.
His plan for Friday is to start in the same places that produced today, but to have his boat gassed up and ready to roll to new areas the instant the conditions suggest that a change is necessary.
Photo by Garrick Dixon - It’s been a strong season for South Carolina pro Casey Ashley and his bid to qualify for both the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup and 2015 Bassmaster Classic, which will both be held in his home state. Ashley won stop No. 2 at Lake Hartwell, and this week in his first-ever tournament on Beaver Lake, Ashley finished fifth. His final-day limit weighed 16 pounds.
Ashley spent most of his week at the far upper end of Beaver Lake in the reservoir’s clearest water by fishing a Keitech 3.8 swimbait rigged on a 5/16-ounce jighead and a Zoom Trick Worm rigged on a shaky head.
“[Today] I went down to the clear water and threw a swimbait,” Ashley said. “I caught a 3-pound smallmouth but only caught a small limit. I had that by 12:30.
“Then I came back up the lake and started covering water,” he added. “I tied on that silly Wiggle Wart that everybody catches them on, and I tell you what, they love it. I caught a 5, a 3 and another about 2 1/2. I should have done that all day. Those fish in that clear water just wouldn’t bite.”
This week, Ashley targeted “flatter” banks with scattered rock that tapered out and ran into steep drop-offs. He caught his fish by holding the boat in 15 to 20 feet and bombing the swimbait toward the bank. A slow-rolled presentation near bottom but not on bottom was a spotted bass and smallmouth killer.
South Carolina pro Casey Ashley dominated the Walmart FLW Tour presented by Ranger Boats event at Lake Hartwell last week, winning in wire-to-wire fashion in front of a hometown crowd. Yet, he wasn’t the only pro to successfully navigate the up-and-down weather conditions of the event for a high finish.
Here’s a look at the entire roster of top-10 finishers from Hartwell and the lures they used to get to the final day. Read More
Brett Carlson - SENECA, S.C. – With the disappointment of the 2008 Bassmaster Classic still fresh in his mind, Casey Ashley crafted a meticulous revenge strategy for the next major tournament held on Lake Hartwell – one that was bulletproof and could withstand cold, wind, rain and fog. In doing so, he had to fish against his shallow-water strengths. Armed with some of the best deep brush piles on the lake, Ashley crushed the second Walmart FLW Tour event of the year from start to finish.
Just as Brent Ehrler dominated out deep in 2012, Ashley focused his time away from the bank – not wanting to compete for the same fish with the likes of Andy Morgan and Randall Tharp. But unlike Ehrler, Ashley fished small, isolated structure and not schools of bass. In many ways, the rollercoaster weather pattern played right into Ashley’s hand as there was no dominant location – the bass were largely in transition.
“I’ve also never fished a tournament on Hartwell with that many boats,” said the 30-year-old Ashley. “I’d look towards the bank and there were boats everywhere. You can do well that way, but I don’t think you can win that way. Those shallow fish just don’t replenish.” Read More
08.Mar.2014 by Brett Carlson -SENECA, S.C. – It seems nothing can stop Casey Ashley when it comes to catching bass on Lake Hartwell, his home pond – not cold, not wind, not rain and not even a three-hour fog delay. While most of the pros struggled just to put a limit in the boat Saturday, Ashley caught a 15-pound, 7-ounce stringer and built nearly a 10-pound lead.
Thanks to thick fog, day three didn’t technically begin until 10 a.m. By that time, Ashley decided to scrap his schooling spots because the sun was already too high. Instead, he immediately targeted his handful of productive brush piles, located in 35 to 40 feet that set up over ditches under boat docks. Needless to say, Ashley is probing precise pieces of structure. Read More
SENECA — Casey Ashley says the secret to bass fishing is “knowing where they live.”
Apparently Ashley has that part covered; now he just hopes they stay home and answer when he comes knocking the next two days.
Ashley, a 30-year-old pro from Donalds, continued his mastery of Lake Hartwell’s bass Friday and enters the weekend halfway to a $100,000 payday, courtesy of the Wal-mart FLW Tour.
After taking the lead with five bass weighing 21 pounds, 7 ounces Thursday, Ashley followed up with another limit Friday that tipped the scales at 15 pounds, 13 ounces, giving him a 37-4 total and a 2-pound, 12-ounce lead. Read More
by Brett Carlson SENECA, S.C. – It was inconceivable to think the conditions could get any worse at the Walmart FLW Tour event, but that’s exactly what happened on day two at Lake Hartwell. In addition to the wind and cold, steady rain pounded the field and changed the water color in many of Hartwell’s popular creeks from stained to burnt orange.
The bite changed for pro leader Casey Ashley, but he was still able to build his lead to nearly 3 pounds. Instead of catching mainly largemouths, today Ashley weighed four sizeable spots and just one bucketmouth.
“Yesterday was really a freak thing,” said Ashley who lives in nearby Donalds, S.C. “I made every right move yesterday. It took me until 1 p.m. to get a limit today, but then I culled six or seven times. It’s slow fishing. I’m picking off one here, and one there. I was able to fish some new stuff today because the wind blew out of another direction and I was able to fish where I couldn’t get to yesterday.”
SENECA, S.C. – Casey Ashley may be fishing his first Walmart FLW Tour season, but he’s no stranger to big-time tournaments on Lake Hartwell. One in particular still sticks with him and not for good reason. Today, he put some big-time revenge on the Hartwell bass – catching a 21-pound, 7-ounce stringer on a day where less than half the field cracked double digits.
With temperatures in the mid-40s and a steady 20 mph northeast wind, the conditions made a tough bite even tougher. Right as the day-one weigh-in commenced, the rain started and isn’t supposed to let up until Friday afternoon. None of this affected Ashley, who fishes Hartwell often and knew the bite was screwy thanks to a cold and unpredictable spring. Read More