The water where Ashley is fishing is flat calm with bright sunshine beating down. He needs a kicker fish to keep pace with the leaders. There's still time but the bass aren't helping.
Ashley's bites are coming so slowly that only two fans have hung around to watch him. Ashley looks calm and collected but he has to be feeling the pressure. He stops to rig up a bait that he hasn't shown to the bass yet during this Classic. He gives it two casts and goes back to what he had been doing.
My boat driver, Phil Williams, and I just checked out two other creeks looking for other pros to photograph. We didn't find any. Other than Cliff Prince, I don't believe there's another pro fishing within 5 miles of Ashley. If his bass cooperate, he's going to have them to himself.
Casey Ashley is working hard for every bite. His persistence just paid off with another solid bass that allowed him to cull. He still needs a few more quality bass to get over the 20-pound threshold.
Casey Ashley's move to expand his territory pays off. He hooks a good bass that reluctantly comes to the boat where Ashley lip-lands it. The 4-pound bass lets him cull. I was wrong on my last blog when I said he had only four. He must have snuck one in on me when I was shooting Cliff Pirch.
It sounds like many of the leaders are making long runs, but Casey Ashley is staying fairly close. He only had one other contestant in his area yesterday, and that angler did poorly, so Ashley hopes he'll cede it to him. Along with focusing on the same location, he'll rely on the same presentation. "I'm fishing so shallow there aren't many baits you can throw," he explained.
> Day 1: 5, 23-02 Ashley came into today with a good bit of confidence. He found reason to feel otherwise after his production on day 1.
"I expected to catch them better than I did," he said. "When I got there this morning, I was a little scared. I don't know if the storm last night had them all messed up or something, but the cooler weather had them biting short and slapping at the bait. They just weren't eating it good."
His first limit weighed about 12 pounds, but around noon he had a flurry that saw him cull everything he had in the next 30 minutes. He's mainly targeting isolated grass and humps and catching fish out of water as shallow as 2 feet.
"The area I'm fishing has a lot of fish in it," he said. "Fishing pressure is going to hurt it, I'm afraid. There are only two of our guys in there, but the locals really love to come in there and fish. I watched a lot of them come in and work on the outskirts and then come in. Who knows, but they're just there. They're coming and it's where they want to be. There will be a lot more fish coming in there so I'm excited." Read More
Exposed anglers, including Hank Cherry, Casey Ashley, Brandon Palaniuk, GMAN Gerald Swindle, Aaron Martens, Jason Christie, Shaw Grigsby, Mike McClelland, and 48 others face off at the Classic, which takes place in Alabama on Lake Guntersville on Feb. 21-23.
Classic entrants Hank Cherry and Casey Ashley also appear this week for the first time on Exposed, along with Elite anger J. Todd Tucker. The three reveal strategies and tips for working through the difficult practice days that led up to the Elite Series West Point Lake Battle in May of 2013. In addition to storms and hail having just passed through the area, the fish were post-spawn. During this time in the spawn cycle, bass become notoriously reluctant to take the bait. Read More
For Elite Series anglers, which represent the upper-most crust of the world’s pro bass fishermen, tournament seasons always are stressful.
But the stress level got ratcheted up a few more notches for Lyman’s Marty Robinson and Casey Ashley of Donalds with last week’s announcement that the 2015 Bassmaster Classic will return to the Upstate.
It will be the second stop at Lake Hartwell for the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing,” which first came to the Upstate in 2008. Read More