B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Jason Christie Conquers Chickamauga, Secures 5th Elite Series Win

The reigning Bassmaster Classic champion clawed his way back from third place to win on the TVA powerhouse.

The past five weeks have defined "roller coaster" for Jason Christie, but the decorated pro from Park Hill, Oklahoma, surged back into the upward swing by amassing a four-day total of 73 pounds, 7 ounces, and notching a dominant win at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake.

Starting the final round in third place, Christie trailed Day 3 leader Brock Mosley by 6 ounces. At the final tally, Christie edged Mosley by 3 1/2 pounds.

Christie's fifth Elite title—his eighth win in Bassmaster competition—comes a little over a month after winning the Bassmaster Classic on Lake Hartwell. Two weeks following that career-defining moment, Christie recorded his worst Elite finish, 93rd at the Bassmaster Elite on Santee-Cooper Lakes.

For Christie, who won last year's Elite on the Sabine River, rebounding with a big win on this Tennessee River impoundment was uniquely rewarding.

"Every one of (my Elite wins) was so special and I've never won an event in Tennessee, so this means a lot to win on a lake like Chickamauga," he said. "Ninety percent of fishing is (mental) and when you get right in the head and you don't worry about anything else, good things can happen."

Where He Fished

Jason Christie

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Christie committed to the Hiawassee River, the lake's major tributary, and targeted a mix of shallow wood, docks, and rocks. He fished about seven main areas and thoroughly prospected each.

"The first day it was docks, the second day it was a mix, day three it was rock and today it was rock," he said. "It was just locking down in an area and fishing through it."

With a cold front bringing windy weather that saw occasional rain and sleet, Day 4 presented calm, bright conditions. Despite this less-than-ideal scenario, Christie started the final round with a 4-pounder around 7:30 a.m. and had a limit of about 12 1/2 pounds within the first couple of hours.

Stocked with Florida-straight largemouth bass, Chickamauga holds giants. While the event offered a few highlight reel moments, the week's weather mostly hid the lake's potential.

"I culled by ounces throughout the day," Christie said. "I culled up maybe a pound throughout the day. I caught 12-15 keepers, but they were (mostly) all the same size."

Christie sealed the deal shortly before 2 p.m. with a 2 1/2-pounder, which gave him a final limit of 15-12—the day's largest catch.

Placing 26th on Day 1 with 16-0, Christie added 20-15 and improved to seventh. The only top-10 finisher to break 20 pounds twice, Christie caught 20-12 on Day 3. For his efforts, he won $100,000.

How He Caught 'Em

Jason Christie

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Christie caught his fish on a mix of reaction baits and targeted presentations. His rotation included a 1/2-ounce chartreuse/white/blue Booyah Covert spinnerbait with a white YUM Swimming Dinger trailer, a 1/2-ounce bladed jig with a Swimming Dinger and a 5/8-ounce War Eagle Jiu-Jigsu skipping jig with a 2.75-inch YUM Craw Chunk.

"The jig accounted for three or four of my fish this week, but it was all just follow up," Christis said. "They'd swipe at my bait and miss it and I'd follow up with a jig."

A shallow water specialist, Christie said he was fishing the way he likes to fish. Ignoring other options, persistence was his ally.

"I have a good situation now, being in the 2023 Classic (winner gets automatic berth in the following year's Classic)," Christie said. "I don't have lay a bait down and say 'I have to go catch some fish for points.'

"I can just be stubborn. Sometimes, stubborn pays off."

Rest of the Best

Brock Mosley

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Hailing from Collinsville, Mississippi, Mosley took second with 69-15. Placing eighth on Day 1 with a limit of 19-6, Mosley added 18-11 and rose to third. A 20-pound Day 3 limit pushed him into the lead, but a stingier final round yielded only 11-14.

Targeting shallow wood and channel swings, Mosley caught his fish on a 1/2-ounce Z-Man Chatterbait with a Yamamoto Zako Trailer, a 1/2-ounce Rat-L-Trap, a 1/2-ounce Angler Assets spinnerbait with tandem Colorado blades, and a 1/2-ounce flipping jig with a Yamamoto Flappin' Hog.

Jacob Foutz of Charleston, Tennessee, finished third with 67-06. Turning in daily limits of 15-4, 17-1, 23-8, and 11-9, the Elite rookie caught his fish on a 1/2-ounce chartreuse/white Accent Fishing River Special spinnerbait and a 1/2-ounce Z-Man Jackhammer Chatterbait.

Matt Robertson of Kuttawa, Kentucky, finished fourth with 66-01. Caleb Kuphall of Mukwonago, Wisconsin, was fifth with 64-13.

Pat Schlapper of Eleva, Wisconsin, won the $1,000 Phoenix Boats Big Bass award for his 10-5.