Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla. leads day two of the 2016 Bassmaster Classic with 37 pounds, 9 ounces. Even with an armada running up and down the lake behind him, Christie kept his cool on a slow day of fishing and posted another 16 pounds, 11 ounces to his total.
“It’s hard,” Christie said. “I’m just trying to focus on tomorrow. I had a really tough day again today. I didn’t catch two of my keepers until real late again. To be standing here and think I could go out tomorrow and just catch one of those magic Grand Lake bags just one day of the whole tournament and win the Classic feels pretty good.”
Christie has been bouncing around fishing a jig and a spinnerbait around various types of banks, docks, wood and more to catch his weight this week mostly in the mid-lake area.
The conditions improved from an angler comfort standpoint as the wind laid down and the temperatures rose. Anglers enjoyed warmer spring weather and the bass enjoyed warmer water temperatures, yet the fishing seemed to be a lot tougher for the anglers. There were a lot fewer fish caught today overall. And it left much of the field scratching their heads on how to overcome the “funk” that the bass seem to be in right now on Grand Lake.
Here is what some of the anglers had to say:
Todd Faircloth, 31-14
“It got tougher today. I stayed in one area for a good part of the day, and it didn’t really produce like it did yesterday. I had 5 keeper bites today and two of those came in the last 10 minutes. Tomorrow I’m just going to maybe fish a little more water and not just stay in one area for too long. It’s just really tough. Bait wise I won’t change much. But I will change up and fish more water tomorrow.”
Edwin Evers, 31-4
“It will take a miracle to catch Christie if he’s leading by 6 pounds. I just went and did something today that I thought I could get some bites and it worked out. I was just tired of not getting any bites yesterday. It’s not something I thought would normally win the Classic on Grand Lake, but then Grand Lake is not fishing normal right now.
Tomorrow I’ll probably change up again completely. I mean if the deficit is 4 or 5 pounds, it’s doable. But if it’s 8 or 9 pounds it’s going to be tough to overcome with the way Grand is fishing right now and the way Jason is fishing. I want to be in that Super 6 tomorrow for my friends and family that came out to support me.
The guys on the water following me have been awesome. Real respectful and keep their distance. The fans have been really great this week.
I’m just going to look at the weights tonight and make my decision about what I’m going to do then. I could go 180 degrees from what I’ve been doing again tomorrow.”
Bill Lowen, 30-8
“Man I lost a couple of good ones today. And I nearly didn’t weigh a limit. I knew the first one I lost was trouble when it came up and I could see one little treble of my crankbait in his lip. I was like oh, this is going to end badly. Then I had one eat a tube and I couldn’t even see the bait so I went to boat flip it and it came off in mid-air. I’ve flipped 1,000 fish like that in the boat and it just came off. I don’t know.
I hate losing them suckers. Especially in this tournament. I’m around them. I know where some big ones live, and I’ve got to go to those fish tomorrow. So we’ll see. I’m not out of it but I had some miscues today that hurt a little bit.”
Alton Jones, 29-9
“I’m fishing an area up river from take off. I’m fishing a pattern but in a small area with a Booyah 3/8 ounce Bank Roll Jig. I had 6 keeper bites today. I’d definitely like a mulligan on one of those missed fish. I only found one area where the quality of fish were biting that I thought I needed to win this event. I’m going to run up there tomorrow and stick it out for a few hours. I only weighed 4 fish today, and one of those was a little squeaker that I caught just before check-in on a shaky head worm. I caught a couple on a Yum Dinger on the first day. My best opportunities are on that jig on the one area I found. So I’ll do that and see what happens tomorrow.”
David Walker, 29-6
“Fishing actually was a lot tougher for me today. Yesterday the bites came a lot easier for me. Today they were a lot fewer and farther between. Today I got the idea to run down to the southern end of the lake. When I got here in practice it was a mudhole but the water was so darn cold. Then it started warming up and I was like this is going to get good. But then the water started clearing up. Now it’s too clear in my area. So I gained it in water temperature and lost it in water color. So I ran down because this is the Bassmaster Classic. I’ve hung my career on getting a check. It’s not in my DNA to not go for a check in every event. But in this one you can’t fall out of the money, so you got to try it. And it worked out for me.
I’m catching them on a jig, crankbait and spinnerbait. I’m impressed with how well others are catching them on a spinnerbait in that slick calm water. But they have the confidence to just keep doing it knowing you might only get 5 bites. I’m that same way with a jig.”
Randy Howell, 29-3
“I know everyone is saying it but it really is a grind. I only had 5 keeper bites today. I had some early on a spinnerbait and I wish I had gone down there earlier. I fished somewhere else for about 45 minutes before I went down there. So tomorrow I will go through the spinnerbait in low light conditions around that shallow wood and then I will come back up lake and throw the jerkbait more on the bluffs.
My biggest fish today was on the jerkbait down there in deep water. I’m throwing the new jerkbait from Livingston Lures and it sinks. I had this dock cable that I caught a 5-pounder on in the Classic in 2013. I pulled up there today and I twitched the bait and then just soaked and I’m letting sink for a long time. I go to twitch it once and it acts like it’s hung on that cable so I shake it off there and twitch it and it feels hung again. Then I feel it swim off and I’m like there she is. And it was my biggest fish — a 4 1/2 pounder.
So I feel like they are around where I’m fishing they are just moving and you have to get it in front of them when they happen to swim by.”
James Watson, 28-1
“Fish [a few inches] deep, be a winner with a spinner and don’t think, just crank. I had nine bites today. I missed a couple, caught four shorts and lost a good keeper. I’m catching about what I was catching in practice. So it’s going exactly like I though it was going to go and I have no reason to think it’s going to go any different tomorrow. I’m catching most of my fish on a crankbait and a few on a chatterbait.
I’m catching them the way I’m catching them up shallow because I’m the only one stupid enough to keep doing it even when I don’t get a bit for two hours. I lost my first keeper right off the bat. I had just thought to myself right before that, change the hooks dummy. So I power poled down, put on new stuff. Got up and made 3 casts and caught a good keeper. I was like oh these boys are in trouble now. That’s right I went like 2 hours without a bite.
This is a shallower lake than what I fish at home. So these bass have to swim 100 yards in 3 feet of water to get to me and there are just one and two bass up in a lot of these areas. That’s why you aren’t seeing the weights this week.”
Brandon Palaniuk, 24-14
He caught the exact same weight again on day two and still only managed 4 keepers. Palaniuk caught all his fish on day one on a spinnerbait. On day two, he had two on a spinnerbait, one on a jig and one on a crankbait. He has settled down to one area of the lake. He caught two early in a spot and thought he had something figured out. He ran that pattern for several hours without a bite and returned to the area to catch another one. Then finished up with a 4 1/2-pounder late in the day. He’s staying consistent by just fishing whatever looks good.
Dean Rojas, 24-5
“Fishing is getting better. I had 6 bites yesterday. I had 6 bites today. I lost two keepers right off the bat and weighed 3 today, so I’m around them. I’m throwing a crankbait. I’m dialed into one area. Rotating around in the area. I’m getting the bites and around good fish but for whatever reason I’m just not landing all the bites. I had one hit my crankbait so hard that it knocked the bait around and it hung itself on the line. I had one take off with the crankbait and then pull off after about a 10 foot run. I feel like the fish are coming to me. So I just have to put those bites in the boat. Even if those fish are just two pounders that I lost, I weigh 16 pounds. So I feel like I was around a good bag today.
I’m going to go to the same 2-3 mile area and bounce around and just dial it in a little more tomorrow.”
Greg Vinson, 23-13
“Man it was weird out there today. I’m one of the only ones fishing on the lower end of the lake. It’s warming up so slow down there and it’s the muddiest water on the lake. There was some wind down there today and it gets the current moving in those creeks and you think it’s about to happen, but after a couple hours it just doesn’t happen, you start wondering should I move should I stay and grind my area out. It’s tough.
But this is the Classic. You can’t not try and go for it. So if I don’t make the cut, I will hold my head up knowing I did what I thought I needed to do to win and not what I needed to do to be safe. I mean yesterday seeing what Christie did, I knew I had to go to where I knew the big ones live from practice. I’m doing something real specific in a small area with a crankbait and making a certain 20-degree angle cast to be efficient.”
Skeet Reese, 23-5
“If I had a clue what was going on out there I’d be doing well. It’s warming up and the fish should be biting but they just aren’t. I feel like part of it is because I’m not efficient running in these pockets to fish. You can’t just blow back to the back of a creek. You have to idle in and out for 20 minutes just for a few minutes of fishing. That’s not an efficient way to catch them. I’m catching them all on a jig and a spinnerbait. I’ll run some new water tomorrow. I ran all new water today. I caught a lot more fish but just couldn’t get enough quality and enough keeper bites.”
Ott Defoe, 19-8
Yesterday he caught one a spinnerbait, one on a jig, two on two different crankbaits and one tight lining. Today he caught em all cranking.
WEIGH-IN PHOTO GALLERY (Photos by Ryan DeChaine)