Jason Christie Won’t Forget His Recent Elite Win

 

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Strict Fuel Management Key to Yamaha Pro’s Sabine River Success

 

Jason Christie has been a bass fisherman for more than 35 years, long enough that he can’t remember his first largemouth or even his first bass tournament, but chances are the Yamaha Pro won’t soon forget his Bassmaster® Elite victory on the Sabine River in Texas this past April.

Jason Christie Won’t Forget His Recent Elite Win Strict Fuel Management Key to Yamaha Pro’s Sabine River SuccessJason Christie has been a bass fisherman for more than 35 years,

During the four-day event, Christie ran approximately 70 miles each day to a tiny, remote creek where he could throw his spinnerbait or flip visible cover for four hours before beginning the long, tortuous run back to the weigh-in. There were no places to refuel along the way, so he was limited to 40 gallons of gasoline for the round-trip.

That was only one of several ongoing challenges he faced.

On the third day of competition, the river rose six feet and completely flooded the visible cover he’d been targeting. Christie had been leading the tournament since the second day, but just barely; entering the final day his lead had fallen to only 15 ounces.

“It turned into a pretty dramatic tournament, mainly because of variables I could not control, and I don’t like dramatics,” laughs the Oklahoma angler.  “In three previous Elite tournaments on the Sabine, I had never earned a check, and when I saw the high water that third day, I thought the river was going to beat me again.

Jason Christie Won’t Forget His Recent Elite Win Strict Fuel Management Key to Yamaha Pro’s Sabine River SuccessJason Christie has been a bass fisherman for more than 35 years,

“I had been getting 40 to 50 bites a day in
that little creek, but that day I only got seven bites.  Fortunately, I managed to catch five fish, and even though they totaled less than seven pounds, every ounce turned out to be critical that day.  The final day I caught just over eight pounds, and won the tournament by 22 ounces.”

Ounces of fuel was just as critical as ounces of bass for the Yamaha Pro.  Even though the creek he fished was only about 40 straight-line miles from the launching area, the river’s twists and turns nearly doubled that distance.  Christie, one of several Elite Pros fishing this season in an Xpress® X-21 aluminum boat with a Yamaha SHO® 250, estimated he had to navigate as many as 250 hard turns and bends on each run.

Jason Christie Won’t Forget His Recent Elite Win Strict Fuel Management Key to Yamaha Pro’s Sabine River SuccessJason Christie has been a bass fisherman for more than 35 years,

“To help conserve gasoline, I took out 150 pounds of extra tackle, including 14 of the 20 rods I normally have with me,” he explained.  “Yamaha technicians had also rigged a special NMEA® interface cable from my engine to my sonar screen so I had a digital display showing exactly how much fuel I was using.  On the second day after I returned to the weigh-in, I only had half a gallon of gas left in the tank.

“To conserve fuel, even more, I kept the engine under 4,000 rpm the entire trip, holding my speed between 35 and 40 mph, but once the river rose because of more water being released through the Toledo Bend dam, I was actually able to cut through all the corners a little straighter.  When I came in after the final day, I had about two gallons of gas remaining.”

The Sabine River victory marked Christie’s fourth Elite win, and he will remember it for still another reason.  It had been four years since his last Elite victory, a 2017 win with smallmouth on  Michigan’s Lake St. Clair.  He admits he was beginning to wonder if he would, or could, win again.

Jason Christie Won’t Forget His Recent Elite Win Strict Fuel Management Key to Yamaha Pro’s Sabine River SuccessJason Christie has been a bass fisherman for more than 35 years,

“I had been close several times since the St. Clair win,” the Yamaha Pro remembers, “so I think I was starting to get a little frustrated because by nature I’m so competitive.  Even though I know I can’t possibly win every tournament I fish in, it doesn’t stop me from wanting to win it.

“That’s how my father and my uncle taught me to fish.  I began tournament fishing with them in team events when I was very young.  I don’t remember my first tournament with them, but I do remember we only fished for the five largest bass we could catch, and that’s still how I fish today.” Y

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