By Al McGuckin
The Basssmaster Classic returns to Casey Ashley’s home waters of Lake Hartwell this week where he won the 2015 Classic, and the easy-going country boy with a thousand dollar smile was kind enough to invite us into his home for a brief conversation just days before bass fishing’s biggest event.
Q: How are you doing this week before the Classic, as compared to where your head and heart were a few days before the 2015 Classic?
Casey: “Well, I’d like to tell you I’m more relaxed, but that really isn’t the case, because all the variables I didn’t want to happen like rising water, a lot of warm weather last month, and warmer water temperatures, have all happened, so the fish are kind of in an in-between state and it’s gonna be a grind.”
Traditions Media Report
Pretty compelling when someone wins a bigtime bass tourney with a super cool bait off the mainstream radar. But when five of the top ten anglers single out this same exceptional lure, including the top 3 finishers, it could be fairly classified as a big deal.
The plot thickens even more when none of the winning anglers are sponsored by the lure manufacturer in question. Call that a big statement.
Just such a scenario played out at the recent FLW Tour event at Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes, where all the top finishers seemed to be giving props the same lure, a Z-Man ChatterBait brand bladed jig. Eventual champion Chris Johnston edged his buddy and fellow Ontario resident Jeff Gustafson by a mere two pounds, using the same ½-ounce, white Z-Man / Evergreen ChatterBait JackHammer™ vibrating jig Gustafson gave him on the eve of the final day.
Minn Kota Report
When Kevin VanDam hits Alabama's Lake Martin in February for the kickoff of the 2018 Bassmaster Elite season, his bass boat will look a bit different than in previous years. This marks the first time that bass fishing's leading money winner will run a Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor, as well as Talon shallow-water anchors.
VanDam commented, "I appreciate all the incredible sponsors I've worked with throughout my career, and now I'm excited Minn Kota has asked me to join their team. The Minn Kota Ultrex and Talons are going to take my game to the next level. I've been benefitting from Humminbird technology for years. That, coupled with the Ultrex and Talons give me the ultimate in boat control and the flexibility to make adjustments from anywhere in the boat, thanks to the fact that they're designed and engineered to connect and work together."