Casey Ashley Wins 2015 Bassmaster Classic With Dad’s Help
Ashley caught all of his 20-pound-plus winning stringer on a homemade blade runner jig head (similar in concept to the Buckeye Lures Suspin Blade or a horsey head) paired with a Zoom Super Fluke Junior.
“There may be a signature series coming, but my dad won’t be making them. He doesn’t have time or the interest to do that,” laughed the newly crowned Classic champ.
Ashley’s dad molds the simple lures for himself and his son. The key to the lure’s productivity, says Ashley, is the Sampo swivel that spins the small willow leaf blade no matter how slowly the lure is retrieved. And Ashley fishes it slower than most folks would ever imagine. “On the first day I was having to dip my rod twice on each cast to get the ice off my reel. That’s how slow I was fishing.”
He said he wishes he had scrapped the jig plan sooner. “I almost lost the tournament trying to make that work.”
Coming into the event he was certain it would be won under docks up shallow. There was a shallow bite, during the first hour of each day when bass gorged on blueback herring in small main lake pockets that drained from the bank.
But Ashley’s dock jigging pattern didn’t play well for him. It worked for Bobby Lane who made a hard charge at the Classic title today, finishing runner-up with 46 pounds, 15 ounces to Ashley’s 50-01.
Lane caught a 6 pound, 6 ounce bass from 2 feet of water beneath a dock. “I almost didn’t (fish) it because it was so shallow.” Lane said when he reeled a second fish in, about 20 bass over 3 pounds apiece followed it to his boat and then disappeared. They all came from beneath the very shallow dock.
After the morning blitz most successful anglers went to the 30-to-32 foot depth zone where Lake Hartwell’s flooded forests become a flooded desert the rest of the way in to shore. Jacob Powroznik (5th with a total weight of 43-01) and Mike Iaconelli (6th with 42-06) said their fish in this key zone were bellied tight to the bottom. “The fish I was catching had red bellies from rubbing that clay bottom,” said Powroznik.
The position of the fish along the bottom, as opposed to being suspended, is the reason Ashley wound his lure in so slowly.
Look for videos – wherein Ashley and his fellow competitors give more details – on AnglersChannel.com.