Casey Ashley used some fatherly advice to win the Bassmaster Classic on Sunday.
Before the tournament on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, Ashley’s dad handed him a bag of homemade lures and said, “This is what you’re going to use to win the Classic.”
In recounting the moment in a news conference after his championship in the three-day tournament, Ashley said, “I just laughed and told him, ‘No, I’m not.’”
Turns out, dad was right. Ashley used the homemade bait called a Blade Runner — a bait featuring a swivel, a pony head and a blade, fished with a popular manufactured plastic Zoom Super Fluke Jr. — to catch five bass weighing 20 pounds, 3 ounces Sunday, lifting his winning total to 50 pounds, 1 ounce.
“It’s a simple, silly-looking bait, but it catches fish,” said Ashley, who went home with $300,000 after taking bass fishing’s crown jewel.
Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., was second with 46 pounds, 15 ounces, and Takahiro Omori of Emory, Texas, was third with 44 pounds, 3 ounces.
For Ashley, it was a dream week. He entered the tournament as the favorite, mainly because he lives close to Lake Hartwell and considers it his home lake. He entered the final day in fifth place, but he made a big jump when he caught a huge limit of bass Sunday.
“To win the Bassmaster Classic in my home state, in my home town and on my home lake, that’s just a dream come true,” Ashley said.
He caught his fish in 40 feet of water, making long casts and just crawling the lure along the bottom. “I was fishing painstakingly slow, but it paid off,” he said.
To reach outdoors editor Brent Frazee, call 816-234-4319 or send email to email@example.com.