By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
With a long-sought Bassmaster Classic title on his career ledger, Jason Christie says he'll enter the 2023 season with a little less anxiety than in previous years.
"I think I'm a little more laid back since the Classic win," said Christie, who turned 49 in the off-season. "Last year and the previous years, that was about all I was thinking about. Now it's a little bit of a different thought process.
"Sponsor-wise, friend-wise and family-wise, it was good to reward all the people who've taken care of me and supported me over the years. I'd been so close so many times and never won, and now that I have won, I know I can do it. I just want to be in position this year, within 3 or 4 pounds on the last day, and go out and try to make some magic happen."
Just a month after his Classic victory at Lake Hartwell, he won the Bassmaster Elite Series regular-season event at Lake Chickamauga. He now has nine tour-level wins since the start of the 2011 season.
"I still want to try to do as good as I can this year and make the Classic for next year, but really the deal is whatever happens happens," he said. "I don't put any pressure on myself to win. I want to win, but it doesn't just kill me if I don't."
Always One Stinker
Last year was a bit of an up-and-down campaign for Christie, who ended up 27th in the final Angler of the Year (AOY) points standings. A bad finish or two each year has been the norm across his career as he's always been willing to take risks in pursuit of victories. A prime example occurred last year, when he ended up 93rd at the Santee Cooper Lakes in the event that took place between his two wins.
He'd love to make a run at the AOY title, but admits that the way he's gone about things to this point hasn't been conducive to it.
"It's something I've always pursued over the years, but it just doesn't fit my style," he said. "I've honestly thought about it quite a bit this year. I'm going to fish the way I always have – take some risks and try to win some blue trophies – but I still think if the year goes good, I could win (the points title).
"You look at (Brandon) Palaniuk, he's a guy who takes risks and he's won two (AOYs). My problem is I have a bad habit of having a bomb every year – like one in the 90s. You can have one in the 60s or 50s, but those 90s will kill you."
Not Much Time in the Woods
Christie is an avid deer hunter, but he said that pursuit was cut to a bare minimum this past off-season. He spent much of that time constructing a boat house on his property that he's currently living in. He hopes that the main house, which is being built by a friend, will be completed by this summer.
"With the boat shed, I played the part of construction worker," he said. "I was the guy pounding the nails. I'm still involved with building (the primary residence), but I'm not the one swinging the hammer. I won't have time for that during the season."
He did a lot of fishing around his home in Oklahoma during January and is eager to get the new season under way. The campaign kicks off Feb. 16-19 at Florida's Lake Okeechobee.
"I love the schedule," he said. "We're going to a couple of new places and some places at different times of the year. We're going to St. Clair, where I've won twice, and we're going back to the Sabine, and I've won there.
"I've got a lot of confidence in the schedule. Right now, I think they're all going to be good tournaments."
> Christie will attempt to join the short list of back-to-back Classic winners next month on the Tennessee River out of Knoxville, Tenn. He finished 40th the previous time the event was held at that venue in 2019.