Christie on St. Clair. Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.
Christie posted this photo stating he was proud to be joining Team AFTCO for 2018 in the Elites. Jason Christie
Second, he’s a proven winner.
All of those victories listed above show that he can close the door, whether he’s in the lead, or far back, as he was at Bull Shoals in 2013.
The biggest question is how he will channel his emotions to get back into contention. Unlike Ike or Aaron or Skeet, who wear their emotions on their sleeves nearly all of the time, Christie is guarded, composed and non- demonstrative.
When a shoreline spectator mentioned to him on the last day of the 2016 Classic that Evers had a 25-pound bag, he looked shocked for a second, flinched, and went back to business.
When he lost a jig fish on Day Three in 2018 that he’s sure was big – and even if it wasn’t, even a plain keeper would’ve put him over the top – he let out one groan, acted mad, then went back to the game face.
Maybe he was burning up or crying inside; but if so, he didn’t let on. He might’ve been born with that affect, or he might’ve developed it over years of playing basketball; but he typically remains more or less stone-faced.
The anglers who are great competitors – everyone from Ike to KVD – learn what emotional state enables them to compete best.
Think of Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, who willed himself to win by reminding himself of all sorts of real and perceived slights he’d suffered over the years. That worked for him. It might not work for Christie.
THE DEAD WEIGHT’S GONE
The biggest problem he has is not a lack of fishing skill (if you’ve seen him skip a vibrating jig, you’ve been amazed), an inability to close or a will to win. It’s simply the level of competition out there today. Christie will continue to qualify for championships; but so will Jordan Lee and Brandon Palaniuk and Jesse Wiggins – and of course KVD and Skeet and Aaron and Ike.
There was a time when the Elite Series had some dead weight at the bottom. There was a time when not every Classic competitor had a legitimate shot to win. Those days are over, and Christie has learned that the hard way, but he’ll certainly be back, ready to teach those others a lesson or two. •