The Christie Plan: Ending unemployment, one cameraman at a time

About the author

Pete Robbins

Pete Robbins

Veteran outdoor writer Pete Robbins provides a fan's perspective of B.A.S.S. complemented by an insider's knowledge of the sport. Follow him on Twitter @fishywriting

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

If an angler wins an Elite Series tournament and the winning catch is not caught on film, did he really win?

I just finished watching the television program of the Elite Series Ramada Quest from Bull Shoals. If I’d watched only the first 50 minutes or so, with the mute button depressed, I might not be sure who had won. Based on meaningful minutes of fishing footage (a new metric, “MMFF”), the winner might appear to be Casey Scanlon (finished 3rd), Terry Scroggins (6th), or even Brandon Palaniuk (81st).

You could make a wild-ass guess and say that Jason Christie won, but despite receiving a fair amount of TV time, there was little or no footage of the Pride of Park Hill boat-flipping big bass. We saw some grainy America’s Most Wanted variety recreations of schooling fish, but little evidence that Christie had caught them. In fact, by the time we get any on the water footage of him fishing, he’s in shorts. The early morning video of other anglers shows them bundled up in hooded sweatshirts and heavy rainsuits, so we have to deduce certain clues from his wardrobe. Either (1) the B.A.S.S. camera crew didn’t catch up with him until late in the day; or (2) Christie, as his on-the-water record would suggest, is an angling superman, impervious to the threat of either huge weight deficits or the woes of shrinkage.

The bottom line: He was so far out of the lead heading into Championship Monday that any reasonable guess said that he wasn’t going to win. In Elite Series history, no one had ever come back from 11th place entering the final day to claim a victory. No one had done it from 10th, either … or 9th, 8th or 7th, for that matter. The largest gap anyone had traversed came when our Man in Pink, Kevin Short, rose from 6th to first at a 2009 tournament on the Mississippi River.

So the odds seemed to indicate that Christie wasn’t going to leapfrog the rest of them. In fact, Bassmaster’s Ken Duke has developed his own metric, “Ken’s Comeback Formula,” that proposed to address this precise situation:

Take the tournament big bass from that venue for that time of year and subtract it from the leader’s total. Every angler within that range has a chance – though perhaps a small chance – to win. Every angler further back than that needs an absolute miracle.

Christie entered Day Four only 5-06 behind leader Casey Scanlon, exactly the same weight as Bradley Roy’s 5-06 big fish from Day One – not quite miracle territory, but teetering on the edge. Based on the number of spaces between 11th and 1st, though, B.A.S.S. did not put a cameraman in the boat with Christie to start the day. Remember, odds are based on probabilities, not certainties. If the weatherman tells you there’s only a 10% chance of rain, you might think that the 90% is overwhelming and therefore not pack your umbrella. If it rains, you may curse your luck, but you can’t say the man on TV was “wrong.”