The 2018 GEICO Basssmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods returns to Casey Ashley’s home waters of Lake Hartwell this week where he won the 2015 Classic, and the easy-going country boy with a thousand dollar smile was kind enough to invite us into his home for a brief conversation just days before bass fishing’s biggest event.
Q: How are you doing this week before the Classic, as compared to where your head and heart were a few days before the 2015 Classic?
Casey: Well, I’d like to tell you I’m more relaxed, but that really isn’t the case, because all the variables I didn’t want to happen like rising water, a lot of warm weather last month and warmer water temperatures, have all happened, so the fish are kind of in an in-between state, and it’s gonna be a grind.
Q: Speaking of that 2015 Classic, it’s well-known that your dad, Danny made the winning lure. Your dad is also a really good angler. If we granted him a spot as a competitor in this year’s Classic, how do you think he’d perform against the best anglers in the world?
Casey: He probably wouldn’t do too good (grinning), because the fish are in an in-between state versus schooled-up and on specific spots he knows well. Last month’s warm weather pulled the fish up shallow, then it got cold again, but the bass never fully returned to deep water.
Q: Speaking of deeper water, in your best estimation what percentage of all the bass weighed-in this week will come from water deeper than 10-feet?
Casey: I’d guess about 65 percent will be caught from deeper than 10-feet of water.
Q: If you could sneak a peek into the rod lockers of all the 2018 Bassmaster Classic competitors, what four lures do you think you’d see the most?
Casey: Jerkbait, 1/2-ounce jig, Shaky Head and a Shad Rap.
Q: What might surprise fans most about this Classic?
Casey: Probably the amount of change and fluctuation they’re going to see in the names on the leaderboard, because being consistent in this tournament for three straight days is going to be super challenging.
Q: You’re a music man. You said that country music group, Alabama’s song “Why Lady Why” had a big influence on your 2015 Bassmaster Classic win. Are there any songs that are influencing you this week?
Casey: “No, not really. I’m a big fan of Chris Stapleton. His song “Broken Halos” is a great one. But I love listening to a lot of country music songs that never even made it on the radio.”