Casey Ashley’s tremendous success at GEICIO Bassmaster BASSfest along the flooded June shorelines of Lake Texoma is partially attributable to his decision to trade the braided line he practiced with for fluorocarbon during the tournament.
The 2015 Bassmaster Classic Champion’s line change was a very well thought-out move that’s kept him atop the leaderboard. And he graciously shared the details of why he traded line types before his first cast on Day 3 in a manner that can benefit any angler ever facing flooded trees and bushes.
When Ashley and the other Elite Series pros started practice the lake was at least 8-feet above normal, and that not only flooded picnic tables and front yards, but literally every shoreline tree and bush you could see.
Trying to dissect hundreds of acres of thick and flooded habitat in three days of practice is a needle in the haystack situation. “I knew if I was gonna find the fish in that mess, I had to work fast and be pretty aggressive, and you can do that a whole lot faster with a heavy worm weight on braided line than you can fluorocarbon or monofilament,” explains the gifted vocalist and Classic Champ.
“I used 50-pound Hi-Seas braid tied a big ‘ol 3/4 ounce worm weight or jig in practice, and I could just punch through all those super thick flooded branches real quick to see if I could get a bite, and figure out which shorelines were holding fish,” says Ashley. “That’s all I was trying to do in practice – just figure out what shorelines were holding fish.”
“But I knew in the tournament I’d use fluorocarbon because I truly believe big fish won’t bite braid as well as fluorocarbon in wood because braid makes too much noise rubbing across the branches,” says Ashley.
“I love braid for topwaters, and when I’m fishing around thick vegetation, but in flooded wood – at least on tournament day – I’m gonna fish fluorocarbon,” he adds.
“I spooled-up my Quantums with 20-pound Hi Seas fluorocarbon and a lighter 1/2 ounce weight for the derby. And sure enough, the first bite I got on Day 1 weighed 6 pounds 15 ounces,” he grinned. “So I knew pretty quick that I had made the right decision about what line to use,” says the highly likeable South Carolina pro who sat in first place after Day 1 and in second place to begin Day 3.