Casey is on the road when I call him. Is there truth in the rumor he has a golden horseshoe in his pocket right now? Maybe. But it certainly wasn’t given to him. And while he’s so nice he might very well give you the shirt off his back, don’t expect him to give you that horseshoe…
What’s it like, being so hot that it’s rarer that you don’t place in a tournament? You’re hotter than a two dollar pistol right now!
HAHA well I put a lot of hard work in. I’ve spent the past two years fishing as a co-angler and trying to learn from the best of the best in the sport. I’ve been fortunate to have fished with some really amazing anglers like Gary Yamamoto and Jason Christie and that can really cut down your learning curve. I’ve learned so much in the past two years and it probably would’ve taken me over a decade to learn all that on my own. I was never a great flipper and I got paired up with Jason and he was flippin the day I was with him and I just watched him, watched what he was doin, and he told me a little bit about what he was lookin for during practice and stuff like that. You can go from not really having a clue to bein’ way ahead of the game on a certain technique. When I was on Lanier I was with Brent Ehrler, and I set my rod down and he let me come to the front of the boat and he showed me on his graph: this is brush, this is fish inside the brush, things like that, and you would never know that unless somebody pointed it out to ya.
It certainly helps to have people who are willing to teach you what they know, that’s for sure.
Yeah it’s really just been an amazing couple of years, I’m still kind of in awe of it really.
So what are you planning to fish in 2013?
I’m fishing the FLW Tour, The Southeast Everstarts, and possibly The Northern Opens.
You’re from Canada, so you grew up fishing cold water like I did, and when I say cold water I mean lakes that either freeze over, or that just don’t provide year round bass fishing the way that Guntersville or Armistad or Okeechobee do. What do you find to be the biggest difference?
Well to me the biggest difference is pressure. In the south you can find fish on a ledge or a rock pile and you might pull up and fish it for an hour and not get bit but those fish are there and someone else pulls in after you leave and they catch 30 pounds. Whereas up north on St. Claire or Erie I mean it just seems like when you pull into a spot like that if those fish are there they’re gonna eat, the fishing up there is just so good but there’s not the same kind of year round pressure up there that you have in the south. Okeechobee, where I just got done, you better have them dialed in: what kind of bait, what time of day they eat, where and when they set up; cuz if you miss it then you can go from having 30 pounds to not getting a bite.
While we’re talking about north and south, I have always insisted that the smallmouth bass up north are different than they are down south, that they just seem to have an attitude up here and are generally a lot meaner and when I tell people that who haven’t fished up here they look at me like I have three heads.
Would you agree?
Oh yeah absolutely I don’t know why they’re like that but smallmouth up there seem to be 10 times stronger than the southern smallmouth even though smallmouth like at Pickwick and Wilson Damn down here in Alabama–they’re strong, but they are nowhere near as strong. Those smallmouth up north just never quit. You can get them to the boat and they’ll just start runnin’ again. I don’t know why they’re so mean maybe it’s from living under the ice. I had one on Erie that went from being down 25 feet to the top of the surface in like 2 seconds, jumped like 6 feet in the air, spit my lure, and was gone just like that and there was nothing I could’ve done! It’s almost like Tarpon fishing!
Was fishing something you did with your dad or siblings or did you just kinda find it on your own?
I grew up fishing with my Dad and my Grandfather. I fished with my mom a little bit too but mostly it was my Dad and Grandfather. Most of the time when we went out we went walleye fishing. I mean the Detroit river system is great for walleye, it’s great for bass too don’t get me wrong, but it’s a great walleye fishery and that’s really what we fished for. That or perch. I didn’t really start fishing for bass until I got into high school. I’d fish with a couple of buddies and we’d go look for bass after the walleye shut down just for fun, not like any kind of tournament.
Is there anyone now that you look at and try to learn from or call for advice since you’ve been fishing competitively?
Oh definitely the way I kinda came up through the ranks, fishing the BFLs, having to make it on my own so guys like Jason Christie or Bryan Thrift, I look more towards guys like that.
What’s your favorite technique?
I’d have to say whatever the fish are biting! Honestly that’s the truth. I think the co-angler deal kinda helped me become versatile. The problem is I’m not an expert at anything. Let’s say I go out and I catch ’em all on a 5XD, I’m in LOVE with the 5XD after that! And then I’ll buy every one I can get my hands on. I think I have a short-term memory, so whatever’s working at that point, that’s kinda what I’m focused on. If they stop eating whatever I’m throwing I’ll lose confidence in it fast, but I gain confidence in something else fast too so I think that helps me.
What’s your favorite lake?
I’d have to say my favorite lake to fish is St. Claire in Michigan. I’ve had horrible, well, not horrible, I’ve had really not great tournaments up there, so I kinda have a passion for revenge. But it’s also a great place to just fun fish.
What’s your least favorite?
I’d have to say any shallow/stumpy place, like the Washita River.
Like Santee Cooper?
Exactly, Santee Cooper is another one (laughing). I hate that place. Driving around there is hard enough. I was there last year and it was one of those deals where I either cashed the last check or just missed it but I was just happy to get out of there!
If you weren’t on the Tour, what would your dream job be?
You mean other than fishing? My dream growing up was to be a professional hockey player but that doesn’t turn out for too many, HAHA.
OK Casey, time for 5 in the box!
1. What’s it like on a Sunday morning when you’re not fishing, and it’s just you and your girlfriend?
Church, watch a movie, maybe go to dinner. I really like to cook, I think another profession I might’ve chosen would’ve been a chef. I spend a lot of time grilling out and just enjoy being in town.
2. Do you have any pretournament rituals or superstitions?
I don’t really have any that carry over, but if I catch ’em real good one day I’ll try to do the same thing the next day like get up at the same time, eat the same thing, not mess up the routine. I don’t have a lucky t-shirt or anything like that.
3. If you had to guess where your best finish would be in 2013 where would it be, and where do you see yourself struggling the most?
I’d have to say probably I’ll struggle the worst at Beaver Lake or Seminole. I’ve never been to Beaver Lake, but last year I bombed at Seminole. I found some fish but they weren’t there in the tournament. I’d have to say my best would be Chickamauga because it’s a Tennessee River lake.
Lake Champlain or someplace down in Mexico like Sugar Lake.
5. What’s one thing that nobody knows about you?
I dunno, I’m a pretty open book. I speak French, not many people know that.
Thanks, Casey. Good luck to you in 2013!