GROVE — “Say things aren’t working out. You have a hundred places you know you can go. By the end of the day, you’ve spent most of the day driving place to place and not fishing,” he said.
Biffle and Evers have many Classics under their belts. For Evers, 2013 will be his 12th; for Biffle, his 18th. Both are looking for their first Classic win. Likewise for Christie, but with a twist: Grand Lake will be his Classic debut.
“It’s a lot of pressure. I expect myself to do well, not to mention the pressure from friends and all the local guys,” said Christie, who claimed his Classic berth by winning a 2012 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Opens Series event on the Detroit River. He then went on to win yet another Open in 2012 — near home on Fort Gibson Lake. At season’s end, he had enough Northern points for an Elite invitation, and he opted in.
His unfolding Elite career might be one reason Christie broke his rule about never pre-fishing. He spent considerable time on Grand Lake before the off-limits period began.
“I felt like, with the lake being so close, I needed to so I could give myself a better chance,” Christie said.
Evers also scouted Grand Lake. Like most scouts, he drove the boat and mapped and marked, then turned around and did it again. His electronics’ trip counter surpassed 2,200 miles. From that scouting time and from the two Elite competitions on Grand, he knows the lake, he said, but not like Christie or others might know it.
“When you grow up fishing a lake, you fish every team tournament, every weekend, and you see what happens throughout the year on a body of water. I’ve not had that experience on Grand,” said Evers, who has called northeastern Oklahoma home for about seven years.