In the sport of bass fishing, one of the most gratifying elements is connecting with others who share your passion. To find other anglers that have the drive and intensity for competitive fishing is to start a lifelong friendship. I recently had the pleasure of making such an acquaintance. Levi Christianson, a 26-year-old Nisswa, MN angler shares this passion. Levi recently signed up for all three Costa FLW Series events in the Southeastern division. The first stop of the series was January 14-16 on the infamous Lake Okeechobee.
As stated above, Levi is a Minnesota angler. He had never fished The Big O before. The lake is discouraging to say the least. Its 467,000 acres (730 square miles) leaves even the most seasoned pros clueless at times. For all the Minnesota anglers reading this, five Mille Lacs would fit in Okeechobee. So where did Levi begin? Everyone has the common notion of flipping to catch big fish down south, particularly on Okeechobee. After initially arriving to Okeechobee, spinning rod in hand, Christianson put down the finesse and picked up the meat gear.
“In practice, I nailed the fish. Not a ton of big fish, but lots of solid Okeechobee keepers. The weather was stable and the bite was consistent. I caught most fish on swimbaits and chatterbaits.”
As any avid bass angler knows, Florida-strain largemouth do not take kindly to cold fronts. Come tournament day, as Murphy’s law would have it, a mega-front moved in and Christianson’s bite disappeared. He arrived at his starting spot on the north end only to find rampant winds and dirty water. Having a North Country, “grind it out” mindset, Levi stuck out the foul weather for four hours. The fruits of his labor produced but one small fish. After transitioning to some adjacent flats for the remainder of the day, Christianson squeaked out two more fish. His day one total: 4 pounds for 3 fish.
On day two, anglers were greeted with a consistent rain which lasted all day and yielded 2.5″ of accumulation. Christianson made a bold decision to travel 22 miles to the south end. This proved wise as Levi boated a 5.5 pound largemouth halfway through the day. Through his trials and tribulations, Christianson learned eel grass was key for staging, female fish. He went on to boat two more decent green fish to put his day two total at around 9 pounds. All things considered, a substantial improvement from day one.
This ended Christianson’s time at Okeechobee. However, the premature finish did not dampen his attitude.
“I really learned a lot and that is basically all an angler can ask for. It was great to get to watch others fish down south and see what I can do better for next time. It was undoubtedly a new and valuable experience. All I can do is chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. Santee Cooper is next in March and I am even more excited for that event. It will fish very similar to back home with all its deep structure. I love fishing drop shots back in Minnesota and I feel it will be a major player in South Carolina.”
Talking with Levi, it is evident his knowledge is well beyond his years. His passion and drive for the sport is what makes the industry what it is. Bassin’ 360 is excited to cover his journey as he travels around the United States in pursuit of his dream. We look forward to working more with Christianson in the future and putting together unparalleled content for our visitors.