As Bassmaster Classic champion Jason Christie knows, Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees is one of the best lakes in the country, and anglers fishing the 2022 TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional at Grand Lake May 4-6 will have a multitude of options to find a winning bag.
“Generally, the first week of May is wide open,” the Oklahoma native said. “It would not surprise me if someone won deep or if someone won it in less than 2 feet or if someone won it somewhere in the middle. The good thing about that first week of May is the entire lake is wide open. There isn’t a creek or section of the lake that will be dead. As an angler, that’s what you want. Guys can spread out.”
This will be the second trip to Grand Lake of the 2022 season for the Bassmaster tournament trail after the 2022 Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX visited the historic venue in April.
Anglers from across the country qualified for this event through their respective state Nation chapters, and the top boater and top co-angler from each state will qualify for the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Championship Nov. 9-11 on Pickwick Lake.
Barring a major rain event, Christie said anglers will likely be able to fish to their strengths and find the water clarity and depth they feel most comfortable in. There have been times when the bass will still be spawning in the early part of May and, historically, the shad spawn will also be starting.
“It has been said that Grand Lake is the best lake in the country that doesn’t have grass,” Christie said. “One of the reasons, I think, is (because) there is just a ton of bait in the lake. The shad population in the lake has been crazy for years. The second thing that helps those fish grow up is the amount of boat docks and marinas. These fish have areas where they never see a bait.”
Along with the docks, there is also plenty of rock and wood in the lake. With plenty of cover and miles of fishable water to investigate, Christie believes a variety of techniques will play. A Biffle Bug paired with a swinghead is a popular technique along with spinnerbaits around the shad spawn. Squarebills, jigs, Spooks and creature baits will play around docks as well.
“The water could be 3 feet high and they could be flipping willows,” Christie said. “The first week of May, if I had to put my finger on it, will probably be a shad spawn deal in the morning and then maybe in the afternoon they go sight fishing.”
Competition for the TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Central Regional will be held May 4-6. Anglers representing Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana will launch from Wolf Creek Park each day at 6:15 a.m. CT and return for weigh-in at 2:15 p.m. The field will be cut to the Top 16 boaters and nonboaters plus the Top 2 boaters and nonboaters from each state if they are not already in that range.
The tournament is being hosted by the City of Grove.
2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Title Sponsor: TNT Fireworks
2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Premier Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2022 B.A.S.S. Nation Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Strike King, Triton Boats, VMC
B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), TV show, radio show, social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series presented by Mossy Oak Fishing, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship, Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX, Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.