Team 13 Fishing Pro Kyle Welcher went into the 52nd Annual Bassmaster Classic with odds of 40:1 to win it. By the end of day two he had fished his way to a dead even tie with Jason Christie, a seasoned veteran who has been fishing professionally since before Welcher even had a driver’s license. Christie, a favorite to win fishing’s biggest event, had his odds set at 4:1.

Staying true to his poker player mindset, in an interview prior to the event Welcher said, “You don’t get many opportunities in life where the event you are about to take on has essentially no risk and all upside. This tournament does not help or hurt my AOY points, but can literally change my life.”

He made it clear that he was going to come out swinging for the fences. And swing he did! Welcher mixed it up and threw a variety of baits managing to adapt to the ever-changing conditions on Lake Hartwell. While many serious competitors struggled, he was off to the races with a strong start.



By the last day of competition, Welcher and Christie both had bag weights of 36 lbs. 7oz. and were tied for the lead, but there were numerous contenders still very well within striking distance. The stage was set for a tight race and the anglers knew it was anyone’s tournament to win.

Stetson Blaylock took an early lead on BassTrakk, but both Welcher and Christie kept up. “I knew it was going to be close,” said Welcher. “I actually ended up fishing all new waters and trusting my instincts on the last day.”

The commentators and bass fans alike knew that is was going to come down to the wire. Sure enough, even after the buzzer it was still too close to call.



In the type of dramatic fashion only found on tournament fishing’s biggest stage, Kyle Welcher secured the hot seat after dethroning Blaylock with a total weight on 53 lbs. 11oz.

But in the end, the former professional poker play turned bass pro got beat on the river by the seven time Bassmaster Classic veteran, Jason Christie, who weighed in at 54 lbs. even. A margin of only 5 oz. made the 2022 Classic one of the tightest competitions in Bassmaster history.

At only 29 years old with two Elite Series seasons under his belt, Kyle has a very bright tournament career ahead of him. With seven more tournaments this season, the odds for the next Classic are yet to be determined. We have a feeling that the smart money has Welcher on the shortlist for future Bassmaster Classic Champions.

Be sure to checkout Kyle’s Instagram and subscribe to his YouTube Channel to follow along on his journey, and while you are there, drop him a comment and congratulate him on a great finish at the toughest tournament there is.