Going into Sunday’s championship round of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic, no one gave Jordan Lee much of a chancing of winning…not even Lee himself.
HE was in 15th place, almost 14 pounds behind the leader, Brent Ehrler. And given that Lake Conroe in Texas was confounding pro bass fishing’s best, Lee wasn’t expecting much.
But the 25 year old from Grant, Ala., supplied the drama Sunday in fishing’s biggest event. He weighed in five bass weighing a whopping 27 pounds, 4 ounces and lifted his three-day total to 56 pounds, 10 ounces – enough for the coveted championship.
In the process, he took home $300,000, the chance to make much more in endorsements and sponsorships, and a fish story he will be telling for quite a while.
“When I went out today (Sunday), I thought there was no way I would win,” Lee said in a live feed on Bassmaster.com. “I was so far out of this thing that I was just relaxed.
“I caught only eight pounds on the first day and I had nothing at noon the second day. But you just can’t give up.
“I put something together and it was unbelievable. I had one magical little place and it paid off.”
One by one, the final field of fishermen came to the weigh-in stand Sunday and complained about how tough the fishing had been. That included Ehrler of Redlands, Calif, the leader in the first two rounds.
But Lee, 25, figured out something that no one else did. He fished a football jig with a Rage Craw or Space Monkey plastic trailer and caught all of his bass in one spot—a point with a rock bottom.
He found the spot in practice, but it didn’t produce the first day of the tournament. Lee returned to the spot midway through the second day and immediately caught a big bass.
He returned there Sunday and again caught big bass. But to say that his victory came easily would be an exaggeration. He had boat troubles Sunday and had to get a ride to the weigh-ins with a spectator.
Ehrler caught 5 bass weighing 11 pounds, 10 ounces Sunday and fell to third place in the final standings with a three-day total of 54 pounds, 14 ounces. Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala., finished second with 55 pounds, 1 ounce.
“This is a dream come true – a dream day at the Bassmaster Classic,” said Lee, who won the Carhartt Bassmaster College Fishing National Championship in 2013. “You never expect anything like this to happen to you in the biggest bass tournament in your life.
“But it did. I still can’t believe it.”
As for what this title will do for his fishing career, Lee responded, “It’s never been about the fame or money for me. I just love to catch fish.”