Jordan Lee rocks the stage at the 2017 Geico Bassmaster Classic!
In the world of competitive bass fishing, no other tournament series rings louder than The Bassmaster Classic. This year's winner is none other than Jordan Lee, a 25-year pro angler from Guntersville, Alabama.
Jordan stuck it out all week and during Sunday's final round at Minute Maid Park, he landed five bass on Lake Conroe that weighed in at 27 pounds, 4 ounces. That was enough to catapult his three day total to a tournament-winning 56-10.
"On this lake, I wasn't sure there was any way I could do it, " said Lee, "but you're never out of it here."
Lee was happy to walk away with one of the most coveted trophies in competitive bass fishing and an extra $300,000 to add to his pocketbook! The runner up for the classic was Steve Kennedy, who pulled in an whopping 55-1.
Jordan fished as a member of the Auburn University fishing team back in 2013 and is now sitting on top of the professional bass fishing scene at the Bassmaster Classic on a few years later. But, this certainly didn't happen over night. Lee has some words of encouragement for other anglers looking to make it big!
"To all of the guys fishing the college tournaments right now, this just says you can do it," Lee said. "It's hard work -- and you're going to have a lot of days out here that aren't good."
As the tournament unfolded you could tell Lee was off to a rough start. After Friday he caught only three fish that weighed 8-6. However, during his day on the water Saturday he began to get into the swing of things.
"With zero fish in the box at noon on the second day, I went back to that spot and caught a 7 1/2-pounder on the first cast," Lee said. "When I was landing that fish, there was a whole school of 5- and 6-pounders that came with it."
"Right then, I knew something was about to happen, and I caught two more that were both big."
Lee was able to top out Saturday with four keeper bass weighing in at an even 21-0. This put Lee into a position to win as long as he could continue his streak through Sunday's fishing!
Sunday's game plan was to hunker down over his lucky spot on Saturday and see what he could make happen. With other anglers leading by a large margin, this seemed to be his best option.
Oddly enough, Lee experiences some serious engine problems that removed his ability to run from spot to spot. This meant that he would have to fish his lucky point all day. Comedically, by the end of the day of fishing, Lee had to hitch a ride back to the weighs station in a spectator's boat.
By the time it was time to weigh in, things began to get tense. The final angler that still had a chance to beat Lee was Ehrler, who weighed in only 11-10 and still managed to pull out a third place position with 54-14.
"I'm disappointed," Ehrler said. "But what I really wanted to do coming in was be in position to win on the final day. I did that, but things just didn't work out today."
Ehrler earned the Berkley Big Bass Award of $2,500 for the largest fish of the event with a 9-12 largemouth he landed on day one.
Ehrler also earned the GEICO Everyday Leader Award of $1,000 and the $1,500 GEICO Everyday Leader Bonus for leading the tournament on both Friday and Saturday.
Overall, the tournament was well fished and certainly had its ups and downs for a number of anglers. With thousands of spectators on the lake as well as countless others tuning in online and via their television sets, the Bassmaster Classic continues to push the limits on what competitive bass fishing is all about!