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Bass Fishing: Learning on Your Own

with Jordan Lee

Jordan Lee won the Collegiate Bass Championship, and he’s fished well as a tournament pro. He won his first Bassmaster Classic in 2017; few believed he could step into the rare air of winning two Bassmaster Classics and join a fraternity with only Kevin VanDam and Rick Clunn in it. However, Lee won again in 2018. 

Jordan Lee

The 2017 Lake Conroe Bassmaster Classic in Houston, Texas, was a post-spawn tournament. I knew the bass would be moving off the beds and into deeper water. They were holding in transition areas where they could leave the shallow water for a while before the temperature forced them out to their deep-water summer homes. 

However, the 2018 Bassmaster Classic was in a different section of the country. We were fishing at Lake Hartwell in South Carolina, and the bass were in the pre-spawn, full of eggs and moving in the shallow water looking for places to spawn. Since I knew what the bass were searching for, I found those kinds of places, and the bass showed up. In the 2019 Classic near Knoxville, Tennessee, we had all kinds of weather, and I don’t think even the bass knew where they were going or what they were doing until they woke up each morning. 

I’m often asked, “What was the difference between winning your first Classic and your second Classic?” I fish to win every tournament that I enter. I’m really not interested in just making a good showing, I want to win. Both of those Classics were really special to me. I won my first tournament when I was 16 years old, and I always seemed to have a knack or a gift for being able to find and catch bass. I believe tournament fishing is a lot of instinctive fishing. Some people just have better-developed instincts for fishing than others. To determine how the bass will be situated before a tournament starts, you have to be a really good guesser, learn to trust your gut and almost fish intuitively. 

One of the things that has helped me the most in tournament fishing is to not depend on help from anyone. I try to make up my own game plan and not depend on help from any other people. When I was growing up, I didn’t have anyone to teach me how to bass fish. Since nobody in my family fished tournaments, I had to rely on what I could learn. Learning to be a tournament bass fisherman is the same as learning any other skill or craft. If you learn it on your own, you learn more and faster, than if you depend on someone else to teach it to you. I feel like doing my thing my way is what’s helped me out the most to be successful fishing for bass.

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