provided by John Phillips
Fayetteville, Tennessee’s 31-year-old Brandon Lester will be fishing in his fifth Bassmaster Classic in March. He fished Bassmaster Opens for 2 years and has been with the Elite Series for 7 years. He’s won two, Eastern Open Angler-of-the-Year awards.
My first year on the Elite Series I finished 29th in the standings and qualified for the Bassmaster Classic, which was a really good year for me because only about 100-110 anglers were competing on the Elite Series. I feel like any time an angler qualifies for the Classic, he’s had a very good year of bass fishing. I finished 18th in my first Classic at Grand Lake. This year’s Classic will be my fifth. The Bassmaster Classic is a big deal and is a week-long event. Since I’ve already fished four of them, I’ll be more accustomed to what happens at the Classic, and I’ll know what I have to do to put myself in the best position to win.
I realize that the intense media pressure seems to irritate some of the first-time Classic participants, because the media wants to learn as much as they can about you, how you’re fishing, where you’re fishing, and what you believe gives you the chance to win each day. But I embrace the press. Working with them is the best way I can promote myself, my sponsors and Bassmaster. Honestly, when we’re out there on the water, trying to catch bass and compete, there’s no place any of us would rather be. No matter how much hoopla is going on before the Classic, how many spectator boats I have following me, or whether I’m a favorite to win or not, when I start casting, winding and fishing, all I’m focused on is catching bass. That’s all that really matters during that week-long tournament.
I think the weather will be the main factor as to where the contestants will find the bass on Guntersville Lake during the 2020 Bassmaster Classic. All the bass may be spawning, but if the weather doesn’t warm up, the bass may on a prespawn pattern. I think the bass will be shallow, and I believe the tournament will be won in 8 feet of water or less. I think there will be bass holding in the shallow grass and on the bridges. Lake Guntersville should be a great, great tournament, and fans should see a lot of really big fish and big limits of bass brought in each day. I think you’ll see the typical patterns used that anyone fishes in the spring. Lipless crankbaits, rattling jigs, spinners and big swimbaits all will be lures that should produce bass at the 2020 Classic.
I don’t define myself as a shallow, a deep, a power or a finesse fisherman. All the contestants in this year’s Bassmaster Classic can fish almost any lure they need to fish on a spinning rod or a bait-casting rod. So, if I have to classify myself, I’ll have to say I’m a very versatile fisherman. I want to fish whatever tactics are producing bass on the particular lake and on the day I’m fishing. There are probably times in tournaments where being versatile hurts me. However, I have cashed checks in 65 percent of the tournaments I’ve fished. So, I try and be as versatile an angler as I can be. That’s the way I earn my living, and how I pay my bills for me and family. I’ve been fishing for a living for seven years.