How Brandon Lester Started Fishing Professionally
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.
I’m really excited to be a part of the Mossy Oak Fishing Team because I not only tournament fish, but I’m a hunter as well. Mossy Oak has one of the strongest names in the outdoor industry. Not just a camouflage company, Mossy Oak contributes a lot of money to conservation organizations and youth organizations. Mossy Oak is a great company with a well-known reputation, and I’m so proud to be a part of that. I’m really excited about this 50th Classic being at Lake Guntersville, since I only live about 1-1/2 hours from the lake. Because I’ve fished team tournaments and club tournaments on Lake Guntersville, I feel I have a good understanding of what the bass do on that lake. I can’t call Lake Guntersville my home lake, and I don’t consider myself a local angler. However, I’m pretty close to that.
Before I became a professional tournament angler, I worked in an injection-molding factory. While working there, I started fishing Bassmaster Opens in hopes of qualifying for the Elite Series. The first year I fished the Bassmaster Open Circuit was 2012. Then in 2013, I won the Southern Open Championship, which gained me an invitation to participate in the 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series. Over the course of that year, I won about $25,000. After that I was given an invite to fish the Elite Series and qualified to fish the Bassmaster Classic in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 and earned some money at each.
I was lucky enough to land some sponsorships and that helped me make the decision to leave the factory and turn pro. My family also helped me out, especially my dad, Jimmy Lester. He helped me buy my first boat when I went to the Elite Series, and I’ll always be thankful to him for investing his money in my future and that of my family. I don’t come from a rich family - middle class at best. I don’t believe I’d be where I am today without my dad’s help. I remember telling him, “I don’t want you to help me buy this boat if it will put you in a bind financially.” He looked me in the eyes and said, “Son, I feel like I’m investing in your future.” I’ll never forget his look or those words.