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 support team is so great. My wife’s name is Kimberly, and she’s a stay-at-home mom but gets to travel with me about half of the tournament season, along with our two daughters, 8-year-old Leann and 2-year-old Shiloh. Leann’s now old enough to understand what I do for a living, and she thinks that’s really cool. She gets to see some really neat stuff as we travel, like Mt. Rushmore when we were in South Dakota. We went to Niagara Falls last year. My 2-year-old enjoys getting in my boat and looking at my lures. So, both of my girls enjoy going to work with Daddy.
My wife Kimberly is not only the glue that holds the family together, she’s also the glue that holds my fishing business together. She takes care of many of the details that relate to my business of fishing. She handles the contracts, the social-media posts, my pictures, working with my sponsors and my schedule along with reservations that have to be made. What many people don’t understand about tournament fishing is that we’re not just anglers. Each tournament fisherman is a small business owner. To be honest, Kimberly and I both had to learn how to run a fishing business, once I first became a professional angler.
The Bassmaster Classic is a very important tournament that can make an angler’s fishing career and allow him to continue to work at the job of fishing that he loves for a long time. Everyone watches the Bassmaster Classic. People who don’t really know anything about bass fishing watch the Classic. Too, obviously winning $300,000 would be a life-changing event. I’d like to win the Classic to solidify my place in the history of pro bass fishing. I know some anglers have back-up plans, if they don’t make it as tournament anglers. But I’ve burned my boats. I don’t have a back-up plan. I have to do the best I can at this profession, if I’m going to continue to feed my family and pay the bills. Bass fishing is not just what I do. It is what and who I am.
At the end of each tournament, the check I receive is a big portion of the money that my family and I live off of, and if I don’t get a check, we don’t live as well. Each day I go to work as a tournament fisherman I have to deal with a new set of problems. The weather can change, the temperature can get hotter or colder, the color of the water may switch, and the types of places where I find bass may be different at various times. So, if I can find a creek that’s holding big bass, I not only have to try and catch them, but I also need to know where the bass will go if a cold or a warm front hits, where the fish will be in stained water, and how the wind and the rain can change where the bass will be.
Bass fishing is all about problem solving and decision making and just a little bit about catching bass. This Classic at Lake Guntersville will present many problems for the contestants to solve. If a warm front hits, the bass will move to the backs of the creeks and coves and start to spawn. If a cold front moves in, the bass will pull out of the shallow water and either move to the first drop-off near a spawning area, or if we have a severe cold front, the bass will move toward the mouth of a creek. I know that the biggest equalizer for doing well at the 2020 Classic will be the weather. That’s why I want to try and find an area that’s holding a school of big bass or attracting a large number of schooling females that I can keep up with - regardless of the weather and the water. I’ve packed all the clothing that I’ll need no matter what the weather.