with Jordan Lee
Jordan Lee won the 2017 and the 2018 Bassmaster Classics. He also won the first event on the Major League Fishing Circuit on the Kissimmee chain of lakes in Florida, with the final day fishing on Lake Garcia.
The first three days of our fishing on the Kissimmee chain of lakes, I caught most of my bass on two lures. The first was a Berkley PowerBait The General, a 5-inch plastic stick bait. I cast it to isolated lily pads and worked the bait fairly slowly. I was targeting some of the first spawners to come into shallow water.
My second bait I used was a bladed jig, targeting submerged hydrilla. I was fishing the hydrilla because the water was somewhat cleaner there than in other parts of the lake. I was burning the bladed jig over the top of the grass and causing the bass to react to and attack the bait, and I caught a lot of my bigger bass on that bladed jig. The bladed jig was green pumpkin with a little bit of chartreuse in the color.
I was fishing an Abu Garcia Revo STX7 3:1 gear ratio reel, because I could reel the bladed jig in faster with this reel. Normally when you’re fishing for bedding bass, the slower you move your bait, the better your odds are to catch those bigger spawners. However, I couldn’t see the bass I was trying to catch down in the water, so by using a fast-moving racket bait like the bladed jig, even if the bass couldn’t see the lure but could only hear it, they could react to it and bite it.
I also was using this lure and fishing that way because when the bass were spread out and not grouped-up like they were in the hydrilla, I could cover a lot of water quickly with the bladed jig. When I was throwing my black-and-blue stick bait, I was using an Abu Garcia Revo Rocket reel with 50-pound-test X9 braid and a 7’6” Abu Garcia Fantasista rod. Two of the biggest bass I caught on the Kissimmee Chain weighed about 4-1/2 pounds each.
On the last day of fishing at the Kissimmee chain, 10 of the 40 anglers were picked to fish Lake Garcia. I finished sixth on that day. When we arrived at Lake Garcia, all the previous weights were deleted, and the tournament was decided by who could catch the biggest and most bass on Lake Garcia in one day. I had fished Lake Garcia with some friends several years before, and there were only one or two of the other anglers who’d ever fished that lake. I felt confident that I’d catch a few fish on The General plastic stick bait, but on my ride through the lake before the competition, I knew I’d have to find the cleanest water I could in this lake that was off-colored and really shallow.
When we blasted off in the morning, there was a dense fog. I couldn’t see down in the water, because we had low light for several hours. Once the sun came up, I found an area where the water was noticeably cleaner than the rest of the water in the lake. I found this spot at the end of my second period of fishing, with only one more period to fish that day. I had only caught about 17 pounds of bass during the first two periods, and the leader had 25 pounds. So, I had a 10-pound deficit to make up to be in the lead.
With only 2-1/2 hours left to fish, I started getting bites immediately - catching bass that were 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 pounds. The size of bass I was catching continued to get bigger. My largest bass that day weighed 4 pounds, 11 ounces. By the end of the third period, I was really catching bass quickly. Luckily, no other contestant was fishing this same 1/2-acre spot. At the final gun, I had 26 fish that weighed about 55 pounds. In 2-1/2 hours, I went from 17 pounds of bass to 55 pounds of bass, and I won $100,000.