Classic special issue: JLee only wins championships, All Classic baits

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Today’s Top 4

Jordan Lee only wins championships.

Killer @ronnieoorebass shot

What…the…heck. That Jordan “Sir Weighs-a-lot” Lee is lights out. Check this:

> J-Lee has not (yet) won an Elite. Or an Open.

> Believe the only tourneys he’s won in B.A.S.S. are 2 (of the 4 he’s fished) Bassmaster Classics and the 2014 (’13?) Bassmaster College Classic bracket champeenship.

> On the FLW side he’s won 3 derbies, 1 of which was the College Fishing

Southeast Conference CHAMPIONSHIP. Okay 2 weren’t championships but still.

Aaaaaaaaand: All those championships were 3-dayers. Wild, huh? Here’s what he said about it:

What up with all the championship wins?

> “I do not know. I can’t explain it. Elite tournaments I’ve led, that final day, that day 4, some things changed. It felt hard. My patterns went downhill. At the Classic, the third day just has went my way. It just has. Everything’s been perfect.

> “The weather was perfect for me last year, and was perfect again this year for what I wanted to do.

> “The weather’s really important to everyone’s gameplan no matter what time of year it is. In some events that’s not went my way, but it’s just gone my way the last 2 [Classics]. It’s hard to explain.”

At this point is it even worth winning an Elite??

> “[Laughed] it definitely is. You want to win any tournament you go into. I’d definitely like to win an Elite at some point and knock that one of the bucket list for sure.”

Seems like you feel no pressure. Did your dad scream at you in practice like Tiger Woods’ dad did to make sure you’d be calm under pressure?

> “My dad is the complete opposite of that type. My parents have always been really supportive. They knew I was serious about it when Iw as younger. When I was 16, I got a boat instead of a truck, you know what I mean? They supported me, bought me tackle, got me rods. They knew I loved it. It’s been hard because it’s expensive — gas, tackle, things like that. That’s the thing you gotta have — you have to have support man.

> “The pressure…I had to mentally block it out. That’s what I did in this tournament. That’s the only way I can focus on what I need to do. It’s not easy when you have cameras and boats out the wazoo following you. You want to put on a show for them, but the only way to do that is to focus…. It’s all between the ears….

> “It’s different when you’re not leading. The last 2 [Classics] I haven’t led going into the final day. When you’re leading, you can taste it. It’s right in front of you. When something doesn’t go your way when you’re leading, it can spin you out. I’ve led 2 Elites going into the 4th day and it hasn’t happened. You try as hard as you can and it just doesn’t happen.

> “When you’re not leading, you can fish calmer knowing that you’re not supposed to win. You can slow down and try to make the right decisions. The difference in a tournament of that caliber between leading and not leading really changes your mindset.”

Dude is on point. Also asked if there’s any rational explanation — that doesn’t involve aliens, bigfoot, solar flares or leprechauns — for 2 straight Classic wins in only his 3rd and 4th Classics fished. He said…no…lol.

4 more things:

1. When Jordan finished 6th in his first Classic, that was the highest finish ever by a college angler. #foreshadowing

2. So far no truth to the rumor that Jordan’s now gonna call himself Jordan Van Lee.

3. Forgot to ask whether it’s true he’s now heading to England to see if he can pull Excalibur outta the stone.

4. Watch out for his big bro Matty Lee, who beat Jordan the first time in the college bracket deal to get into the Classic, and is now (last year and so far this year) fishing really dang good. More confident too.

Asked them what’s up with their hammah selves, they said these were the biggest deal for them in the offseason:

J-Lee’s Classic baits and pattern.

Full rundown on, but a few highlights:

> With conditions and water levels changing every day, Jordan fished different ways all 3 days….

> “I had a couple different spotted bass places I weighed fish off. The best spot was a saddle between 2 islands, like a big hole. I found it on Google Earth….”

> “I was sitting in 35′ casting between and island and the bank. It was about 10′ on top…. Just a perfect little feeding spot. I weighed in a largemouth there the first day, but the rest were spotted bass. Caught a 3, some 2.5s, some solid fish there…was a key place for me, where I could pull up in the mornings and get some solid fish off it.”

> … 2.75″ Strike King Rage Swimmer (pearl flash) on 1/4-oz Owner ballhead jig, 7′ 2″ MH Quantum Vapor Spinning Rod, Quantum Smoke S3 spinning reel (30), 8-lb Seaguar Tatsu fluoro.

> “I also threw a deep-diving jerkbait (bone)….

> “They weren’t on every dock — or any docks at all — but that’s where they wanted to go. I didn’t get any in practice…fished so many docks in pockets…the water was warming up, but I just wasn’t getting any bites. The first day I had a couple quality bites [doing it], and I keyed on it for the last day.

> 5” Strike King Ocho and other Senko-type stick worms (gp and gp blue) on a #2 VMC Weedless Neko Hook (“I never lost a fish on them), 3/32-oz nail weight (1/16-oz after he ran out, “didn’t seem to matter”), 6′ 10″ MH Quantum Vapor Spinning Rod (“little shorter rod for pitching around the docks”), Quantum Inshore Speed Freak (30) and Smoke S3 reels, 30-lb Seaguar Smackdown braid to 8-lb Seaguar Tatsu fluoro.

> “I wasn’t really skipping it. I was pitching toward the edges — the water was so clear, they’d swim out. You didn’t really have to set it right on them.

> “I did tun on the HydroWave at those spotted bass places early in the morning. I had it on the blueback mode, and I felt like it might have kept them feeding for a little bit longer. They were aggressive and the bait was streaking around. I really think it helped to get another bite or two.”

Full pattern rundown on!

ALL the Classic baits and patterns.

Like I do every Classic, all 52 of ’em. Why? Because I’m a:

And we all are like:

Hahaha love that! Here’s the rest of the top 10, ALL of ’em on

2. Brent Ehrler

Main pattern was fishing main lake points and drains in pockets in 20-30′ with a swimbait. Had 3 baits he rotated through to get bites on key areas: swimbait (rigged 2 ways) to jig to nail rig.

> 1/2-oz Super Fish Pro Underspin with 3 different swimbaits: 3.5″ Yamamoto Swimbait (bright white/silver flake), 4″ Swim Senko (same color), 4″ ribbed swimbait (white), 7′ 3″ MH signature Daiwa Tatula Elite Series multi-purpose rod, Daiwa Steez A Reel, 12-lb Sunline Sniper fluoro.

> 3/8-oz Boss Swimbait Head, 3″ ribbed swimbait (white), same rod, Daiwa Tatula SV Reel, same line.

> 3/4-oz Boss Football Jig (br) with a 5″ Yamamoto Double Tail Grub (gp), Daiwa Tatula Elite Series Ish Monroe Frog Rod, Steez A Reel, 16-lb Sunline FC Sniper fluoro. Several times, after the swimbaits wouldn’t work, he’d throw the jig out and get bit on the first cast.

> Drop bait (day 3, same areas): Senko (gp) wacky-rigged with a 3/32-oz Eagle Claw nail weight and #1 Gamakatsu B10 S Stinger hook, 7′ 1″ M signature Daiwa Tatula Elite dropshot rod, Daiwa Exist reel (3000), 12-lb Sunline PEx8 braid to 8-lb Sunline Sniper fluoro.

> He had to trigger the fish to bite. “Every time I’d change something I could get an extra bite. I’d go through the rotation, leave, then come back and go through the same rotation and eventually could get them to bite. Once I’d trigger them, I’d catch 2-3 really fast then they’d go dark.

> Like Jordan Lee, he used a HydroWave: “The first 2 days I didn’t realize it had a blueback herring setting…I saw it on the final day and felt it helped for sure. I got more bites with it.

> “The Lakemaster chip from Humminbird…there’s something specific I was looking for, and when I found it I could duplicate it on different parts of the lake. With the Lakemaster chip, I could find it, drive right to it and catch a fish on my first cast.”

3. Jason Christie

Fished grass and docks in the backs of pockets. Main bait was a 1/2-oz prototype BOOYAH Spinnerbait (chart/white with a single Colorado) and YUM Pulse swimbait (white). 6′ 10″ MH Falcon Cara Rod, Lew’s Team Pro Magnesium Reel (7.5), 22-lb Sunline fluoro. Also fished a not-yet-released BOOYAH vibrating jig and another unnamed one, both 1/2-oz white.

4. Matt Lee

Mostly fished deep (20-30′) mid-lake, also around docks in the lower end with “dog fennel” (flooded bank grass). Best bait was a 4″ Strike King Ocho (candy craw) with a 3/32-oz nail weight, #1 Owner Straight Shank Hook, 7′ 2″ M Quantum Smoke S3 Rod, Smoke S3 Reel (30 series), 15-lb Seaguar Smackdown braid, 8- and 12-lb Seaguar Tatsu fluoro.

5. Jacob Powroznik

Wacky-rigged from 1′ to 40′ — shallow docks and clean spots deep. V&M Chopstick (gp), #1 Mustad TitanX Wacky/Neko Hook, nail weight out deep, 7′ 4″ M Quantum Prism Spinning Rod, Quantum Smoke S3 Reel (30), 10-lb Hi-Seas braid, 10 10-lb Hi-Seas fluoro.

6. Ott DeFoe

Fished colored water shallow with a 1/2-oz Z-Man BPS-exclusive vibrating jig (gp) with 2 trailers used randomly: BPS Sassy Sally boot-tail swimbait (gp/watermelon) and a BPS Bull Hog (gp). Weighed 2 on a 1/2-oz Terminator Double-Willow Spinnerbait (chart/white). All fished on a 7′ MH BPS CarbonLite Rod, CarbonLite Reel (7.5) and 17-lb BPS XPS fluoro. Half fish came from docks in 2-10′, and other half were in dog fennel in 2-5′.

7. Jacob Wheeler

Backs of pockets around grass with a 5/16-oz Accent signature Buzzbait (two colors: black and white), 17-lb Sufix Invisiline fluoro, Okuma Helios Reel (7.3), 7′ MH Okuma TCS Scott Martin Rod. “I picked up a buzzbait because I’m a topwater freak, and every time I have a topwater in my hand I feel like I have a chance to win it.”

8. Casey Ashley

The local former Hartwell Classic champ fished shallow docks in pockets. “Really clear water — the fish were cruising.” Zoom Trick Worm (gp) on a new 1/8- and 3/16-oz Green Fish Tackle custom shakey head. 7′ M Quantum Smoke Inshore Spinning Rod (he likes the more-parabolic action of the inshore rod), Quantum Smoke S3 Reel, 10-lb Hi-Seas Grand Slam braid, 10-lb Hi-Seas fluoro leader.

9. Aaron Martens

Brushpiles and long shell points in the main lake and some bigger creeks. Keys were clear water and going slow: “The slower you go, the more they kind of come to you.” 4.5″ Roboworm Straight Tail Worm (Aaron’s magic and margarita mutilator), 3/16-oz Picasso Rhino Head (“it’s different than any other shakey head”), 12-lb Sunline PEx8 braid to 10-lb Sunline Sniper fluoro, Shimano Stella Reel (2500), 6′ 11″ MH Enigma Aaron’s Edge Rod.

10. Gerald Swindle

Fished the mouths of creeks and the middle of short pockets, slow-rolling a 1/2-oz Evergreen Jack Hammer (gp) with a 4″ Zoom Boot Tail Fluke (albino). 7′ 2″ MH Quantum GForce signature Rod, Quantum Smoke S3 Reel (6:1), 16-lb Sunline Shooter fluoro.

Classic bait stuff that jumped out at me.

Here you go:

> Most popular vibrating jig was the Z-Man/Evergreen Jack Hammer, whether the guys could say it or not. Word is the haygrass would shut down other vibrating jigs but not the Jack Hammer. So…maybe Brett Hite really does know what he’s talking about…lol.

> Often-used hook that some guys mentioned, others didn’t/couldn’t: VMC Neko Hook.

> Most popular spinnerbait: War Eagle.

> Senko-type stick worms were the most popular plastic.

> Everyone fished fluorocarbon line.

Crazy awards

  • Jacob Wheeler fished a dang buzzbait in 50s-degree water…and caught ’em!
  • Mark Daniels Jr. fished a #6 hook — that’s a worms-for-bluegills size hook. That’s what he caught the 6-11 on….
  • Opens winner Stanley Sypeck Jr fished a Gan Craft Magnum 230 swimbait (glide bait) — a 9″ bait! Believe that’s a Classic record. Asked him why he chose that bait: “They were eating it” in practice.
Ya got me
Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup

of the best, worst and funniest in bassin’, as curated by me — Jay Kumar. I started, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a bunch more in bassin’. The Blaster is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o’ bass so thanks for readin’!

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