Was it a surprise Jordan Lee won a tournament? Nope. In a way, J-Lee always wins – believe he’s won at least one of every tournament format so far, with at least one AOY in there. Green fish, brown fish, red fish, blue fish – doesn’t matter. So he’s pretty dang good! Here’s how he got his latest dub-ya.
Going in and practice
> “I wanted to go fish in Canada…couple reasons. I knew that…FLW tournaments that were there the last week of June were both won in Canada – I believe Larry Nixon won one and Chad Grigsby won the other one – both in the Belle River hump area.”
The US side had been open for fishing, but not the Canadian side til BPT practice was over:
> “I knew [the US side had] had pressure…so I just thought it would be won over [in Canada]. And I thought if I could fish over there the whole time, I might not kill them the first couple days but I’d learn some places.
> “…no pressure and just the fact that tournaments had been won over there the same time of year.
> “Obviously I knew it was a pretty big gamble not being able to fish [in practice]. So the first day I ran straight over there…just kind of riding around, trying to get a feel for it. I got a Aqua-Vu camera for the first time – since I was not able to fish, I was dropping it down.
> “I put my trolling motor down and kinda used my [Lowrance] ActiveTarget to try to see what the fish were looking like…these are bass, these aren’t bass. I dropped the Aqua-Vu down and started seeing some smallmouth. They actually would follow the camera which was pretty cool. I guess they were just curious.
> “I did that til about 1:30 the 1st day and then I was like, Okay I’ve had enough of this. I only can take being on St Clair and not fishing for so long. It’s hard mentally [knowing] guys are probably catching a lot of fish right now and I’m over here dropping a camera down.
> “The next day I went back and stayed a little longer, til about 3:30. It was raining and I just did the same thing…idling around, looking for differences in the grass and dropping the camera down. I saw quite a few fish.
> “A lot of places I saw fish I didn’t catch them that great in the tournament.”
> “Day 1 I ran to my first spot…my first fish of the tournament was a 5-13, so just a monster to start it off. I was like, Okay this was probably a good decision. But I didn’t have another bite there.
> “…bounced around a lot, places where I thought I could get bit…never got a bite. One place I ended up catching some I found with the Aqua-Vu. Some sparse, taller cabbage – taller grass. That place I saw multiple multiple fish on the camera. I moved around that area and ended up catching a lot of my weight there.
> “So I got comfortable that day knowing, Okay the right size of fish is over here. I just kept expanding it the first day when knew I had a decent bit of weight. I tried to get a feel for what was going on.
> “I was throwing a dropshot, a Ned rig and also threw a hair jig…really good mayfly hatch going on…mayflies everywhere. I ended up catching a couple better [day 1] fish on a hair jig.
> “Day 2 was a lot different than the first day. The wind was starting to pick up – it wasn’t slick calm. It was a little bit tougher starting out. …one of the areas with taller grass, taller cabbage, I ended up catching a lot of smaller fish there.
> “I noticed the inside grassline wasn’t real defined. Just patches of grass. Fish would roam this area, and I would have to find a new group of fish. But they weren’t giant fish – 3-lbers. I did catch 1 big one that I believe got me up to 18 lbs probably mid-day.
> “I was like, I need to find some new fish…so I decided to run a little ways. It was just rolling, the wind was howling, so I decided to stop and put the trolling motor down.
> “I was noticing that the fish were on the inside of the grass, not really the outside. One spot was an inside edge of a grassline in about 17′. I was trying to find that but…not defined, so I just stopped the boat where there wasn’t much grass [and] immediately started catching fish in a whole new area. That ended up being the winning spot.
> “…grass was 5-10” off the bottom – it was really hard to see on sonar. In this one area where I started getting bit there was hardly any grass. I’m thinking there was some sand there. That’s the only time I’ve ever caught fish on St Clair on bare bottom – it’s usually sand. For whatever reason those fish love that.
> “I started seeing a lot of fish…drum. When I’d see a smallmouth, I would catch one and there’d be 4-5 with it. So I knew they were the right-size fish, those 4.5-5 lb class fish. I ended up catching 4 of my 5 there the 2nd day. I started to get some waypoints…football-field size area in about 17′.
> “The last 2 days I ran straight to it. Day 3 I pulled up there and immediately started catching fish. I think I had 19-20 lbs in less than an hour. It was kind of weird there. They would feed really good in the morning, then it seemed like they would move….
> “They were all spitting up these big perch, which was pretty crazy – I hadn’t really seen that out there.
> “Day 4 was the same. I didn’t catch them off the same waypoints that I did the 3rd day. I had to troll around a lot of find them. I eventually found ’em probably 200 yards away, and once I found them I started catching them pretty consistently.
> “…not a slick bottom, just a little bit of grass on the bottom. I was just looking for fish at that point. I wasn’t really worried about what was on the bottom. It seemed like when…grass would get taller I would stop seeing fish.
> “I was surprised fishing in Canada wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be …they were in really specific areas or spots. There weren’t massive places where you just drifted around and caught fish.”
> “I had 8-9 spinning rods rigged up and most of them had dropshots…same exact setup. The one I used the most was an Abu Garcia Zenon 30-size reel, 6-lb Berkley X5 Flame Green Braid to 8-lb Berkley Trilene 100% Fluoro with an FG knot, and a 6′ 10″ ML Abu Garcia Jordan Lee Super Finesse Rod.
> Dropshot: “1/2-oz tungsten weight, 2/0 straight shank hook, and I was threading on a 5-inch Berkley MaxScent Flatnose Jerk Shad. I actually ran out of them…so I overnighted 10 packs from Tackle Warehouse. I had’t really thrown that bait a whole lot [before this tournament] so I didn’t have a huge amount. I was throwing ‘watermelon red magic’ – that was the most perch-like and they were eating it so good. …did throw a shad color and caught ’em on that as well.
> “The perch they were spitting up…were all bigger than your hand. Some were just monsters – they looked like a 6-inch swimbait. They were eating some big stuff so I knew I wasn’t gonna scare ’em off…and I could put a bigger hook in that…. My hookup percentage was almost perfect. I wasn’t worried about losing ’em which was awesome fishing for smallmouth.”
> Ned rig: “If I got in a little lull, I’d pick that up just to throw something different. If it was glass calm and I was struggling…. I did catch that 6-07 on the 3rd day on the Ned rig with a MaxScent Lil General in “gobyashi” which is a St Clair staple.” [Same rod, reel and line as the dropshot.]
> “…I think probably 95% of my fish I caught were on the fall. I was throwing a 1/2-oz weight…almost all of them would come up and get it. I’d watch them on ActiveTarget come up off the bottom and get it before it got to the bottom. Or they would run right over to it and I’d pick it up and they’d be on there every time. I didn’t really have to work the bait.
> “I was [also] using a heavy weight so if they were moving, if they were swimming – a lot of times they would be swimming pretty fast – so if I could just get them to see the bait, they were gonna eat it.”
> “The 2 main keys were the ActiveTarget 2 – I had it set at 100′ which was a pretty good cast – just panning around with that, and before I went up there I put a 52-inch [shaft Lowrance] Ghost which would allow my transducer to stay in the water when it was a little rough. I feel like that helped a lot, being able to see the fish even when it was pretty windy.”