Jordan Lee working on Garcia in the third period. Photo by Garrick Dixon.
By Tyler Brinks - February 4, 2019
FELLSMERE, Fla – We’ve heard this story before: Jordan Lee wins a major tournament in come-from-behind fashion.
Lee has a flair for the dramatic, yet somehow still maintains his calm, almost lackadaisical demeanor. But, don’t let that fool you, he’s a competitor and can sure catch a bass.
In Thursday’s Group A Elimination Round, Lee squeaked in at the last moment with a 2-pound, 12-ounce largemouth at the buzzer to capture the 20th and final spot to move on to the Knockout Round. His fish was the very last catch recorded that day at 3:29:08, less than a minute before lines out.
It wasn’t quite as dramatic Saturday during the Knockout Round, but Lee still flew under the radar and entered the Championship Round with a fresh slate after a sixth-place showing for the day. But with the MLF format and weights starting at zero after each round, it doesn’t matter how you get there as long as you save your best for the last day during the Championship Round.
And Lee did exactly that.
He started strong and was leading the event for much of the morning, but was still hanging around and an afternoon rally pushed him into the lead, and he ended up winning by over ten pounds over his closest competitor, Edwin Evers.
In total, Lee landed 26 bass for 55-1 for the day. Even after a penalty (his fifth of the day) in the waning minutes, Lee was able to catch a scoreable bass on the first cast after his penalty time was up.
Championship Sunday was just his day.
Since the final day was held on a different body of water, Garcia Reservoir, everything up to this point – the spots, patterns, and lure selection – were subject to change. Lee made the right adjustments to win by a landslide.
Here’s a recap of what Lee did to take home the first ever MLF Bass Pro Tour trophy.
What He Used
Lee had three patterns going on Lake Garcia, and three lures accounted for his win: a vibrating jig, Berkley’s The General stickbait, and a swimming worm. The swimming worm was less of a factor, but accounted for some of his weight.
Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General
Lee started strong thanks to this stickbait, in 5-inch (Black and Blue) weighted with a 3/16-ounce weight and rigged on a 4/0 Berkley Fusion19 Heavy Cover hook, a straight-shank flipping hook.
“I started my morning targeting isolated pads. The fish were spawning around them, that’s what they like to do in Florida,” said Lee.
He fished the bait on a 7-6 Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier rod paired with a high-speed 10.1:1 Revo Rocket spooled with 50-pound Berkley X9 braided line.
While the stickbait got him started, the vibrating jig was the key late down the stretch. He chose it because it is part of what helped him qualify for this day.
“I caught them on this same bait on Kissimmee earlier in the week,” I think the key was that I was fishing one with a gold blade and also fishing it pretty fast to get them to react.”
He chose a Green Pumpkin with a matching 3-inch minnow-style trailer.
Late in the day, Lee found this area and immediately started catching fish.
“It had good, clean water with hydrilla. Once I went there I instantly started catching them,” said Lee.
Lee fished his vibrating jig on a 7-3 medium heavy Abu Garcia Fantasista Premier with a 7.3:1 Revo STX spooled with 17-pound Berkley 100% fluorocarbon line.
Lee’s history on Lake Garcia
Jordan Lee opted not to take advantage of the ride-around that Bass Pro Tour anglers were allowed to do during one of their off-days. The dense fog also limited his ability to explore before starting the competition, but it didn’t matter.
Lee did, however, have some experience on Garcia although it wasn’t a good one.
“I went to Garcia one time fun fishing with some buddies and my truck broke down,” Lee said. “I had to call a tow truck to the same boat ramp we used today. I didn’t think I’d ever go back and especially did not think I’d be winning a tournament there.”
Lee was fortunate to get by in the Knockout Rounds, but loves the format of starting at zero and also fishing different lakes.
“It makes you stay on the fish and not just have a big day and kind of relax,” Lee said. “It’s a fresh start and a one-day shootout,” he said. “I like going to other lakes, too. It’s exciting, and you have to figure them out for that day.”