Fishing Tips

Yamaha Pro Jordan Lee Mentally Ready for Bassmaster Classic

Posted 2/7/2018

Defending Champion Not Feeling Pressure, Looking Forward to Lake Hartwell

Only five anglers have won the Bassmaster Classic® more than once during its 47-year history, and of those, only two have won the event in consecutive years. This March, when the 2018 Classic® is held on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell, Yamaha Pro Jordan Lee hopes to add his name to both lists.
As the 2017 Classic® champion, Lee, of course, is the only fisherman in the field who can try for a back-to-back win, and although the 27-year old Alabama angler has never before fished Hartwell, he’s going into the event with every intention of winning.
“I spent several days on Lake Hartwell in December before the lake went off limits,” says Lee, “and what impressed me the most was how large it is, compared to Lake Conroe where I won last year. I just drove around to get a feel for it, and I liked what I saw. 
“Hartwell reminds me of Lewis Smith Lake here in Alabama where I grew up fishing, in that it has both largemouth and spotted bass, clear water, and a lot of different fishing options. Of course, what the bass were doing at Hartwell in December and what they’ll be doing in late March are two totally different things, but I did catch several three and four pound bass there when I did fish. Overall, it seems to fit my fishing style.”
The Yamaha Pro describes himself as a shallow water jig fisherman with a preference for targeting boat docks, but he won’t hesitate to venture into deep water if necessary, and he found plenty of both on the 56,000-acre Savannah River impoundment.
In the two previous Classics® held on Lake Hartwell, winning catches totaled 49-7 and 50-1, so Lee knows what he likely will have to catch to be in contention the final day.
“I’ll go after largemouth because they’re heavier,” he explains, “and during our late March tournament they should be starting to move toward shallow water. At the same time, deep water fish are usually more reliable, and because the Classic® lasts only three days instead of four, it means you don’t have to be as conservative once you locate them.”
As much as Lee wants to become a repeat winner in what is generally considered America’s most prestigious bass tournament, he has not felt any added pressure as the defending champion. This will be just his fourth season as a Bassmaster® Elite angler but he has already learned to push distractions aside and keep himself focused on catching fish. 
For example, even with the 2018 Classic® less than two months away, he was thinking more about the Elite season opener in February at Lake Martin in Alabama, a reservoir he has fished often and knows well. He had not started packing any special tackle or studying Lake Hartwell maps for the Classic® at all.
That’s due in part to his remarkable success in such a short time as a professional fisherman. His resume already includes 19 top-10 finishes, including four last season, as well as his 2017 Bassmaster Classic® win. The attention he has received has surprised him, but he’s enjoyed it.
“All the travel and appearances I’ve made have been new to me, and people recognize me and want my autograph more than they ever did before,” he says. “It does take some getting used to, but I’ve had fun interacting with fans like that. Hopefully, I may even bring a few new people into the sport.”
During this past year, Lee’s popularity has forced him to carry several extra autograph pens in his pocket. If he wins his second Classic® in just a few weeks like he hopes to do, the Yamaha Pro will need to carry even more of them. Adding your name to those two short lists of multiple Classic® winners does that for you. Y