Jordan Lee is Bassmaster 2017 Champion
In 2013 Jordan Lee was a member of the Auburn University fishing team.
Now, he’s on top of the professional bass fishing world.
The 25-year-old pro from Guntersville, Alabama stayed within striking distance all week at the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Dick’s Sporting Goods. Then during Sunday’s final round at Minute Maid Park, he caught five bass from Lake Conroe that weighed 27lb 4oz, pushing his three-day total to a tournament-best 56lb 10oz.
Lee earned $300,000 and the most coveted trophy in the sport, while Steve Kennedy — a resident of Auburn, Ala. — finished second with 55lb 1oz.
“To all of the guys fishing the college tournaments right now, this just says you can do it,” Lee said. “It’s hard work — and you’re going to have a lot of days out here that aren’t good.
“On this lake, I wasn’t sure there was any way I could do it. But you’re never out of it here.”
Lee had every reason to fold after Friday’s first round when he caught only three fish that weighed 8lbs 6oz. But Saturday provided a revelation that would ultimately lead to his first B.A.S.S. victory.
Lee had to sweat through the final few anglers, including Kennedy who weighed in 21lbs 15oz and fell just 1lb 9oz short of the title. The final angler with a chance to unseat Lee from the top of the leaderboard was Brent Ehrler, who weighed in just 11lbs 10oz and finished third with 54lbs 14oz.
Ehrler was trying to become just the sixth angler in Classic history to lead the event from wire-to-wire and the first since Cliff Pace in 2013. Instead, he became the second angler in a row to lead the first two days, only to fall short in the end.
“I’m disappointed,” Ehrler said. “But what I really wanted to do coming in was be in position to win on the final day. I did that, but things just didn’t work out today.”
Ehrler earned the Berkley Big Bass Award of $2,500 for the largest fish of the event with a 9lbs 12oz largemouth he caught on Friday.
Ehrler also earned the GEICO Everyday Leader Award of $1,000 and the $1,500 GEICO Everyday Leader Bonus for leading both Friday and Saturday.