Bassmaster Elite Series pro Jordan Lee has won the 2017 GEICO Bassmaster Classic.
Twenty-five-year-old Lee of Grant, Al., won the Lake Conroe event with a total of 56 pounds, 10 ounces.
That total was built with 8 pounds, 9 ounces on Day 1, 21 pounds on Day 2, and the big bag of the tournament on Day 3, at 27 pounds and 4 ounces according to Bassmaster officials.
The TFG staff has numerous observations from the event. Here are the top five that deal with both the fishery and the anglers.
1. College Counts: Lee came out of the Bassmaster college championship. Nine years ago we predicted within a decade an angler who came through the collegiate ranks would become a Bassmaster Classic champion. Lee proved that to be true.
2. Turbulent Lake: Lake Conroe is without a question a great bass fishing lake but it is also an turbulent one. Water conditions change quickly and the lake itself gets extremely rough for one of its size as noted by Elite Series Pro Gerald Swindle and others at weigh-in.
3. Monster Bass: Several anglers at weigh-in noted sight casting to truly monster bass. Why do we believe them? After all anglers are known to stretch the truth. They spoke of seeing bass with “eyes bulging”. Ten pounders rarely have bulging eyes. Eleven pounders don’t either. You really don’t start to see that until around 12 pounds so chances are these anglers were seeing Sharelunker (13 pound plus) sized bass which history has proven are there.
4. Movers: Numerous anglers spoke of how much Conroe’s bass move in short spans of time. Most anglers spoke of finding bass one day and then none being there the next. The top five anglers on Saturday were all fishing different techniques and habitats. The fish were on the move between pre-spawn, post spawn and actual spawn making things extra challenging to figure out. California angler Chris Zaldain said fishing Conroe reminded him of the California Delta where the bass are highly mobile.
5. Pundits Balked: Talk of this tournament giving up record-sized bags were way off. The fish are there. No question. Many factors including a very mild winter that saw many bass spawn already along with the aforementioned factors make it a challenging lake for a tournament of this magnitude during spring. Many of the largest bass spawn earlier than others so if some of the anglers saw a few huge fish on beds, how many were there two weeks ago? A month ago? Potential is not a good gauge of performance. Potential and conditions must meet.
Chester Moore, Jr. (Editor-In-Chief)