Already a fishing legend at 23
In 2015, 23-year-old Jordan Lee of Grant became the youngest competitor on the top-tier Bass Angler Sportsman Society Elite Series. So far, he’s only fished four Bassmaster Classics, the world championship of professional fishing, but has already won two of them. In 2017, he became one of the youngest champions at 25 when he won his first Classic. In March 2018, he became only the third man in history to win back-to-back Classics in the 48-year history of the event with his victory at Lake Hartwell, S.C. – John Felsher
How does it feel to join the ranks of legendary bass anglers like Rick Clunn and Kevin VanDam to win back-to-back Bassmaster Classics at such a young age?
In my wildest dreams, I never thought I was going to win the 2018 Classic. It really is overwhelming. I’ve never won a Bassmaster Open event. I’ve never won an Elite Series event. I guess there’s just something about this tournament for me. I didn’t have a game plan for Hartwell. I didn’t have one magical spot. I knew that with the warm weather, docks were going to be a player. I saw tons of big bass suspending under every dock. It was just amazing to see that.
How did you first get interested in fishing?
I got interested in fishing through friends at small lakes and ponds. At the age of 10 was the most memorable. That’s when I caught the fishing bug, when I started fishing my grandfather’s pond in my hometown of Cullman. I remember that day vividly as I was pulling out 4- and 5-pound bass with my first rod and reel. I knew at that moment that I wanted to do this for the rest of my life.
Years later, my parents saw a growing passion and bought me an aluminum boat to fish local tournaments on Lake Catoma. Fast forward 10 years and my dreams began unfolding one tournament at a time. Fishing on the Auburn University Team was a life-changing, growing experience that opened the doors to my future in fishing.
How did you get started in professional fishing and work your way up to competing in the biggest event in the sport?
I started fishing local tournaments throughout high school. Then I began fishing for the Auburn University bass fishing team. I qualified for my first Bassmaster Classic through the Carhartt College Program. After college, I fished the Bassmaster Opens for one season and then qualified for the Elite Series.
You and your older brother, Matt Jordan, compete directly against each other on the tournament trail. What’s the competition like between yourself and your brother?
I get this question a lot, There are 108 more anglers, so the competition is equal among all of us. It’s not just me against him.
As a young competitor fishing against some former champions and other legendary anglers, how do you prepare yourself to compete against all those other great, experienced anglers?
It’s just me against the fish. I don’t worry about other anglers and their experience versus mine.
How did winning your first Classic in 2017 at such a young age change your life in the months that followed?
The amount of exposure has changed. With that the workload and travel has increased. I also feel like I am well known wherever I go now.
Did you personally change in any way after winning a Classic?
No. I stay levelheaded throughout the ups and downs. Stay humble, always.
What was the strangest or most unexpected thing to happen to you as a result of your winning the Classic?
I’m amazed by the amount of people who know who I am. I’ve had people from Germany who are big fans waiting for me at the boat ramp one day after I finished fishing.
After winning two Classics back to back, what’s next on your life goals or bucket list?
I want to win the Angler of the Year title. I also want to win an Elite Series tournament and enjoy spending time with my wife-to-be and our dogs.
What advice would you give to young anglers now looking at you and your success who would like to become professional bass anglers and perhaps compete in a Bassmaster Classic in coming years?
Just focus on fishing. The sponsors will come. Stay in school! College programs are a great way to work your way up and help your skill level increase.
Besides fishing, what other things do you like to do?
I enjoy playing golf, traveling and watching professional basketball and college football.