Brandon Lester is an All-American guy. He’ll drink a beer with a buddy, loves to pick his guitar, and when he’s not competing in a Bassmaster Elite Series event, he’s fishing with his best friends around home in Southcentral Tennessee.
But make no mistake, the cornerstones of his life are faith and family. And he’s pretty sure God gave special attention to the creation of Lake Champlain when He was carving out bass fisheries.
Lester dropped another 20-pound limit of Champlain bass on the scales Thursday to sit solidly inside the Top 10 and told onlookers from the weigh-in stage, “When God was making bass fishing lakes, He made this one first.”
And he meant it.
“I used to get asked what my favorite bass lake was, and I’d say I didn’t have one, that my job was to like all of them in order to make a living. But after my first trip to Champlain, when Aaron Martens won here in 2017, I knew this was my clear favorite,” says Lester.
The easy-going Tennessee pro’s opinion certainly remained unchanged after Thursday’s weigh-in when he showed off a mixed bag of healthy smallmouth complimented by a fat largemouth as his anchor fish.
Champlain’s bass read Bassmaster Magazine
“Every time I’ve come here it seems like you can catch bass however you like to most. I’ve literally caught them from 2-feet deep to 45-feet deep. And unlike most of the places we go, they actually pattern here the way Bassmaster Magazine says bass are supposed to behave,” he laughs. “When you see a spot here that looks like it should have a bass living on it, it usually does.”
Play the wind
Champlain has a rough reputation for dangerous waves when the wind blows. But Lester says if you’ll use common sense, play close attention to the forecast, and choose a launch ramp accordingly, there’s so many bass here you should never have to run far from a wind-protected area to have a safe and memorable day.
Lester’s 5 All Time favorite lures for Lake Champlain
In no particular order: Drop shot, Ned rig, Topwater walking lure, ½-ounce jig to pitch to submerged vegetation, and a 3.5” soft swimbait.
As for Lester’s second favorite lake
“I live three hours from legendary Dale Hollow, and it definitely has huge smallmouth in it, but man, my second favorite bass fishery in America would have to be the St. Lawrence River. I absolutely love to catch smallmouth, and the St. Lawrence is unmatched for overall size and quantity,” concludes Lester with a grin, knowing the Elite Series is headed there next week.