SPRING CITY, Tn. – Jordan Lee was all smiles while mingling with fans at the Major League Fishing “Meet the Pros” after his first tournament day on Watts Bar Lake in east Tennessee. Lee used his namesake Abu Garcia rod and reel combos to boat seven scoreable bass totaling 14-pounds 2-ounces during his opening round of competition for Stage Five of the Bass Pro Tour.

With this effort he’s holding down with 16th spot in Group A, in good position to make yet another Knockout Round and continue his stellar 2022 season. In typical laid-back fashion, Lee didn’t seem too worked up about remaining above the Toro Cutline as he shared smiles, laughs and hotdogs with fans from the surrounding area.

“Man, my day really went about how I figured it might,” Lee shrugged. “I didn’t have a very good practice at all, so I knew it was probably going to be a one here, one there sort of deal for me. I did a lot of looking at my Lowrance units throughout practice and was hoping to have a one-two punch between brush piles and more traditional TVA style ledge fishing… but only one of those patterns did any punching for me today.”

Lee did most all his damage targeting offshore brush piles with a drop shot, something he plans to do more of on Monday. The Yamaha Outboards pro started his morning relatively fast and slowly slid down the Scoretracker throughout the afternoon after hovering near the top for most of the morning.

“My lesson of the day is, spend more time fishing brush,” Lee said. “I spent quite a bit of time sampling other patterns and nothing else really fired for me. But ruling some things out isn’t a bad thing and it frees my mind up a little for tomorrow (Monday). My biggest deal is just getting a good start to the day. I’m a big-time momentum fisherman, so getting a fish on the board relatively early always settles me down a little bit.”

Fortunately for Lee, momentum is not something he’s lacked at any point of the Bass Pro Tour season this year. Lee came into Stage Five in second place of the 2022 Bally Bet Angler of the Year race, trailing Jacob Wheeler by only 17 points. Wheeler has yet to miss a Championship Round this season, so the fact Lee remains this close is a testament to the incredible year he is having, too.

Three Championship Round appearances, plus an 8th place finish at REDCREST and an 11th at Heavy Hitters (which don’t factor into AOY points) is an impressive resume. If you’ve been paying attention to professional fishing the past five years, this Wheeler vs. Lee dynamic comes as no real surprise.

J. Lee took the Angler of the Year title home to Alabama in 2020, while J. Wheels went on an unbelievable tear to capture the AOY trophy last year. They are both extremely young in their careers, are undoubtedly two of the best bass anglers on planet earth right now, and are set to battle it out for the Bally Bet AOY trophy once again it seems.

“It’s hard to even think about AOY with how good Wheeler is fishing right now,” Lee smiled. “All I can do is try to catch them every single day and I still might not run him down. So, I don’t have a lesson for you there… my lesson #2 of the day is, show up to Meet the Pros Day earlier. They had free hot dogs and Dora the Explorer rod and reel combos for the first few hundred people. Sounds like I missed a big bag!” 

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