HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (June 29, 2023) – Championship Thursday on Lake St. Clair started off with a bang, with Berkley pro Jordan Lee of Cullman, Alabama , taking advantage of the early morning bite to put together a five-bass limit weighing 23 pounds, 4 ounces to earn his third Bass Pro Tour win and the top award of $100,000 at the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles . Lee’s two-day Knockout and Championship Round total of 10 bass weighing 47-13 earned him the win by a 1-pound, 3-ounce margin over second-place finisher Alton Jones Jr. of Waco, Texas, who weighed in 23 pounds, 8 ounces Thursday to finish the event with a two-day total of 46-10, his second runner-up finish this season.
Lee also went wire-to-wire on Berkley Big Bass Awards, claiming the award each day he competed throughout the event and winning $1,000 both days of the Qualifying Round, $1,000 during both the Knockout and Championship Rounds and the $3,000 Berkley Big Bass award for the overall largest bass of the event, with his 6-pound, 7-ounce smallmouth that was weighed Wednesday during the Knockout Round.
The Alabama pro whipped up his 23-4 limit on Championship Thursday within the first two hours of competition yet was able to maintain the top position throughout the day despite never upgrading his fish in the second or third period.
“Before I came up here, I knew I wanted to fish on the Canadian side of Lake St. Clair, primarily around the Bell River Hump area,” said Lee. “Tournaments have been won over there, historically, so I felt like it was worth the risk to commit to that for the week, despite not being able to practice over there.
“I bounced around a bit during the first part of the event, but not so much the last two days,” Lee continued. “In practice I was looking for grass clumps and grass lines, but once I started actually fishing, that didn’t seem to be the deal.
“My main area just had a smooth bottom, and the fish were just hanging out there. There wasn’t anything on the map that pointed out fish might be there, but I spent some time scoping around with my Lowrance ActiveTarget and started seeing some fish that clued me in. It just happened to be the winning area.
“I found a couple places that didn’t pay off and others where I didn’t catch anything, but my first fish of the tournament was almost 6 pounds, and that just started me off on the right path,” Lee continued. “I pulled up to my main spot this morning, and the fish weren’t in the area where I had been catching them. They’re notorious for moving out here, so I was a bit worried, but they’d only moved about 200 yards away. Once I found them it was game on. I caught a couple over five pounds early on and those two fish were really the difference makers.”
Lee’s limit of 23-4 included a pair of 5-pounders weighing 5-4 and 5-10.
“Those big bites were definitely key throughout this entire week,” said Lee. “I was getting a couple of them per day, and they were all in different places, so it was just meant to be.”
Lee caught most of his fish throwing a 5-inch Berkley PowerBai
t MaxScent Flatnose Jerk Shad on a drop-shot rig.
“I did well here during a tournament in 2017, throwing a big, fluke-style bait, so I always think about that when I come here,” said Lee. “That 5-inch Berkley Jerk Shad is a little bit bigger than a flatworm or other typical smallmouth baits; but smallmouth on Lake St. Clair eat big stuff, and I saw the giant perch they were spitting up all week, so I knew I wouldn’t scare them off with a bigger bait.”
This victory marks Lee’s first Bass Pro Tour win since 2020, when he went on a season flurry to win Stage One, the Heavy Hitters all-star event and the 2020 Bass Pro Tour Angler of the Year (AOY) title.
“St. Clair is an awesome fishery, and I was looking forward to fishing it, but I never would have dreamed I’d win this event coming into it,” finished an emotional Lee. “You always hope for the win, every tournament, but I sure wasn’t expecting it. God has really blessed me and my family and this has just been a really special week.”
The top 10 pros from the General Tire Stage Six on Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles finished:
1st: Jordan Lee, Cullman, Ala., 10 bass, 47-13, $100,000
2nd: Alton Jones Jr., Waco, Texas, 10 bass, 46-10, $45,000
3rd: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., 10 bass, 43-12, $38,000
4th: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 10 bass, 43-4, $32,000
5th: Terry Scroggins, San Mateo, Fla., 10 bass, 42-14, $30,000
6th: Mark Daniels Jr., Tuskegee, Ala., 10 bass, 42-8, $26,000
7th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., 10 bass, 42-2, $23,000
8th: Gary Klein, Mingus, Texas, 10 bass, 41-1, $21,000
9th: John Hunter, Shelbyville, Ky., 10 bass, 39-9, $19,000
10th: Josh Bertrand, Queen Creek, Ariz., 10 bass, 37-11, $16,000
A complete list of results can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.
The General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles features anglers competing using the MLF catch, weigh, immediate-release format, with each angler’s five (5) heaviest bass per day tallied as their day’s weight. Anglers strive to catch their heaviest five fish each day, while also feeling the pressure and intensity of the live scoring SCORETRACKER® leaderboard. Minimum weights are determined individually for each competition waters that the Bass Pro Tour visits, based on the productivity, bass population and anticipated average size of fish in each fishery.
The six-day event, hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, Macomb County and Lake St. Clair Metroparks, showcases 80 of the top professional anglers in the world, competing for a purse of more than $805,000, including a top payout of $100,000 and valuable Angler of the Year (AOY) points in hopes of qualifying for the General Tire Heavy Hitters All-Star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship.
Television coverage of the General Tire Stage Six at Lake St. Clair Presented by John Deere Utility Vehicles Championship Round will air as a two-hour episode starting at 7 a.m. ET, on Saturday, November 4 on the Discovery Channel. New MLF episodes premiere each Saturday morning on Discovery, with re-airings on the Outdoor Channel.
The 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour features a field of 80 of the top professional anglers in the world competing across seven regular-season tournaments around the country, fishing for millions of dollars and valuable points to qualify for the annual General Tire Heavy Hitters all-star event and REDCREST 2024, the Bass Pro Tour championship, held March 13-17, 2024, on Lay Lake in Birmingham, Alabama.
Proud sponsors of the 2023 MLF Bass Pro Tour include: 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, Ark Fishing, ATG by Wrangler, B&W Trailer Hitches, Bally Bet, Bass Cat Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, Daiwa, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Ferguson, Fox Rent A Car, General Tire, Grundéns, Humminbird, Lowrance, Minn Kota, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Power-Pole, Rapala, Star tron, T-H Marine, TORO, Toyota, U.S. Air Force, Yellowstone Bourbon, Yo-Zuri and Zoom Baits.