While most recent college graduates are out searching for jobs or figuring out what they want to do next with their life, others are out in the world making history. That’s exactly what recent Auburn grad Jordan "Joe" Lee did at the 2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic this past Sunday.
Lee, 22, finished in sixth place out of the 55 competitors, giving him the best-ever finish by a collegiate qualifier in Classic history. Lee gained an invitation to compete in the tournament after winning the Carhartt Bassmaster College Classic qualifier in September 2013.
Since the Classic has often been referred to as the “world championship of bass fishing,” just getting to compete in this tournament is a huge honor.
Lee is no stranger to the sport by any means. He started fishing at a young age and grew to love it.
“I have been fishing since I was 10 years old,” Lee said. “I remember fishing at my Pop’s pond and I caught some big ones. I thought it was the coolest thing.”
A few years later, Lee decided he wanted to start competing in tournaments.
“I started fishing tournaments when I was 13,” Lee said. “I thought it was awesome to catch big fish and compete against other people."
When it came time for college, Lee said he chose Auburn because of the fishing team and that he has always loved the school. His father, Bruce, and older brother, Matt, also went to Auburn.
Matt was on the Auburn University fishing team as well, which made for some great memories.
“It was an awesome experience for Matt and I,” Lee said. “We made lifelong friends fishing at Auburn and had a great time together.”
All of Lee’s hard work has certainly paid off, literally. He earned $22,000 for coming in sixth at the Classic. However, making it to the level Lee has means putting in a lot of time and effort.
“It takes a lot of sacrifice and hard work to make it to the highest level in fishing,” Lee said. “I have committed my whole life to try and make it. If you want to be the best at something, you have to put more time in than anyone.”
Competing in the Classic was exciting in itself, but one thing that made it even more special for Lee was the fact it was held at Lake Guntersville in Alabama. Being born and raised in Vinemont, Ala., Lee has made many memories fishing at Lake Guntersville with family and friends.
“It was a dream come true for me and is what I’ve literally dreamed of since I was a little kid,” Lee said. “It is a lake I started fishing tournaments on when I was in high school and to make it there was special for me.”
“Having all of your friends and family out there watching you and to do well for them was special,” Lee said.
Lee has definitely inspired other young anglers and gave some advice for future, competitive fishers.
“Just have fun with it," Lee said. "If you want to be the best, just go more than anyone. Start out in smaller tournaments and work your way up."
When he isn’t busy fishing, Lee said he usually getting ready for the next tournament although he does enjoy attending other sporting events at Auburn.
“I do love going to Auburn football games,” Lee said. “I can’t wait till next season. “
Now that Lee has graduated with a degree in marketing, he is busy making plans for his future in fishing. He is hoping to make it to the Bassmaster Elite Series next year.
“I am fishing nine Bassmaster Opens to try and qualify,” Lee said. “Fishing is all I have ever wanted to do.”
To find out more information about Jordan and to keep up with his fishing journey, check out his Facebook page.