2013 Bassmaster Classic Grand Lake O' the Cherokees - Tulsa, OK, Feb 22 - 24, 2013

Bassmaster Classic reveals family fiber of college champ Matt Lee

“I know the bass are eating big gizzard shad, but I can’t get them to bite a swimbait – all my bites are coming on either a jerkbait or a jig. I just have to be myself. Fish the only way I know how.” says Matt.

Once at the ramp, Dad takes off the crunchy frost-covered boat tarp, as Matt adds layers of clothes and prepares to launch. “Dad hauled wood shavings to chicken houses to pay for his college education. He was a worker. Me and Jordan run around burning high-dollar fuel out of bass boats,” says Matt with mature perspective to indicate he’s nearly embarrassed by how hard his dad has worked to give he and Jordan the chance to realize their dreams.

Matt launches and makes his way to a boat dock where television crews wait to climb in his boat and wire him-up for audio to compliment the day they’ll spend filming him, but Matt’s just as concerned about talking to his mom, dad, Jordan, girlfriend Katie, and Nessie the family dog, who’s dressed in Auburn colors and trying not to let the pads of her feet stick to the frozen dock.

Matt’s day on the water is a struggle, and the second day falls short of his angling hopes too, in turn eliminating him from the third and final day of competition, which he spends signing autographs inside the consumer outdoor show.

All is kept in perspective. No big heads. And a forever grateful appreciation for the chance to fish in bass fishing’s biggest event among heroes, with memories of a 12-foot jon boat on Lake Catoma never far away. “Some folks think I’ve spoiled my sons by buying them boats and trucks, but really I’ve tried hard not to spoil them,” says Dr. Lee.

“I know Matt’s my son, but really, truly, I’m not sure you could find a more humble, even-keeled individual to be in this position this week. And we as a family really appreciate everything the fishing industry has done to support he and Jordan. I know this … my boys could be involved in way worse things … but it’s hard for young guys to act foolish when they have to get up at 4:00 a.m. to go fishing, and with a momma like Leigh tugging on their ears.”