Inside Elite Boats Inside Elite Boats: Brandon Lester Posted on August 3, 2022 Photography by Kyle Jessie Staff Ahead of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River, Brandon Lester showed us around his 2022 Phoenix 920 Elite bass boat powered by a 250 horsepower Mercury Pro XS. The bow of the Tennessee pro's boat is home to a Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor. Attached to Lester's Ultrex is a Lowrance ActiveTarget Transducer, which provides him a forward view of what is in front of the boat. Two Lowrance HDS 12 Live units are mounted vertically on Precision Sonar Mounts. "I run one unit that is strictly devoted to ActiveTarget, and the other is for mapping and 2D sonar," he said. An overhead view of the deck layout of Lester's Phoenix 920 Elite. The rod box is loaded down with Lester's new signature series rods - Mustad BLF Instinct Elite Rods. Typically Lester carries 15 to 20 rods in the boat with him, but he mentioned that when he fishes up north he's able to trim that number down a good bit. A lot of time, effort and development went into designing his new Mustad Instinct Series of rods. Lester built his own rods for a long time, so it was a very detail oriented process to get the lengths and actions the way he wanted them. "When this whole process began, I was super excited about it because I feel like I have a better understanding than most when it comes to what needs to be done," he said. "I came up with 14 different models — three cranking, three spinning and eight casting models that cover the entire range for what we need for bass fishing." A closer look at the lid of Lester's center compartment that is full of photos of his loved ones. Before the start of each season, Lester lets his wife decorate the lid with family photos. The center compartment is loaded down with 3700 style boxes that are full of hard baits and terminal tackle. He also stores a variety of soft plastics in this compartment. When asked to show off one of his most versatile baits in the boat, Lester pulls out a pack of 5-inch Yamamoto Senkos in green pumpkin. One of his favorite ways to rig the Senko is Neko rigged on a Mustad TitanX Wacky/Neko Rig hook. When he's fishing around heavier cover, Lester opts to rig the bait on a 3/0 Mustad Grip Pin Big Bite Hook. "I'm not really a EWG kind of guy when it comes to worm hooks; I like the round bend hook," he said. The starboard rod locker is home to more soft plastics as well as his rainsuit. Lester's day box is where he stores baits that he knows he will be using a lot during that event. "Taku's not the only one with a secret sauce," he said with laugh. Lester's cooler is loaded down with water, snacks and a sandwich during tournament days. "I'm not a guy that can go all day without eating something — I've got to have a sandwich or something," he said. The two smaller boxes are home dyes, scents, super glue and other miscellaneous items Lester climbs into the captain's seat. The console is home to another pair of Lowrance HDS 12 Live units. The console between the seats is where Lester stores other miscellaneous items such as a scale, culling tools, lure retrievers and an extra hat. A look at the deep 920 Elite livewells. Lester stores heavier items in the back port side compartment of his boat to help with the weight distribution. The back starboard compartment is where he stores his lifejackets. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get Lester to wear his stylish orange life jacket for a photo. Lester also stores his T-H Marine G-Juice livewell treatment in this compartment. Lester relies on Impulse Lithium Batteries to keep him out on the water all day long. "I told Bill Weidler (owner of Impulse Lithium) at the beginning of the year that I wanted a system that I wouldn't have to worry about," he said. "He's been completely right too, this is one of the best improvements I've made in my boat over the last nine years." "Power-Poles are one of those things that I couldn't imagine myself fishing without now," said Lester in regards to his Power-Pole Blades. "I love to fish anywhere, but fishing shallow is what I really love to do." "I've ran a Mercury 250 Pro XS every single day of my Elite Series career, and this new 4-stroke is bad to the bone," he said. A T-H Marine Atlas Hydraulic Jack Plate allows Lester to raise and lower his Mercury outboard in a hurry. The boat and truck wraps share a eye-catching water pattern. Thanks for the tour, Brandon!