Lee Mattox of the University of Alabama cried tears of joy when he learned he had squeaked into his fifth straight Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship, and his young life to date is one that will fill your heart with hope for all that is good.
Not only is Mattox one of the absolute best young bass anglers in America, but he’s already earned his undergrad degree in Chemical Engineering, and is fast tracked to finish his MBA in a few months. But are you ready for this … he spent the summer squeezed into a one bedroom, one bathroom abode in Panama City, FL with four young men he was assigned to mentor as part of a Christian ministry outreach.
“I met a pastor in Tuscaloosa that mentored me for about six months, and he asked me to spend the summer near the beach serving as a mentor to some other young men,” says Mattox.
So while most beach goers put their toes in the sand, and focused on making sure the cooler was restocked with cold beer, Mattox was cramped into a tiny bunk bed laden space while holding down a summer job at Walmart, and showing four other guys his age the keys to a faith-based better life, all while the five of them shared the same bathroom.
So you probably won’t be surprised how Mattox answered when asked what his key to successfully reaching five straight Carhartt Bassmaster College Series national championships has been.
“I’m not trying to be cheesy, but really, I put God first, and let Him take control of everything I do in life, and that includes bass tournaments. Because to be really honest, most of the time I’m not really sure how I’m going to catch ‘em – so I just fish hard through adversity, and let Him guide me,” he says.
Mattox expects to grind his way through this week using a number of different techniques and patterns on Lake Chickamauga. “It could be everything from topwater frogging and flippin’ shallow, to deep cranking and drop shotting in 25’ of water,” he says.
“I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned in life is how to thrive in really uncomfortable situations,” concludes Mattox in humble fashion.
At age 23, his achievements to date more than prove that theory true, and as he idled away from the dock for his second day of practice in a very simple older model 18’ Stratos with minimal electronics, no Power Poles, and old carbureted outboard engine, there was no doubt who was guiding him.