Jordan Lee offered a strong headline for his victory Sunday in the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
In his shock of winning, Lee understandably rambled a bit, saying he was at a loss for words. Then he uttered “Unbelievable.” Emcee Dave Mercer ran with it, emphasizing his name when he summed up his finish on stage, hollering, “Un-be-Leeeeee-vable!”
It was certainly accurate. Lee, of Guntersville, Ala., came from nowhere to complete the largest comeback in Classic history, surprising himself in the process. He had been out of the conversation. He and everyone else in the country never considered he could recover from a poor Day 1, or make up his deficit after Day 2.
“I don’t even know what to say. I’m a little bit in shock,” Lee said. “I can’t believe it. I’m at a loss for words. Unbelievable (There it was). I thought there was no way, no way going out today I had a shot at winning this.”
Lee put a ding in the old adage that “you can’t win the Classic on the first day, but you sure can lose it.” He had weighed in only three fish from a rough Lake Conroe on Friday and was 37th with 8-6. There were seven anglers with more than 20 pounds and another 15 with twice his weight.
Talk all week was that Conroe was finicky – its giants were few and far between. An angler might be able to blast 25 to 27 pounds one day then zero the next day, or vice versa. That panned out.
Lee’s second day came together late. At noon, he had yet to catch a fish – he was still at 8-6 while others were near 40 pounds – but he would bring four fish to the scales for 21-0. On stage, Lee even dropped one of them, embarrassing himself immensely. He apologized profusely because he’s always been critical of anyone who allowed that to happen.
“I’ve never done that before, and I always make fun of people who do,” he said, “and I just did it in front of thousands and thousands of people.
“I guess I got it out of the way.”
Maybe it was a good omen, but don't expect Lee to drop a fish again anytime soon, accidentally or purposefully.
Not many writers approached Lee in the media room, where the anglers conducted interviews and grabbed a bite before reuniting with their rigs. Lee left, not knowing who would lead going into Championship Sunday, or how far back he was. No point; he felt he wasn’t in the hunt. He was just glad to make the Top 25 cut.
No angler had ever climbed from as far back as 15th, and no Classic champ had ever faced his 13-14 deficit. A second 20-pound day kept Brent Ehrler in the lead with 43-4. Lee had 29-6.
But Lee was on the juice.
“It was a dream spot,” he said. “I thought in practice that I had found something, but it just didn’t pan out the first day. The last couple days, it did.”