A Labrador pup sniffed along in the wet grass adjoining the boat dock during the Day Two fog delay at the Bassmaster Elite Series event on the Sabine River in Orange, Texas this morning.
Little did he know his ears were being studied from several feet away by a Carhartt clad veterinarian from Alabama.
There in the pea soup air stood Dr. Bruce Lee, a hard-working sweet natured fixer of everything from lab pups to parakeets back in Cullman, Alabama, sipping coffee with his bride Leigh, proudly studying -- even closer than dog ears -- two particular young anglers tied to the dock waiting for the fog to lift.
Yes, Dr. Lee, or the man Bassmaster Elite Series rookies Matt and Jordan Lee simply call Dad, or “‘Ol Doc Lee”, when they feel like ribbin’ him a bit, was giving careful thought and evaluation to where his two boys landed in the standings after their very first day as pro anglers yesterday.
Matt caught a 9 pound 9 ounce limit and sits in 30th place. But for Jordan, who obviously has a natural gift at age 23 for finding and catching bass, sits in a very unfamiliar spot near dead last with one keeper that weighed just a tad heavier than a rawhide bone.
“They’re sitting exactly the way I might have hoped,” said their Dad. At first the statement seems harsh, considering Jordan’s brutal day.
But Doc Lee sees life’s big picture with 20/20 vision through his school boy glasses, and fast added, “Jordan is a fighter, not only is this humbling, but I know it won’t bother him. He’ll shake this off and come out fighting. But Matt has to work hard, it doesn’t come as easy for him as it does Jordan, and so to be in 30th is exactly the huge boost of confidence he needs to convince himself he belongs here.”
Momma Lee says that even though Matt is older, a former Carhartt College Series Bassmaster Classic qualifier, and did well enough in the Bassmaster Opens to qualify for the Elites, that he’s actually fished in Jordan’s shadows for the past few years. “Jordan was already heavily involved in big tournaments and doing well around home while Matt was still playing high school baseball. So Jordan has simply fished in several more tournaments than Matt,” she explains.
“On more than one occasion, I’ve heard somebody ask Jordan how he’s been doing in fishing tournaments with Matt standing right there, as if nobody even knew he was fishing. Plus, Matt has always had to work hard to do well,” added Mom Lee. “So yes, I’m thrilled to see him so high in the standings. Yesterday provided big time validation for him.”
“Matt fishes analytically, and Jordan fishes more instinctively, they’re different, but I’ve never seen them as close to one another as I do right now,” she concludes.
One more cup of coffee and awhile later, finally the fog began to lift on Day Two of the Lee Brothers pro career. Two young pups in a field of seasoned retrievers. Nose to the ground, and sure to find their way - thanks largely to Doc and Leigh Lee’s loving wisdom.
“And I see a kid coming into his own. And a man learning to move on. Somehow trying to find his way, a dreamer betting on blind faith. Chasing that sun and following his heart.” – Kenny Chesney