Lee dominates Day 3

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Seigo Saito
Jordan Lee of Guntersville, Ala., takes the lead on the third day of the 2017 Advance Auto Parts Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair, bringing 25 pounds, 9 ounces to the scales on Saturday for a three-day total weight of 69-13.

MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. — The only certainty after three days of the Advance Auto Parts Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair is that no lead is safe.

Jordan Lee, the reigning champion of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK'S Sporting Goods, caught five bass that weighed 25 pounds, 9 ounces, Saturday to push his three-day total to 69-13. That moved him from fifth to first place and made him the third leader in as many days.

"I'm not really figuring anything out," said Lee, who qualified for his third Top 12 cut on the Bassmaster Elite Series this season. "I've really fished the same water every day. I don't know when I'm getting my next bite.

"I don't really understand it. You just have to keep fishing and be ready for them."

Lee said there have been times when he's gone more than three hours without a bite. But the good news is, when a bite comes, it's usually a bass that will help his cause.

On Friday, he caught two 5-pounders off one spot. Then Saturday, on the same spot, he caught a 6-13 that gave him the lead in the race for Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the week and another bass that topped the 6-pound mark.

With so much downtime between strikes, the key, he said, is being focused enough to execute when they finally do bite.

"You've really got to fish and just be calm and say, 'I don't know how many bites I'm going to get, but it may not be many,'" he said. "You just have to know that going in and keep fishing.

"I missed one fish today. But besides that one, I've caught them all this week."

Though the fishing has been slow in his area, Lee said he has no plans to change for Championship Sunday.

"Literally, if I only have one bite there tomorrow, I will have no shame," he said. "I've caught two huge bags there. You have to fish there all day and wait on one to bite."

Oklahoma angler Jason Christie, who has been hanging around the Top 10 all week, caught 23-11 — his biggest bag of the event — to jump from sixth into second with 66-8.

"I'm sight fishing in 20 feet of water, using Garmin Panoptix," Christie said. "I caught a 5-10 today, and that's the biggest fish I've seen all week. Most of the fish I've been seeing have been in the 4- to 4 1/2-pound range."

Christie said boat traffic was heavy Saturday, and that makes him wonder if his fish will still be there when he returns to his best area Sunday.

"It worries me because I've just got one area," he said. "You can be around them one day and then they're just not there the next.

"I don't know what the weather is supposed to be like (Sunday). But I hope we get just a little bit of wind to push the boat, so I don't have to be on the trolling motor."

Day 2 leader Brock Mosley of Collinsville, Miss., caught 20-8 Saturday and dropped two places into third with 66-5. But another big jump was made by Mark Daniels Jr.

Daniels, an Elite Series rookie from Tuskegee, Ala., caught 24-1 and made his first career Top 12 cut in fourth place with 66-1.

"Today, I didn't have a lot of bites," Daniels said. "I was fortunate to catch the ones I caught, and obviously they were the right ones — and that's the biggest thing."

Idaho angler Brandon Palaniuk caught 17-4 and finished 29th with 57-7, but he maintained his lead in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year race with 811 points. Christie, with his solid performance on Day 3, maintained possession of second place with 795.

The Top 12 remaining anglers will leave Lake St. Clair Metropark at 6:30 a.m. ET Sunday, with a $100,000 first-place prize on the line. The final weigh-in will be held back at the park at 3:15 p.m.

When the tournament is done, the Top 50 anglers in the AOY standings will advance to the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship on Minnesota's Mille Lacs Lake next month.

The event is hosted by the Detroit Sports Commission, Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Macomb County.