AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University Bass Sports Club member Matt Lee will head west in February and fish with some of the nation’s best anglers at the 2013 Bassmaster Classic. Lee earned his way into the Classic by defeating his brother Jordan in the final of the 2012 Carhartt College Series individual tournament in Little Rock, Ark.
“You have to work hard and have things go your way. It all has to come together,” Lee said.
With individual victories over the University of Alabama, Matt and Jordan set up an all-Auburn, all-brother final with a berth in the 2013 Classic on the line. With 10 straight days of fishing, it all came down to the final Sunday in July.
Lee brought in two bass weighing a total of 5 pounds, 6 ounces, which was enough to overtake his brother’s total of 2 pounds, 4 ounces.
“This was his (Jordan’s) dream since he was 14 years old,” Matt Lee said. “I look up to him. He knows so much about the sport.”
Matt and Jordan advanced to the final of the individual tournament by defeating a pair of anglers from Alabama. Though they were fishing individually, the brothers reeled in a combined 16 pounds, 13 ounces compared to the Crimson Tide’s 1 pound, 11 ounces.
By placing second in the team competition earlier in the week, the brothers qualified for the individual tournament where they each defeated anglers from Murray State in the first round, before defeating Alabama in the semifinals.
Referred to as the “Super Bowl” of bass fishing, the 43rd Classic will be held in Tulsa, Okla., Feb. 22-24 at Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees and has a first-place prize of $500,000 with a total purse of $1.2 million.
“It’s slowly sinking in,” Lee said. “The Bassmaster Classic is something that grown men with families have gone bankrupt trying to get to.”
The expected temperatures in February will be around 40 degrees on the Grand Lake, and Lee feels that plays to his advantage.
“I will stay focused on fishing until February. The more time on the water, the better,” he said. “I am going in it to win. Everybody is fishing with the same rod, the same bait and I am going to try and catch the biggest fish I can. No one remembers fifth place.”