Brandon Lester – Rookie Elite Series Season Wrap Up

Bucks Falcon Mercury

Brandon Lester on Stage - photo courtesy Pro Fishing Management

Brandon Lester on Stage – photo courtesy Pro Fishing Management

My rookie season as a Bassmaster Elite Series angler is in the books and I have to say I’m very happy with the way this season went. Am I satisfied? No I’m not. I am a competitor and know deep down that I could have had an even better year if not for a couple of tough breaks – but nonetheless I feel very blessed to have ended up 27th in the AOY standings and to have qualified for my very first Bassmaster Classic.

One of the questions I get asked the most recently is –What was the one thing that surprised you the most about the Elite Series?

I say without any doubt it is the level of competition. I knew going in that these guys were the best in the business but nothing could compare me for what I was up against at this level. If you have a bad day here they will crush you, and I promise you whenever you stumble somebody will be there waiting to fill the gap. In the Elite Series the Top 50 at each event are guaranteed a pay check. From the outside looking in that sounds fairly easy enough, but believe me it’s a fight. Many times the daily weights go up on the second day of competition which is absolutely unheard of anywhere else besides the Elite Series.

Another surprise and a pleasant one is how nice and welcoming the Elite Series guys are. Even though we are all true competitors on the water, we are all for the most part a tight knit group off the water. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit nervous of how I would “fit in” with these guys before the season started. Thankfully it didn’t take to realize that we’re all no different off the water than a hometown bass club that fishes once a month on their local lake. We all hang out and have a good time during our downtime and are always there to lend a helping hand to one another if the need arises.

Looking back I’d say my rookie year was certainly a big success. A lot of lifelong dreams came true for me this year and I’d be wrong if I didn’t mention the ones who made that possible. Friends and family of course but the support of sponsors was another pleasant surprise.

My history of sponsorship is not lengthy so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I feel blessed to have gotten to know the folks at Mud Hole Custom Tackle ( They taught me a ton this year not only about the business of custom rod building and tackle crafting but also were my biggest supporters. It was awesome to hear that the folks back at the shop were watching the weigh-ins online and going crazy when I did well. Just as importantly when I went through tough times they were just as supportive.

One final surprise this year was the receptivity of people who read my articles and watched my videos. I’ve always enjoyed writing and sharing tips and techniques I pick up out fishing and from my competitors. Being able to share that with other fishermen is an honor and a privilege.   The easiest way to pick up those tips and techniques would be to find me on Facebook. It is and my website is