Jordan Lee and Casey Ashley both sit inside the Top 10 of the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race, and the two Quantum pros graciously offered their input on everything from fried catfish to sturgeon, and of course smallmouth bass, on the eve of competition at Lake Mille Lacs.

 

   

 

Last year was a slugfest here at Mille Lacs. How do conditions compare this year?

Jordan Lee: The weather is a lot warmer. Last year we were wearing Carhartt beanies on our heads to stay warm, and the lake does seem to be fishing tougher.

Casey Ashley: It’s so much tougher this year. It’s like these fish got a good education between last year and now. There aren’t any dumb ones left swimming here now.

 

 The Northern U.S. is rich with a wide variety of freshwater fish species. What’s your most noteworthy catch amid all the Elite Series events you’ve fished ‘up north’ this summer?

Jordan Lee: Oh, for sure the 60-pound sturgeon I fought for 71 minutes on Zona Live at Lake St. Clair!

Casey Ashley: I hooked a northern pike so big that I wasn’t about to wrestle him for my jerkbait. I just let him take it with him.

 

 Speaking of lures, name three lures that pros will use most this week on Mille Lacs:

Jordan Lee: Jerkbait, drop shot, and a tube.

Casey Ashley: A crankbait that will run 10 to 12-feet deep, a jerkbait, and a drop shot.

 

 How much weight will you have to average each day to finish in the Top 12 here?

Jordan Lee: 20 pounds

Casey Ashley: 20 pounds

 

 People in this part of the country love to eat walleye, yellow perch and crappie – what is your favorite fish to eat?

Jordan Lee: I like walleye. And I like grouper. But my go-to standard is grilled catfish at the Cracker Barrel.

Casey Ashley: Fried flathead catfish caught near home in South Carolina.

 

  Alan McGuckin