Brandon Lester – Learning on the Elites


The April Elite Series event on Table Rock Lake was a tournament that I was really looking forward to. It is a deep and clear highland reservoir much like Tims Ford and Lake Normandy that I grew up fishing back home in Tennessee. I did my research going into the tournament and confirmed that I had found a great area not long into my first day of practice. I was running up the White River and into the Kings River, which is where I found the dirtiest and warmest water on the whole lake. Those are key in likes like Table Rock in the Spring.

The first morning of practice, as soon as I found the area I started catching fish almost at will on a couple different kinds of crankbaits. The day was windy and overcast. I was feeling excited about what I had found and began to expand my water and mark as many good places as possible. Later that afternoon, the wind stopped blowing and the sun got high and the fish all but stopped biting the crankbait. So I set out to find another way to catch them. I quickly tied on a 1/2 oz. swinging jig head with a green pumpkin Berkley Havoc Pit Boss and the first pocket I pulled into I had 10 to 12 bites on it. They weren’t all keepers but I could get as many bites as I wanted to as long as I fished the right stuff.

I was targeting main lake pockets with gravel banks in them. The swing jig head was just a little more subtle presentation that the fish had not seen much. When the tournament started we had wind and clouds so I got sucked into the crankbait trap and completely wrote off the swinging jig head pattern.

Come to find out mark Davis came within ounces of winning the tournament on that very bait. What was the lesson I learned here? Any time you find something that is a little different against this group of guys stick with it because it doesn’t happen very often. 90% of the field was throwing crankbaits or jerkbaits and when that is happening you are really susceptible to a mediocre finish if you don’t get a quality bite or two each day.

I want to point out something a little different about me through my relationship with my title sponsor Mud Hole Custom Tackle. They have taught me how to make my own fishing rods. I’ve made all the rods I am fishing with on the Elites this season. I went from having a collection of every brand you could imagine to having a set of rods that are all my own and built with their MHX blanks.

The rod I use for a lot of techniques including the swinging jig is the MHX MB-843 blank. It is a great all around blank and perfect for a swinging jig. Check out and for more information about custom rod building. If you have any questions please reach out to me at or on my Facebook page at

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