While many of us focus on the top names in bass fishing when we think of tournament fishing, there is a whole group of anglers that spend countless hours focused on tournament angling despite having lives filled with a lot of other commitments. Jason Lestage is one of those fisherman who loves and thrives on the competitive aspects of fishing. And as you will learn is always in a tournament mindset when out fishing. Jason is from Connecticut and fills us in on his year of tournament fishing as well as his favorite waters to fish.
First of all sir, you know how to bass fish! How did you develop your fishing skill and talent as a bass fisherman?
To me I developed my skills from time on the water and competition. I work a full time job, am married, have a house, and the whole nine yards, but i get out a lot! Every trip out for me I treat like a tournament. The competition is what really helped me find my groove as a bass angler. I feel like competition keeps me going even on tough days when I’m not catching good and forces me out of my comfort zone to try new techniques.
Once I catch fish a new way it instantly gives me confidence on what I’m using and I try to continue to build of that. At the end of the day though, my best days on the water come from throwing my confidence baits and using what I’ve learned from past outings. I’m always trying to better myself and become a more well rounded angler.
Next season, you can fish for largemouth or smallmouth but can’t fish for both. Which bass species are you picking as your target?
Definitely would be largemouth bass. I love to power fish and I feel with largies I am able to be more productive with my style of fishing, and who dosn’t love a fat bucketmouth!
What are your favorite “home” bass waters? What makes each of these waters a choice fishing destination for you?
My home lakes I would say are Tyler Lake and Silver Lake. I spend a lot of time on those 2 lakes. They both just set up perfect for how I like to fish. Both are for the most part shallow vegetation filled lakes with pads, docks, lay downs and rocks….everything a power fisherman loves! For smallmouth I’m a big fan of the Connecticut River and Candlewood which is one of the best smallmouth fisheries in the country.
What is your favorite technique for chasing down big largemouth?
For big largies in CT I have a few proven go to’s. My first and my #1 is a 1/2 Terminator T-1 spinnerbait in sungill just this year alone it got me 2 CT giants, a 6lb 10oz and 6lb 12oz largie. If I’m not throwing a trusty spinnerbait I’m flipping a jig to docks, pads, and wood for giants. Last would be a spro bronze eye pop frog in white or black.
What is your favorite technique for chasing down big smallmouth? And what are the specific keys to being successful with that technique?
For big smallmouth I like to throw topwater baits like a Spook, Zoom Fluke, Whopper Plopper or I’ll be throwing an A-rig or weighted swimbait. Also I throw a spinnerbait a lot for smallies too, especially when they are shallow.
Do you notice any changes to your approach on the water when you step into the boat for a day of recreational fishing versus a tournament day?
I treat a day out fun fishing just like a tournament, I can’t help myself. I’m always trying to pattern fish out, fill a bag and make the right culls. But I always make sure to have fun because at the end of the day that’s why I love fishing. I’m just competitive by nature so I find myself always in a tournament state of mind.
What was your best tournament in the 2016 season?
My best tourney came early in the year, I forget the date but it was in April and pre-spawn here in Connecticut. It was a Wednesday night open, which are tough because you only have 4 hours to get a limit. It was a rainy cold night and the fishing was slow. My partner caught one fish in the first 3 hours.
It was probably 40 minutes from weigh in and we still had one fish. My partner and I were almost out of ideas and time and then we hit a magic stretch. We came down one shore and in 5 minutes managed 2 decent keepers and I caught my personal best largie, 6lbs 12oz on the Terminator Spinnerbait. We came to the scales with 12lbs for 4 fish, lunker and the win. Not our biggest bag at all but it was our first win of the year, and I ended up with lunker of the year with that fish.
You just got a new boat. It looks sweet! Tell us all about your new fishing machine and what you love about it.
I just bought a new/used 2001 Javelin Venom18 with a Johnson 150 on it. To me it’s a huge upgrade because last season I fished out of an aluminum 16ft fishing boat with a 40hp motor. My favorite part of the boat is the speed…haha! We went from doing 30mph to going 60+ now. Needless to say I’m excited about next year’s tournament season!
Well if you are fishing in Connecticut and see Jason go flying past, you can be assured he is in full fishing mode. You can keep up with Jason’s fishing success on Instagram.