I recently began following Jesse Jodon on Instagram. He is having an outstanding run in tournament fishing. We talk with Jesse, a Pennsylvania fisherman, about his tournament fishing success. As you will see, Jesse knows how to flat out catch bass!
You are having some nice success tournament fishing. How was the 2017 season for you overall?
From a financial stance, 2017 was by far my best season I ever had. I had 3 stellar tournament finishes resulting in 3 nice paydays. First of which was a second place finish at a PABASS Nation event on Raystown Lake. Second, was a tenth place finish at the Ray Scott National Championship held on Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Lastly was my win at the PABASS Nation Last Chance tournament on Cayuga Lake, New York. This tournament also qualified me for the 2018 Bass Nation Eastern Regional at Winyah Bay, SC.
With great tournaments, I also had some down moments and train wreck tournaments which in my opinion made my year very inconsistent. As a competitor I am always striving to become better so these “bad” tournaments over shadow the better ones. This leaves me hungry in 2018 to be better and more consistent.
When did you get into tournament fishing?
I got into tournament bass fishing shorty after I started to bass fish. In 2008 I was introduced to tournament bass fishing by my uncle when we fished a team tournament on Glendale Lake, Pennsylania. The following year I joined a local bass club in Patton, Pennsylvania where I began to develop my basic bass fishing skills and learn several different techniques. I was very fortunate to learn how to fish in this club because of the level of competition I was facing. I didn’t know until much later how good these guys were at bass fishing.
The best thing about tournament fishing is that no matter what level you fish at, you are able to rank yourself against your competition and work hard to get better. I am a very competitive person by nature and I love to bass fish so tournament fishing is suited for me.
2018 has already started out pretty good as well. What event did you fish on Smith Mountain Lake?
In 2018 I am fishing the BFL piedmont division as a Co-angler to be able to see new water and learn even more. I finished 12th at the 2nd tournament of the season on Smith mountain Lake. My boater won the tournament and it was quite difficult fishing behind him.
He was dialed into the fish and was super efficient, catching just about every fish that crossed his path. I was able to use a Phenix Proline Casting Jig in Brown color and make super accurate casts putting my bait into spots he would miss. Every once and a while I’d get lucky enough to get a bite and was able to put every bite in the boat.
A second in any tournament is a great finish which you did on Lake Norman in North Carolina. But you had a mistake that kept you from a first. Do you mind telling us what that mistake was?
In February, I fished a Ram Open Series tournament on Lake Norman, North Carolina. I finished 2nd at this tournament barely missing the win by a half pound due to a very costly mistake on my part. I had the winning fish on, hooked and at the boat but instead of being patient and netting the fish I rushed it and tried to swing the fish in on the very back hook of a crankbait. As a result, I lost the fish. Lesson being never panic while fishing, always better to relax and be patient and good things will happen.
What were the keys to the successful 2nd place finish?
During this tournament a lot of my competition was fishing riprap banks and other features along the bank with shallow diving crankbaits and squarebills that dive 1 to 4 feet deep. It was working and they caught a lot of fish. I tried to fish for “fresh, unpressured” bass that no one else was targeting. I fished the same water as everyone but I threw deeper crankbaits that ran 6 to 12 feet deep. I got a lot less bites but when I got a bite it was typically and above average fish. I used a MegaBass SM-X when I was in 5 to 8 feet of water and when I was deeper than 8 feet I used the Spro Mike McClelland RK Crawler both in a craw pattern.
What future tournaments are you most looking forward to?
I look forward to all my tournaments I plan to fish in 2018 but one that stands out the most to me is the Bass Nation Eastern Regional at Winyah Bay. This will be my first time fishing on my state team at the regional. In addition I have never fished anything close to what I will be fishing at Winyah Bay. I am definitely looking forward to flipping Cyprus trees and keeping my bait away from gators.
What do you consider your strongest talents as a tournament angler?
I try to be as versatile of an angler as I possibly can. I have confidence that every bait on the shelf at a tackle shop has the potential to catch bass they just have their time in place. If they didn’t then no one would buy them and the company would be out of business. I have no problem trying something new that I have never caught a fish on in a tournament when the money is on the line if I believe it be what the fish wants. My favorite way to fish though is shallow flipping and pitching. It always seems to be the most consistent way for me to get a bite no matter where i fish or what time of the year it is.
I prefer tough tournaments when it doesn’t take much weight to excel. Seems like those are the ones I can do well at and find a way to catch a few fish and get paid. The tournaments when everyone in the tournament are catching em are the ones that in my opinion are hard to win.
Where do you see yourself in fishing in 5 years?
I dont know where I see myself in 5 years honestly as a tournament angler. I love the sport so much I’m sure I’ll still be at it but I don’t know at what level. My goals are to become more dominate at the local level and a treat to win any tournament that I fish.
Where are you fishing when not tournament fishing?
My home lake which is where you can find me 90 percent of time when I’m not away tournament fishing is Raystown Lake in central Pennsylvania. Though it can be a very tough lake, it is home to giant bass, both small mouth and largemouth. It is in my honest opinion one of the few lakes in the country where you have the chance to catch a 5 pound smallmouth and 5 pound largemouth in the same day. The lake is also super diverse and is a great training ground for an aspiring bass angler. Another lake I enjoy going to is Lake Erie for some big smallmouth which is about a 3 hour drive for me.
Who are your current pro staff companies?
I am on the Pro Staff for Phenix Baits. I use so many of there jigs throughout the year it helps getting them a slight discount price.
Thank you Jesse. Follow Jesse’s tournament fishing success on Instagram @jodonfishing.