Miami, Florida – Brandon Lester’s masterclass in boating tournament-winning bass was in session this past week on 50-mile-long Pickwick Lake near Counce, Tennessee. The only angler in the 91 boat field to bring over 20 pounds of bass to the scales on each of the four competition days, Lester emerged victorious on Championship Sunday with a commanding total of 86 lbs – 1 oz, which bested his nearest competitor by nearly six pounds. Along the way to his first Bassmaster Elite Series victory, Lester made every cast – and battled every bass – with a BLF Instinct Rod from Mustad in his hand.
A stellar lineup of 14 models – eight multi-purpose baitcasters, three crankbait-specific rods, and three spinning rods – the BLF Instinct series boasts Mustad’s renowned quality with insightful design specifications that Lester has refined throughout the course of his fishing career. “When the opportunity to work with Mustad on a new rod series arose, they did not give me a single guideline; they said ‘Tell us what you need and we’ll go from there,’” Lester said. “I was traveling at the time and had a layover in Houston, so I opened up the Notes on my smartphone and I laid out the groundwork for a line of rods to cover everything needed for bass fishing.”
At Pickwick Lake, Lester relied on a trio of presentations to catch the lion’s share of his bass – covering the gamut from power to finesse – all honed to championship perfection with the precision and craftsmanship of BLF Instinct rods from Mustad.
Lester caught several of his largest bass by grinding oversized crankbaits into shallow, hard-bottom spots using BLF Instinct crankbait rods. “These rods all have parabolic, moderate actions that are perfect for crankbaits and are built using graphite blanks,” remarked Lester. “I want to know what my crankbait is doing all the time, and you only get that sensitivity from graphite. The crankbait models have full-length grips with a combination of cork and a tight EVA foam to give them a really good feel in the hand.” Lester used the 7’ Medium-Heavy and the 7’6” Heavy BLF Instinct crankbait rods for all of his shallow cranking on Pickwick Lake.
Lester’s favored finesse offering was a Neko-rigged worm, featuring a #2 Mustad TitanX Wacky/Neko hook and a ⅛ oz Mustad Tungsten TitanX Nail Weight, presented with a BLF Instinct spinning rod. “I used the BLF Instinct 6’10” Medium rod – my absolute favorite spinning rod – for Neko rigging. It handles everything you’d want a spinning rod to do, including drop shots, Ned rigs, Wacky rigs, Neko rigs, and more. All of our BLF Instinct spinning rods have Fast actions, relatively short handles, are light in the hand, and are extremely sensitive. I’ve caught a lot of big fish with these rods, including a 6-13 on Day 3. They’re just awesome!”
“These are our bread-and-butter models for every bass angler. We have everything from a 6’10” Medium rod for small topwaters, all the way up to a 7’9” Extra-Heavy for punching and big swimbaits.” Lester landed his Sunday magnum on the BLF Instinct 7’4” Medium-Heavy baitcasting rod.
Lester’s Elite Series victory on Pickwick Lake was not his first championship of the year, nor the first trophy earned with help from BLF Instinct rods. In February 2022, Lester won the Bassmaster Southern Opens event held on the Kissimmee Chain in Florida. To claim that hardware in come-from-behind fashion, Lester used a BLF Instinct baitcasting rod to present a 6-inch stick worm rigged on a 4/0 Mustad Grip-Pin Big Bite hook with a Mustad Tungsten TitanX Worm Weight, as well as a BLF Instinct crankbait rod to present a 3/8-ounce bladed jig with a compact swimbait trailer. Thanks to his Bassmaster Southern Opens win, Lester – and his BLF Instinct rods from Mustad – earned a coveted spot in the 2023 Bassmaster Classic and another big check to bolster his bank account.
Mustad traces its origins to the town of Gjøvik, Norway in 1877, and is recognized as the fishing industry’s global leader in the production of premium hooks. Supported by a foundation of design and manufacturing excellence, Mustad is evolving into a comprehensive fishing platform that supplies every link in the tackle chain – including premium rods like BLF Instinct rods, which deliver the strength, sensitivity, balance, and performance that serious anglers demand. With 30 TON – IM8 Japanese Toray premium graphite blanks, ergonomic reel seats, and Fuji Aluminum Oxide guides, Mustad crafts BLF Instinct rods to exceed the expectations of every bass angler. We congratulate Brandon Lester on his first Bassmaster Elite Series championship, and look forward to following his success on the tournament trail – this season and beyond!