Kelly Jordon! Not sure exactly how long it’s been since he won a tournament since the MLF site doesn’t make finding that out easy, but on the B.A.S.S. side it’s been like 16 years – which shows that never, ever count anyone out who knows how to catch ’em. Here’s how he won this’n:
Practice and the tournament
> “I found out at the last minute at Murray [the Bass Pro Tour event] that I got in off the waiting list. I got a call on my off day at Murray, the day after I caught 2 bass for 4 lbs which was the most unbelievable day of my fishing career but thats whole ‘norther story. They said, ‘We have a spot, do you want it?’ I was like, ‘Heck yeah, I’m mad now!’
> “I haven’t fished there in probably in 23 or 24 or 25 years – I fished an EverStart there in I think the late ’90s?, and a [B.A.S.S.] Invitational a year or 2 later…did good in both…I just like the lake. It’s just a good fishing lake. It’s straightforward – you can put your head down and run a pattern, and it’s got some really nice fish.
> “I thought it’s springtime so they’d on the bank and shallow, and there would be water in the bushes…it was not. So when you don’t have bushes in the water, you look for any other cover you can find because they’re gonna spawn. …staging areas and spawning areas.
> “The cover is basically rock, and there’s a lot of standing timber in the lake…then a whole bunch of sandy clay…. There’s a million pockets and points, big creeks with clearer water….
> “I spent 2 hours the 2nd day of practice and found bed fish. I found about 20 but the biggest I saw was about 3.5. I figured the bigger ones were coming, but I had some bigger bites just fishing and was much more fun than looking for bed fish [where you] had to take a number at the mouth of the cove.
> “I found some muddy-water fish back in some creeks, I found some clear-water fish, I found some main-lake fish and then found a couple really special spots…. I was basically down to 3 presentations: a spinnerbait, a vibrating jig and a squarebill, the Lucky Craft BDS2. It depended on where you were…mostly main lake and off-colored water.”
> “Of the 15 bass I weighed in, I think 2 were on the Lucky Craft squarebill (chartreuse/green stripe/brown back) although I did get quite a few keepers on it. One was on a YUM Mighty Worm, that giant 10.5-inch trick worm, on a 5/8-oz Epic Swing Head with a 5/0 wide gap hook. All the rest came on a white custom-made 1/2-oz vibrating jig made by a friend of mine with a Lake Fork Live Magic Shad (albino).
> Vibe jig gear: 7′ MH Duckett Pro Series Kelly Jordon Signature Rod, Duckett Paradigm Reel (7.5), 17- and 20-lb fluoro “depending how gnarly the rocks were. With the wind on day 3 I went ahead and threw 20 [all day] and retied all the time. The rocks were not smooth river rocks, they were sharp gnarly rocks.
> “…rocks and wood. I caught some off wood that were freestanding stumps, but a lot of stumps were around the rocks I was fishing. Points and pockets, mostly points. The shallowest I probably caught one was 2.5′ and the deepest 7′ – 3-6′ was the key.
> “I was contacting the bottom the whole time, feeling it bang off the rocks…slow roll the whole time. When it got really gnarly I’d pick the rod tip up and try to speed it up. I only lost I think 2.
> Squarebill gear: Same rod and reel, 17-lb fluoro. “0-5′, but most 2-3.5′. Rocks with stumps in the rocks. When they ate it, they smoked it.
> “What I was keying on was the flatter points…not sharp…kind of wide. There wasn’t a lot of that, wider flatter points, 2-4′ on top – they were on top or right on the edge.”
> “I have Lowrance ActiveTarget and it was really helpful in seeing the timber…very helpful to throw down these rock lines. I wasn’t using it to see the fish [but] to make the best lines to make the cast…finding the juice.
> “There was so much bait in some of these areas…loaded with bait balls in timber, below the water and you couldn’t see them except with ActiveTarget.”
> “It was awesome fishing the Invitational. It’s the old FLW Tour and it was great seeing so many friends I haven’t seen in so long. That was one of the coolest things, and fishing with them. Like my buddy Jeff Reynolds made the top 10 the final day…Jim Moynagh, Terry Bolton, and on and on. A whole bunch of other people as well. It was just really cool.
> “[Day 3 with the wind he gave himself over an 1 hour to make it back.] I ran back and made it to within 7 miles of takeoff in 15 minutes – that Bass Cat and Mercury combination just ate the water like it always does.”
> “[Day 3] was one of the most blessed days I’ve ever had fishing in my life. The good Lord was shining on me. I don’t know why. I don’t deserve it.”