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Published: April 9, 2014

Bucks, Ducks and Big Bass Have KJ Smiling

by Lynn Burkhead

Elimination Round Day 2 Competitors

Kevin VanDam

Jason Quinn

Edwin Evers

Kelly Jordon

Tim Horton

Boyd Duckett

Byron Velvick

DENTON, Texas – Standing on the ramp at Ray Roberts Lake, the conversation between Kelly Jordon and yours truly couldn't help but turn to deer hunting.

After all, it was late October in Texas, one of the best states in the land to chase a wily old whitetail.

Like the bucks that we enjoy chasing each fall, the necks of Jordon and your intrepid reporter were swelling up just talking about one of our favorite pastimes.

But hey, that's what happens in Texas where deer hunting is king during the fall. Especially when the leaves are changing color and the weatherman is predicting the arrival of a bona fide blue northern cold front, one supposed to send temperatures well into the 30s.

Jordon, a big time Texas deer hunter with a number of big bucks to his credit, admitted he was having trouble getting his mind on bass fishing.

Especially since he was still looking to tag his first big buck of the season, even though the Texas archery hunting campaign was already several weeks old.

"I've seen some good ones (taken by friends) so far," smiled Jordon. "But I haven't put my tag on one yet."

With that, our conversation turned back to the matter at hand, the big bass swimming around in Ray Roberts Lake, site of the Elimination Rounds at the Jack Link's Major League Fishing 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup event near Denton.

Jordon has some experience at Ray Roberts; he used to fish the lake frequently, but says that experience was a couple of decades ago.

"Yeah, I fished it the day that it opened and quite a bit after that some 20 years ago. But then I figured out that Lake Fork was 20 minutes from my house and I have never fished Ray Roberts since," he laughed.

By the end of the event, Jordon is hopeful that he can use the experience he has during the fall season on other Texas waters to help him claim the Challenge Cup, a trophy that would be KJ's first Major League Fishing title.

Armed with that Texas fishing experience, KJ isn't sweating the change in weather after a Day One front that left Day Two anglers with chilly temperatures, a slight northerly breeze and high bluebird skies.

"Yeah, we'll end up (with post frontal conditions today)," said Jordon. "But to be honest with you, in the fall, it can often be tough (anyway). But also in the fall, you can kind of get things going a little bit (at times)."

Already widely known as a big fish specialist, he is hopeful to get the right bites on Ray Bob.

If so, he can advance to the Sudden Death and work on making the second MLF Championship final of his career.

"Timing is everything (in the fall)," said Jordon. "A lot of times at this time of the year, you get a flurry of action the first 30 minutes of the day. We may miss that this morning, but that will make the afternoon bite a big key.

"It's going to be sunny this afternoon, it will warm up a bit (after this morning's chilly temperatures), and I expect the late bite to be a big player."

The key in that being true is to be close enough in the third period for that late bite to get Jordon through the first round of action.

"It may be a bit of a grind until then (the third period)," said Jordon, a Palestine, Texas, resident with four B.A.S.S. tour wins and one FLW Tour win to his credit.

"You better have your ducks in a row and have figured out what's going on by the last hour or two. That's probably where the most damage will be done."

“ You may be comfortable fishing some of these places, but with these guys, they've seen everything. So I don't think there's really any advantage whatsoever. ”

– Kelly Jordon

Does the fact that Jordon is a native Texas son with plenty of experience on grass and timber filled lakes - his home water is Lake Fork - help or hurt his cause at this event?

"I don't think it's much of an advantage," said Jordon. "We went to Istokpoga and that's kind of Bobby Lane's home lake. He did well there, but he didn't win.

"(In this deal), it's all pretty straight forward. We have zones (to fish) and it's not like you can run to some secret spot way back some place.

"You may be comfortable fishing some of these places, but with these guys, they've seen everything. So I don't think there's really any advantage whatsoever."

That's especially true since North Texas is mired in a several years long drought that has most DFW Metroplex area lakes - Ray Roberts included - at some of their lowest water levels in years.

"(Drought) can affect the water clarity," said Jordon. "A lot of times (during drought), you have exposed mud banks and when you have a lot of wind like we did yesterday, it can muddy up some areas. That makes the bite tougher sometimes, although sometimes it can also help."

Ever the optimist, Jordon said the ongoing Texas drought does make the challenge of finding fish a bit easier for fishermen however.

"There's less places for them to hide," he chuckled.

And that's bad, bad, bad news for the bass swimming around at Ray Roberts Lake.

Because big fish specialist and Texas' native son Kelly Jordon is coming to town.

And he's looking to do nothing less than catch a pile of Lone Star State bucketmouths, climb the MLF leaderboard each day, and ultimately try to claim the biggest fishing title of his angling career.

NOTE: Elimination Day Two of the 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup will premiere April 12 at 3 p.m. ET on Outdoor Channel. Check here for the full schedule.