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Published: May 1, 2014

KJ's Secret Weapon for Sudden Death

by Lynn Burkhead

SUDDEN DEATH Day 2 Competitors

Kevin VanDam

Alton Jones

Kelly Jordon

Skeet Reese

Randy Howell

Byron Velvick

DENTON, Texas – Kelly Jordon is a native son of Texas and one of the best at figuring out the state’s big bass riches.

So it would stand to reason that the Jack Link’s Major League Fishing pro from Palestine would feel somewhat confident as the 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup is being contested on Lake Ray Roberts and Grapevine Lake - and perhaps other water - in and around the Denton area.

After all, there are few Texas waters where Jordon hasn’t done well catching numbers of fish and good numbers of high quality fish.

KJ, as many known him, grew up fishing tournaments all over the Lone Star State, gaining early success and showing an angling prowess that announced he would one day be a force to be reckoned with on the professional circuits.

Then he became a highly sought after guide on lunker factory Lake Fork, leading anglers to the double-digit largemouth bass riches pulled from the East Texas reservoir near Quitman.

With habitat similar to that of Ray Roberts, Fork is a magical place where Jordon has caught numerous double-digit lunkers of his own, fish that have weighed up to 13 pounds on several occasions.

He has hooked, not landed, some that were even bigger.

Those brutes include one lunker largemouth of giant proportion, even by Texas’ lofty big bass standards, a fish that literally straightened out KJ’s hook after easily stripping out line from his tightly-wound drag.

To this day, so brutal and one sided was the fight that Jordon believes he hooked and lost an almost certain state record. To take over the record, the fish would have to have been larger than the current 18.18-pound record fish from Fork caught by Barry St. Clair in January 1992.

And despite the mere seconds that he had the fish on, Jordon believes that he hooked, and lost, a sowbelly bass that could have gone well over 20 pounds and perhaps challenged George Perry’s long-standing world record.

How accurate are Jordon’s big fish estimating skills?

KJ knows big bass, earning a reputation as one of the Bassmaster Elite Series’ big fish specialists. He enjoys that reputation as a member of the B.A.S.S. “Century Club,” where membership requires a tournament four-day bag weighing more than 100-pounds.

What’s more, Jordon has caught more daily big bass in tournaments than any other angler in B.A.S.S. history.

Even outside of the Bassmaster Elite Series, Jordon shines at catching big ones, especially on Texas waters. In fact, in 2008, he captained the team that captured the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, an event that he also helped to co-found.

And just a few years ago, Jordon rode of wave of good bass in the first and second rounds at Lake Amistad in southwest Texas. That allowed him to advance to the finals of the inaugural MLF event in Del Rio, an event eventually won by Brent Ehrler.

Now you can add the biggest bass ever landed in MLF competition history to Jordon's resume. KJ accomplished that feat in the Elimination Round when an 8.02-pound Ray Roberts' largemouth attacked his umbrella rig before the Outdoor Channel cameras.

So if Jordon is quietly confident coming into the Sudden Death Semifinal Round on Grapevine Lake, you can understand why.

Even if he has limited experience on the lake.

Because given his big bass abilities and his knowledge of similar Texas waters, it is reasonable to expect KJ to do well on any lake that the MLF gang fishes in the DFW Metroplex area.

Especially with a new ace tucked up his sleeve, a power card known as the “baby pattern,” after KJ’s wife Kerri gave birth to the couple’s first son.

“Yes, yes, we have little Charles Cole Jordon,” smiled Jordon. “He’s a bouncing baby boy, so I have a little girl (Ruby Kate) and a little boy.”

Jordon said Charles Cole is growing “like crazy” and was almost 10 pounds at the time of this interview.

And that’s just about the size of bass that KJ is hoping to catch at Grapevine.

“What can I say, I can’t wait to get a fishing rod in his hand,” said Jordon, a four-time winner on the B.A.S.S tournament trails and a one-time winner on the FLW Tour.

How has being a dad changed Jordon as a professional angler?

Quite a bit he said.

“You know, you’ve got a family and you’ve got to do the best you can for them,” said the winner of more than $1.4 million in career B.A.S.S. earnings and a qualifier for nine Bassmaster Classic events.

“It (being a husband and father) is a pretty good motivator, there’s no doubt about that.”

“ It helps motivate you pretty good since you want to bring them home something good and show them something good like a trophy. ”

– Kelly Jordon

That being said, Jordon admits that it is much harder for him to leave home now and go on the road, leaving his wife and two small children behind.

“Byron Velvick has a daughter the same age as my daughter and we talk about how hard it is to get out the door (now),” said Jordon. “But at the same time, you think about them while you’re fishing and use them as inspiration.

“It helps motivate you pretty good since you want to bring them home something good and show them something good like a trophy.”

Or a big winner’s check, perhaps.

Hence the reason that Jordon now has an ace up his sleeve known as the “baby pattern.”

“They call it the baby pattern because a lot of times the people that have kids do pretty good (out here),” said KJ. “Hey, (we had him about a month ago), but I’m going to keep trying to ride that wave.”

If Jordon can ride that wave again in Sudden Death and be one of the first three anglers to reach the 20-pound qualifying weight, then KJ just might bring home the biggest trophy of his career thus far.

And that would be the 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup, a trophy big enough to even impress little Charles Cole and Ruby Kate, the newfound apples of their daddy’s eye.

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