Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kelly Jordon of Mineola, Texas, likes his new, loftier view from seventh place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings. Jordons second-place finish at the June 11-14 Genuity River Rumble was worth enough points for a virtual holeshot out of 13th place.
Bassmaster Elite Series pro Kelly Jordon of Mineola, Texas, likes his new, loftier view from seventh place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
Jordons second-place finish at the June 11-14 Genuity River Rumble was worth enough points for a virtual holeshot out of 13th place. It was the first time this season he has made it into the top 12 in the AOY standings.
Before the Mississippi River event, I was on the outside, looking in at the top 12, Jordon said. I sure am thankful I have a little bit of a cushion now over 12th place, but I still have a mountain of work to do to end up within the top 12.
With one regular-season event to go, his goal is to emerge as one of the dozen Elite pros holding a ticket to the inaugural Bassmaster Elite Series postseason. The Sept. 10-18 Toyota Trucks Championship Week will pit the 12 qualifiers against each other in back-to-back events on two Alabama fisheries for a shot at the $200,000 Angler of the Year prize and the coveted trophy.
Jordons standing now is a high point of what has been a seesaw season for him. He started on an up 13th on Texas Lake Amistad. Then he went down with a 45th finish at Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas, followed by a plummet with his 86th-place finish on Alabamas Wheeler Lake.
That one really cost me, he said. He fell in the AOY standings to 47th, his season low.
He recovered nicely at Smith Mountain Lake, but followed that third-place finish with a 48th at Guntersville. He sprang up again by taking eighth place at Kentucky Lake.
At that point, in AOY terms, he was in 13th place.
In Kelly Jordon terms, it was a hot seat he didnt want to occupy for long.
I put extra pressure on myself to do well at the Mississippi event, he said. I always practice hard, but I knew I had to make a charge. So I really put in the effort and put my head down, and maximized my practice and was completely focused. I think thats why I did so well.
Kevin Short of Mayflower, Ark., took the Mississippi River event title, besting Jordon by 10 ounces. The win boosted Short in the AOY rankings from 17th to 10th, and Short joined Jordon among the Elites top 12 going into the final regular-season event.
That will be the Aug. 13-16 Ramada Champions Choice on Oneida Lake out of Syracuse, N.Y. Jordon has already figured out that he must finish among the top 50 at Oneida to remain in the top 12 in the AOY standings.
I figure Ill need to get a check, he said. A top-30 finish would ice it.
Already he has proved his cool at Oneida. In the 2007 Elite Series event in Syracuse, he was 13th; at the 2008 Elite event there, he placed 31st.
As to the postseason, Jordon said hes taking his tournaments one at a time. Thats not to say he hasnt thought a bit about Lake Jordan and the Alabama River, the fisheries for Toyota Trucks Championship Week.
The big spotted bass will be the key, he said. Those Coosa River spots are the meanest bass there are. Ive always said a largemouth fights harder, a smallmouth fights longer, but the Coosa River spot beats them both.
The postseason will begin on Jordan, the Coosa Rivers southernmost impoundment, with the Sept. 12-13 Trophy Chase. The 12 anglers then will move on to the nearby Alabama River for the Sept. 17-18 finale, the Evan Williams Bourbon Trophy Triumph.
GRIGSBY vs. ONEIDA: Just because an old nemesis sits between him and a spot in the Bassmaster Elite Series postseason, Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Fla., isnt discouraged.
Grigsby is in 15th place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, three spots below the 12th-place cutline for entry into the Sept. 10-18 Toyota Trucks Championship Week. Its the only avenue to the AOY trophy, the $200,000 prize and intense ESPN2 TV exposure for the participants.
So whats the problem? Grigsbys remaining chance to pull up in the standings is the regular-season finale, the Aug. 13-16 Ramada Champions Choice on New Yorks Oneida Lake.
Therein lies the challenge for Grigsby. In recent Grigsby vs. Oneida contests, he finished 85th (in 2008), 44th (2007) and 44th (2006).
On the bright side, that kind of run never lasts anywhere, so statistically Im bound to hit it next time, he said. So theres a chance for me to make top 12.
He has put a pencil to the numbers heading to Oneida.
I know Ill have to have a top-15, maybe a top-12, to make the final 12 for Angler of the Year, he said. But it always depends on how others do.
Grigsby said he is on the fence about gong to upstate New York to get in some prefishing time before July 13, the official cutoff date for the Aug. 13-16 tournament.
On the one hand, he knows he needs to improve his Oneida performance. On the other hand, prefishing tends to make him fish in the past. That could be a mistake, because Oneida is likely to change in a months time between cutoff and the tournaments start, he noted.
When I havent prefished, I take the lake for what it is, and I tend to do better, he said.
Oneida always presents a big question, and Grigsby has settled on an answer.
You have to decide to fish for largemouth or smallmouth, he said. There are good smallmouth in there, so Ive scrambled to get a smallmouth here, a largemouth there, and I go back and forth. I think I will have to buckle down, commit to one or the other, and get the best sack out of whichever decision I make.
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Products include, for example, the Strike King Premier spinnerbait, one of the lures used by Elite pro Kevin Short of Mayflower, Ark., in taking his first Elite Series win at the River Rumble with a four-day total of 43 pounds, 3 ounces.
A full list of all products now eligible for double rewards is available by clicking here.
IN SHORT: I would rather win a tough one than a slugfest. Kevin Short on BASS Insiders On the Line on ESPN Radio after his victory at the Genuity River Rumble
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