Ultimate Bass

Kelly Jordon Closes in

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. Jordon’s 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.

Jordon’s 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.

Jordon’s 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 Alabama’s 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 didn’t 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 that’s 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 Elite’s top 12 going into the final regular-season event.

That will be the Aug. 13-16 Ramada Champion’s 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 I’ll 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 he’s taking his tournaments one at a time. That’s not to say he hasn’t 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. I’ve 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 River’s 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., isn’t 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. It’s the only avenue to the AOY trophy, the $200,000 prize and intense ESPN2 TV exposure for the participants.

So what’s the problem? Grigsby’s remaining chance to pull up in the standings is the regular-season finale, the Aug. 13-16 Ramada Champion’s Choice on New York’s 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 I’m bound to hit it next time,” he said. “So there’s a chance for me to make top 12.”

He has put a pencil to the numbers heading to Oneida.

“I know I’ll 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 month’s time between cutoff and the tournament’s start, he noted.

“When I haven’t 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 I’ve 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.”

BASS MEMBER BONUS: With the addition of tackle used by Bassmaster Elite Series pros in the June 11-14 Genuity River Rumble, the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Rewards program now gives BASS members new ways to earn double points.

BASS members who join the free BPS rewards program at http://www.bassmaster.com/rewards can earn triple the points on their first purchase of bonus-elegible products. Those who are already signed up will receive twice the number of normally awarded points when they buy the specified products used at the Mississippi River tournament.

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 Insider’s “On the Line” on ESPN Radio after his victory at the Genuity River Rumble

About BASS

For more than 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multimedia platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports network, Bassmaster.com, BASSInsider.com and ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Academy Sports + Outdoors Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS annually sanctions more than 20,000 events.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.

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