Kelly Jordon is the best in the business when it comes to catching big bass. Among the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers, no one has as many tournament lunkers as the pro who calls Palestine, Texas, and Lake Fork home. Whether you need a kicker to fill out your limit or are looking for the largemouth of a lifetime, "KJ" has them dialed in, and this is his favorite way to target big bass right now.
Water temperature: This can be a wide range, but water temperatures should be dropping enough that deep water bass are starting to move shallow.
Water color: Since this is a vegetation pattern, the water must be clear enough to support substantial weed growth. It can vary from crystal clear to stained.
Wind/current: Some wind and current can help to position the bass, but too much will drive them out of the heavy cover where other approaches will be more successful.
Structure: This pattern is all about the cover — wherever you find it.
Cover: Mats of vegetation of any kind — milfoil, hydrilla, hyacinths, even trash mats.
Depth: There's no limit to the available depth under the mats, though in extreme cases (usually over 10 feet), the bass will typically suspend and may be tougher to catch. For Jordon, the perfect depth range is usually 4-10 feet.
Lure: Jordon's favorite punch bait is a Lake Fork Trophy Lures Craw Tube in Blue Bruiser (black and blue) or June Bug. He fishes it behind a heavy tungsten sinker (usually a 1-ounce model, though he will go lighter or heavier depending on the weight needed to penetrate the cover). The heavy weight is critical to penetrate the mats, but it's also beneficial because it makes the bait sink extremely fast, creating a reaction bite as it plummets past the bass
Rod: Jordon is currently fishing with a prototype Kelly Jordon signature series flipping rod from Duckett Fishing. It's part of the Micro Magic series and is 7 feet, 9 inches long with an extra heavy action. It should be available in retail stores and online soon.
Reel: Abu Garcia Revo STX with a 7:1 gear ratio.
Line: SpiderWire Ultracast Fluoro Braid in 65-pound-test, though Jordon sometimes scales up to 80-pound-test because he finds it more manageable when line visibility is not an issue.
Cast/Flip/Pitch: Jordon makes short pitches and flips to the densest cover he can find. He wants to put his bait in the darkest, most impenetrable areas around — places that are otherwise ignored. This is where the biggest bass live.
Retrieve: For Jordon, the standard retrieve involves dropping the bait through the cover, letting it settle to bottom (in relatively shallow water) and hopping it twice before pulling it back out and dropping it in a new spot. If the bass are suspended, he'll raise the bait up to the underside of the mat and bounce it off that cover in an attempt to "call" the fish to it.
Keys to Success
Pay attention to when your strikes come. For Jordon, 90 percent or more of his hits come on the bait's initial fall. If that's the daily trend, he says you need to play the odds and make more presentations. If all your strikes come on the first drop, don't hop the bait around; just drop it once, pull it out of the cover and drop it again. You'll catch more bass that way because you're making more presentations.