Jordon Wins FLW Bass Fishing Tournament on Lake Okeechobee
CLEWISTON, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2005) - Pro Kelly Jordon of Mineola, Texas, caught four bass weighing 23 pounds in the final hours of the FLW Tour bass fishing tournament on Lake Okeechobee to earn the first $100,000 winner's check of the tour's 10th anniversary season.
Jordon opened the tournament with a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 9 ounces to place fifth then climbed to second Thursday with a limit weighing 12 pounds, 15 ounces. On Friday, with the field cut to the top 10 and weights zeroed, he slipped to sixth with a limit weighing just 7 pounds, 13 ounces. His final day heroics, however, boosted his two-day total to 30 pounds, 13 ounces to claim the win.
"This is one of my favorite lakes in the entire country," said Jordon, who is a three-time Bassmaster Tour winner and three-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier. "I had the most amazing 30 minutes of fishing in my life today. All the fish I weighed in, I caught in 30 minutes. It was just one of those deals where everything just lined up."
Jordon caught all of his bass Saturday on a Junebug Lake Fork Craw Tube mated to a 1 3/8-ounce tungsten weight that he was flipping into a dense hydrilla mat in an area of the Monkey Box that produced the majority of his fish all week.
While plenty of bass weighing more than 8 pounds where brought to the scales this week, including an 11-pounder caught by Castrol pro Bobby Curtis of Siloam Springs, Ark., and a 10-pound, 2-ounce bass caught by 17-year-old co-angler Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., the "Big O" was relatively stingy due to suspended sediments kicked up by high winds and water from last year's hurricanes. A recent cold front also contributed to the tough conditions.
Curtis' bass tied with an 11-pounder caught in 1998 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir by Ray Beck of Beaumont, Texas, as the second largest bass ever caught on the FLW Tour. The record bass weighing 11 pounds, 14 ounces was caught in 1996 on the Santee Cooper Lakes by Jim Nolan of Bull Shoals, Ark.
The angler who catches the overall largest bass during the 2005 season will win a $5,000 Big Bass award.
Rounding out the top five anglers are Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala. (10 bass, 26 pounds, 9 ounces, $36,000); Dean Rojas of Grand Saline, Texas (seven bass, 19 pounds, 8 ounces, $25,000); Toshinari Namiki of Mineola, Texas (10 bass, 19 pounds, 5 ounces, $20,000); and Terry Bolton of Paducah, Ky. (seven bass, 17 pounds, 11 ounces, $18,000).
During the tournament, 2,415 bass weighing a total of 4,165 pounds, 10 ounces were brought to the scale. More than 99 percent of the bass were released alive. If the tour maintains a 98 percent live-release rate throughout the season, Energizer will donate $25,000 to the Children's Miracle Network.
Toshinari Namiki of Mineola, Texas, earned the Energizer Keeps on Going Award and a $500 Wal-Mart gift card for advancing to the final round as the No. 5 seed after finishing 77th on opening day.
Dwight Ameling of Sebring, Fla., handily won the Co-angler Division title and $20,000 Friday by an astounding 11-pound, 9-ounce margin thanks to a 7-pounder that boosted his five-bass catch to 14 pounds, 13 ounces.
Ameling, who was fishing with Bobby Lane of Lakeland, Fla., during the final round of co-angler competition, was flipping a Texas-rigged watermelon crawdad pegged with a 1-ounce weight. Lane finished the tournament in seventh place with a total of nine bass weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces.
Anglers were also competing this week for points that determine Land O' Lakes Angler of the Year standings and the field for the 2005 Forrest L. Wood Championship, set for July 13-16 in Hot Springs, Ark., on Lake Hamilton. The $1.5 million championship awards the winning pro $500,000 cash, and features an outdoor show with more than 140 booths and displays for everything from crankbaits to bass boats.
Complete coverage of the FLW Tour stop on Lake Okeechobee will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net as part of the "FLW Outdoors" program debuting Feb. 6 at 11 a.m. Eastern time. "FLW Outdoors" will air every Sunday at 11 a.m. on FSN.