By Dan O'Sullivan - April 14, 2014
DENTON, Texas – The first two Elimination Days of the Jack Link’s Major League Fishing 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup in Denton, Texas, proved to be some of the more difficult days of fishing in MLF competition history. While small bites seemed to be the norm, it was the anglers who managed to produce a kicker that made it through to the next round.
On some lakes, and even different days on the same lake, a kicker fish is a relative term. A 4-pounder one day might be a cull, on another day the same fish might catapult an angler to stardom. While Ray Roberts Lake is one of those lakes that has a reputation for producing giants, they did not show up on the first day of competition.
But, that changed on Day Two.
Elimination Day Two had only seven anglers in the field, as Mike Iaconelli had to withdraw due to an injury that had been nagging him throughout the season.
With small bites dominating the leaderboard thus far, it appeared that a big bite would go a long way towards putting an angler in the driver’s seat to advance to Sudden Death. On Day Two, it didn’t take long for that fish to show up for one angler.
While he wasn’t the first man to register a catch on the leaderboard for the day, Kelly Jordon sent shivers through the rest of the field when he boated his second fish of the day at 9:16 a.m. The 8-pound, 2-ounce lunker struck Jordon’s umbrella rig and made waves on the scoreboard.
Jordon continued to move through the lower end of the lake, alternating between the umbrella rig, a Lucky Craft jerkbait and LV500 lipless crankbait. His steady production ended up earning him first place for the day and a spot in the Sudden Death Semifinal, but the real difference maker was the big bite that really pushed him to the top.
Though KJ’s big bass was exciting, the real fireworks of the day were between the second- and fifth-place anglers. In fact, the day was so tight that when the final second ticked off the clock, a mere 1 pound, 5 ounces separated the second-place qualifier from the first man out in fifth place.
Kevin VanDam, the winner of the Alpena, Michigan, 2014 Summit Cup, did enough to put 13 pounds, 13 ounces on the leaderboard and finish second. He was followed closely by third-place finisher Edwin Evers.
In fourth place was Byron Velvick. Fishing in the back of a timber-choked creek, Velvick boated enough bass, including a 4-pounder, to make it through to the Sudden Death Semifinal for the first time. His 4-pound “kicker” broke the 12-pound, 8-ounce tie with Boyd Duckett.
Duckett was the first man out in fifth, followed by Jason Quinn in sixth with 11 pounds, 4 ounces and Tim Horton in seventh.
The top four anglers move on to join the qualifiers from Day One. They will have to wait one more day to find out when and where they will fish again.
Watch Outdoor Channel on Saturday, April 19, to see which of the anglers competing in Elimination Day Three will get the chance to move on to the Sudden Death Semifinal and hopefully on to the Championship of the Jack Link’s Major League Fishing 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup.
2014 Challenge Cup: Elimination Day Two Final Standings
|Angler||Weight (lbs)||Total Fish||Avg Weight (lbs)||Biggest Fish (lbs)||Last Fish (lbs)|
|Kelly Jordon||17 lb 15 oz||9||1 lb 16 oz||8 lb 02 oz||1 lb 15 oz|
|Kevin VanDam||13 lb 13 oz||11||1 lb 04 oz||1 lb 15 oz||1 lb 00 oz|
|Edwin Evers||13 lb 12 oz||10||1 lb 06 oz||2 lb 08 oz||1 lb 00 oz|
|Byron Velvick||12 lb 08 oz||7||1 lb 13 oz||4 lb 02 oz||0 lb 10 oz|
|Top four anglers advance, bottom three are eliminated|
|Boyd Duckett||12 lb 08 oz||12||1 lb 01 oz||1 lb 08 oz||0 lb 14 oz|
|Jason Quinn||11 lb 04 oz||8||1 lb 06 oz||2 lb 13 oz||0 lb 15 oz|
|Tim Horton||1 lb 04 oz||1||1 lb 04 oz||1 lb 04 oz||1 lb 04 oz|
NOTE: Elimination Day Two of the 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup will air through April 19 on Outdoor Channel.