By Dan O'Sullivan - May 5, 2014
DENTON, Tex. – Heading into Sudden Death Day Two of the Jack Link’s Major League Fishing 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup on Grapevine Lake, three tickets to the Championship Round remained. The final six advancing anglers from the Elimination Round would have
Day Two anglers had no way of knowing that Sudden Death Day One anglers had not delivered big. In fact, only one angler, Arizona pro Dean Rojas, managed to eclipse the 20-pound qualifying weight. Looking back at Sudden Death Day One, the bass in Grapevine seemed to be stacked up in very specific areas. Finding those few areas that would produce multiple bites seemed to be the key to success.
The trouble is, very few of the anglers on Day One found any sort of concentration of bass anywhere in Grapevine. In fact, the majority of the field truly struggled to get bites, and when they did, they were of the small variety.
Even with that being the case, the reality of competitive bass fishing is that someone will find a way to catch them better than the rest of the field. Such was the result on Sudden Death Day Two, as one angler separated himself from the pack and staked his claim for a spot in the finals rather quickly. The rest of the field fought a hard, tight battle.
Up to this day, the big bite has proven to be the difference between advancing and going home. Sudden Death Day Two was no different.
The one angler who quickly separated himself from the field was Texas pro Kelly Jordon. Like Rojas on the previous day, Jordon became the lone angler to eclipse the 20-pound qualifying weight. While Rojas managed to punch his ticket to the finals in the second period, it took Jordon until the third.
His catch was bolstered by a big bite fairly early in the day that really put him in the driver’s seat. After catching a pair of average keepers, Jordon landed a 7-pound, 1-ounce largemouth that let the field know this Texas native meant to represent the Lone Star State once again.
Jordon felt his way through finding schools of bass, before settling in a creek that had a number of docks. He was able to pick them apart with a Lucky Craft square-bill crankbait to produce a total weight of 21 pounds, 6 ounces.
The rest of the field found the fishing a bit tougher, but as Sudden Death rules state, the next two highest finishers advance. The next heaviest total weight belonged to Skeet Reese. Anchored with a 3-pound, 15-ounce largemouth, Reese’s total of 10 pounds, 10 ounces was enough for a trip to the finals.
Third- through fifth-place anglers all finished within 11 ounces of each other, which added some drama to the end of the day. In the end, Michigan’s Kevin VanDam had scored five bass weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces to finish third and move on to his fourth MLF Championship Round.
Randy Howell finished fourth with 6 pounds, 6 ounces, followed by Alton Jones in fifth with 6 pounds, 4 ounces. Byron Velvick finished sixth with a single keeper for the day.
Jordon, Reese and VanDam move on to join Rojas, Ehrler and Klein in the Championship Round. Where will the battle ground be this time? Grapevine? Back to Ray Roberts? Or maybe some other water body that’s close by? The six finalists won’t know the answer to question until they arrive at the launch facility.
Tune in to CBS Sports on Sunday, May 11, to watch the Championship Round of Jack Link’s Major League Fishing 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup.
2014 Challenge Cup: Sudden Death Day Two Final Standings
|Angler||Weight (lbs)||Total Fish||Avg Weight (lbs)||Biggest Fish (lbs)||Last Fish (lbs)|
|Kelly Jordon||21 lb 06 oz||11||1 lb 15 oz||7 lb 01 oz||2 lb 00 oz|
|Skeet Reese||10 lb 10 oz||6||1 lb 12 oz||3 lb 15 oz||1 lb 00 oz|
|Kevin VanDam||6 lb 15 oz||5||1 lb 06 oz||1 lb 14 oz||1 lb 12 oz|
|Top three anglers advance, bottom three are eliminated|
|Randy Howell||6 lb 06 oz||5||1 lb 04 oz||2 lb 13 oz||1 lb 00 oz|
|Alton Jones||6 lb 04 oz||4||1 lb 09 oz||2 lb 02 oz||1 lb 01 oz|
|Byron Velvick||0 lb 13 oz||1||0 lb 13 oz||0 lb 13 oz||0 lb 13 oz|
NOTE: Sudden Death Day Two of the 2014 Shell Rotella Challenge Cup will air through May 10 on Outdoor Channel.