Jordan Osborne started out on the co-angler side of tournament fishing in 2015 and found a lot of immediate success. The following season, he took his talents to the front of the boat and that success didn’t carry over his first two years as a pro. Things came together in 2018, though, and he made the FLW Cup for the second year in a row in 2019. This year, on the revamped Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, Osborne has a chance to really hammer home his recent success.
Last season, Osborne made the top 10 in the season opener on Sam Rayburn, and he’s got the chance to kick things off in a similar style this week. Eager to see how things are going for him, I happily met him at the ramp on another frigid Texas morning.
Arriving at the same time as travel partners Jared and Brandon McMillan, the trio puts in and begins to wait as other anglers drop their boats in the water and get ready for the day. Practice takeoff isn’t permitted until 7 a.m., so there’s a little time to kill before rolling out.
With his rods already rigged and on deck, Osborne simply gossips and munches on a breakfast sandwich. Then, it’s time to roll out.
Setting the boat down after his initial run, Osborne begins to graph around.
“I’m probably not going to fish for an hour,” he says. “I wouldn’t get up here for an hour anyhow, with where takeoff is and what time it is.”
So, he graphs a bit and I ask how the lake is treating him.
“It’s been all right,” he admits. “I’m catching a bunch of fish – just not enough quality to calm my nerves. It’s what I expected, I guess, but I cannot find any fish out deep. I felt like it’d be easier to locate some wads of fish offshore. I came down here nine or ten days in December, and I just haven’t found much going down out deep.”
Not long after he starts graphing, Osborne turns the motor off and jumps up to the bow.
“I lied. I am going to fish,” he quips.
Casting at a brush pile, Osborne generates one bite pretty quickly and then the place seems to go dead. So, he picks up to do some more idling.
Osborne continues to idle over various promising offshore spots for the next 30 minutes or so. Only getting up to fish once, he’s working at a very relaxed pace on a lake he knows quite well.
After a while, he runs into Brandon McMillan and the two share a status report, going so far as to detail the exact casts where the Florida pro has gotten bit this morning. After that, he’s off again.
Heading toward a nearby creek, Osborne begins working back toward the bushes along the winding channel. First casting a crankbait, then winding a lipless crankbait and finally putting a jig in play in the brush.
As he goes, he gives the lowdown on his successful pairing with the McMillan squad.
“I love traveling with the McMillans,” he explains. “Some folks don’t speak your language. With Brandon and I, it just works. Setting aside the information part, it’s nice to have a set of guys you can lean on. When you travel the country like this, you’re gonna have a problem, and it’s nice to have guys that can help you.”
Osborne’s next move is to a place he expects to get bit at. In fact, he marks fish as he idles in, and he seems to be banking on the spot, at least to a degree. So, after he slings a variety of baits around, it’s a bit of a surprise he hasn’t gotten a bite.
“Jody, this ain’t good,” says Osborne. “Both times I’ve been over here were in the morning or at like 4:30 or 5 o’clock. Maybe it’s just a morning and evening deal.”
Finally, somewhat defeated, Osborne cranks up and idles again, sipping on a Dr Pepper until he finds a place he wants to make a few casts.
Eventually, conversation turns to his Titleist hat, which he basically always wears and isn’t really usual for a bass angler. Osborne isn’t sponsored by the golf company, though he thinks that it’d be a good pairing.
“They make a hat that fits my head good, to be honest with you,” he says, though he admits he does really like to golf. “I played every sport I could get my hands on growing up. And I grew up around a country club, so I always played golf and tennis. I used to be a scratch golfer. I’ve talked to [Casey] Scanlon about it, I’m pretty sure I could smoke him. Jimmy Reese, I’m not sure about. I know Jimmy Brewer golfs, too – there are actually quite a few fishermen that golf.”
Making a move and still fishless, Osborne runs under the TX-147 bridge into another creek. Here, he settles down and idles a bit before picking up a rod to fish a brush pile. As he fishes, he calls up Brandon McMillan for an update about the day. After commiserating about the lack of success so far, he hangs up, makes a few more casts and moves again.
The next move isn’t far, and it seems to be a hot spot of activity. First, Osborne is visited by Jared McMillan, then by Aaron Britt and finally by Chris Brasher, who actually went to the same high school as Osborne.
This spot seems to have active fish, if not big ones. As he talks with Brasher, Osborne swings into a largemouth, gets it hung on the back of the boat, and finally lands the fish as his fellow pro looks on. Shortly after Brasher leaves, Osborne decides to leave as well.
Having had a pretty unsuccessful morning thus far, Osborne decides to make a bit of a run to flip some bushes. He thinks there’s some good fish to be had with that pattern, but he’s also pretty sure it’ll take some commitment to unlock. So, he trucks me back to the ramp and heads off to keep working.