Tackle Warehouse 2014 ICAST Video Coverage 2014 ICAST Award Winners

Jody Jordan Wins Clear Lake EverStart

Like everyone else who competed in last week's Clear Lake Western EverStart, Jody Jordan knew it would take a lot of weight to win. But 27 pounds a day? Jordan, a 42-year-old who'd fished just one prior event at the triple-A level, hit that number as he amassed an 81-01 total over 3 days. He needed just about every ounce of it, too, as his winning margin over day-2 leader Jason Borofka was a mere 2 ounces. "I think going in, 25 or 26 (pounds) a day were the numbers I had in my head," he said. "But the way the lake's fished this fall and all through the summer, it's turned out bigger bags than I've ever seen. "Typically during the fall, 20 pounds is a good day and 25 is really good. Only once in a while do you see 28." Jordan exceeded 28 on each of the final 2 days to advance from 10th to 3rd to 1st in the standings. The victory, which netted him nearly $29,000 in cash and a new Ranger boat package, was easily the biggest of his career. Here are some the specifics of how he went about achieving it.

Jordan was receiving mixed messages from the lake, the largest natural body of still water that resides entirely within California, as the EverStart approached. He caught a 36-pound bag (which included a 10-pounder, an 8 and a 7) about 2 weeks before the start of the derby, but only one fish a week later as a powerful north wind swept across the surface. "My confidence got a little rattled there," he said. "The lake goes through a transitional period every year when the nights get cold and we have those big-wind days and the water temperature on the lake drops not just on the surface, but through the whole water column. I think it puts the fish in shock and it takes them about a week to acclimate to it. "Things slowly improved after that (one-fish) day. The weather stabilized and high pressure blew in with the north wind, and the fishing got better and better." He caught 25 and 24 pounds, respectively, on the 2 days prior to the start of the event. "I was only getting about seven bites a day, but they were the right ones. I didn't catch any giants, but I had five that were over 4 pounds on both of those days, and I had three or four spots that I knew I was going to fish that I didn't want to touch. "The only thing that kind of made me nervous was that out of the 15 fish I caught in practice, 11 were hooked on the outside of the face. I felt like I was just getting them to react they weren't eating or they would've clamped down. It was either going to get tougher or better. It usually gets better under conditions like that, but you never really know." His main approach was to throw reaction baits (a deep-diving crankbait, a lipless crankbait and a swimbait) to fish in 10 to 20 feet of water. He mixed in a jig every now and then as a change of pace.

Competition:

Jordan went into the tournament with the mindset that he needed to put three quality fish in his livewell each day before the sun had fully risen, and then grind out a couple more through the remainder of the day. As it turned out, most of his key bites came after the noon hour. He caught nothing at his first four stops on day 1, then covered that milk run again and caught a 3 3/4-pounder that settled his nerves a little bit. His co-angler boated a couple of decent fish with a dropshot, so Jordan picked up a spinning rod and fished it for about 20 minutes, catching a barely legal keeper and a couple of shorts. "I finally said, 'I've got to put this thing away. This is not how I'm going to win this tournament,''' he said. He then moved to an area where he'd spend the remainder of the event - a place adjacent to a steep wall. He said it's an extremely popular locale and he was surprised to find only two boats in the vicinity. He quickly caught a 5-pounder from near the bank on the rattlebait, and then moved about 150 yards down the wall to a cranking spot that had been productive in practice. He popped a 6-14 on his second cast with the deep-diver, and added a 5 and a near-4 shortly thereafter.

"My day went from bad to good in 45 minutes. I could tell there was a school there and they were the right fish." He shared the area for the rest of the derby with Billy Hines (the eventual 10th-place finisher) and Zack Thompson (who ended up 24th). He said they worked well with each other throughout both days and there was never the hint of a conflict. He rotated through his quartet of baits on day 2 and eventually dialed in the perfect swimbait cast. He used it to produce a 7-pounder, a 5 and a 4 1/2, and then he cranked up another 7. His sack moved him to within 3 pounds of the lead, with just two competitors in front of him. He took all but six rods out of his boat for the final day. Three that remained had crankbaits attached, two had swimbaits and one had a rattlebait. The first fish he caught was extremely long and skinny and he initially pegged it as a 5-pounder with an 8-pounder's head (it was actually a 6 1/2). He got a 7 on the swimbait and the other three he took to the scale averaged 5 pounds apiece. He knew he'd fared well, but didn't think he'd done enough to win. "I was pretty happy because I felt like I wasn't going to slip from 3rd place," he said. "I thought the number (he needed) was 31 or 32 pounds, and I was honestly just hoping for 2nd. "(Borofka) had a poker face all the way through the weigh-in while he was sitting on the hot seat, and then after I weighed my fish his expression changed, and that was the first time when I thought I might've had a chance."

Winning Gear:

Cranking gear: 7'6" Lamiglas or 7'9" Phenix medium-heavy glass rod, Shimano Curado casting reel (5:1 ratio), 12- or 15-pound Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon line, Strike King 10 XD (chartreuse shad). He used two other custom-painted 10 XDs, but declined to reveal those colors as he hopes the baits will be productive again in this weekend's American Bass Anglers regional event.

Swimbait gear: 7'11" medium-heavy G. Loomis 953 rod, same reel (7:1 ratio), 20-pound P-Line Halo fluorocarbon, 8" Huddleston Deluxe Rainbow Trout.

Rattlebait gear: 7' medium action Lamiglas rod, same reel (7:1 ratio), 17-pound P-Line Halo fluorocarbon, Lucky Craft LV 500 (crawdad).

Main factor: "I think it was sticking to my gameplan with the deep rock and knowing that's where the big fish would be at this time of year."

Performance edge: "That swimbait. It's 7 years old and I caught my first 'Hud' fish on it and also my personal best (a 14-pounder from nearby Lake Berryessa). I'm retiring it - I'm going to have it framed and put it on my wall."

Clear Lake EverStart Winning Pattern Bassfan 10/16/13 (John Johnson)