Jordan Lurks, Strikes, Wins Classic!
Jordan stays close, lurking behind the field until day 3. When day 3 came it was obvious Jordan had saved his best for last and overtook the field for the Classic Championship and over $75,000.00.
What a fabulous weekend for The Yellowfin Elite Redfish Series… 5 fish limit per angler, per day, 1 pro per boat with no team mate or armature partner, head to head competition built only for the best of professional redfish anglers.
Clark Jordan once again rode a wave of consistency to win the event, leading only the final day of the 3 day competition. His final day 5 fish limit weighed in at 39.56 pounds and was good enough for a 7/100’s of a pound victory over fellow competitor Lance Reynolds…
It was obvious at day 1’s launch amidst dark clouds and impending rain that this opening weekend of the 2015 Yellowfin Elite Series would once again be kicked off in less than ideal and all too familiar to the anglers, conditions.
28 professional anglers qualified for the Classic Kick Off event and after a great captain’s dinner and meal presented by St. Bernard Parish gov’t, a brief rules meeting, showing of the new sizzle reel on 3 large screen projectors and the angler pro shots in front of green screen, it was time to dismiss and get ready for day 1’s rain soaked session of fishing.
Day 1 found the heavily favored pros from Louisiana looking up at the leaderboard, the first place leader and Texas angler,Travis Land. Travis landed 39.28 pounds of redfish and jumped out to the early lead. However, this event would not be won on day 1, but it could be lost by bringing in oversized fish or experiencing mechanical breakdowns, etc. Travis navigated his way around all the obstacles and proved he’d be a force to be reckoned with.
Jordan may not have been leading after day 1 but he was right where he wanted to be, weighing in 36.42 pounds and setting in 6th. The top 5 after day 1 had Quality Companies Pro, Nicky Savoie in 2nd, the marsh rat, Chad Billiot in 3rd, Florida pro, Manny Perez in 4th and Lake Charles expert, Scott Hanchey in 5th. After a rain, wind and lightening filled day anglers were ready to weigh their fish and get to their rooms to get their equipment and themselves dried out.
At day 2’s launch the skies had broke, rain was gone and lightening vanished, but what was waiting on the anglers as they approached take off time, was wind. Reaching 25-35 mph during the day it’s only saving grace was equipment and anglers a like would be sure to get dried out quickly as the sun appeared over head and the high winds made for difficult drifts. Anglers talked about being blown over their fish, not being able to slow down their boats nor their presentations enough to lure the big ones in to biting and the weights on day 2 reflected just that.
Lance Reynolds, the BNA Marine Services pro made a big move with 5 lively redfish that vaulted him all the way to 1st place setting with a 2 day total weight of 74.10 pounds. I got lucky today with some of my fish and I have a feeling I’m going to need every ounce if I’m fortunate enough to make the cut and fish on day 3, Lance told the growing crowd gathered at the Marina Motel’s back parking lot where days 1 and 2 weigh ins took place. Lance didn’t know how true those words would prove to be. Paul Dufrene made a huge jump from 12th place on day 1 all the way to 2nd place after the 2 days of competition and one reason he found himself in 12th after day 1 was a blown lower unit and a decision that would cost him a victory in this event. More on that in a minute.*
Clark Jordan moved up the leader board as we have seen him do so many times before and now sat in 3rd place overall with a 2 day total weight of exactly 72.00 pounds. Shane Pescay found fourth with his 70.55 limit and rounding out the top 5 moving on to fish on day 3 was yet another local Louisianan, Jay Cedotal with 70.38 pounds.
The “bubble” burst for Pensacola pro, Chris Williams fishing for Blue Wave Boats when his best finish in 2 years found him just 1.56 pounds short of the 5th and final spot, but what a great finish for Chris, weighing in a 10 fish, 2 day limit of 68.82 pounds. As the pros checked back at Breton Sound Marina for the final time this week they were escorted by the St. Bernard’s Sheriff department motorcycle officers to the fair grounds it was obvious the beautiful weather had brought out record crowds of enthusiastic spectators to watch both anglers and top area bands perform on a perfect Saturday afternoon.
The stage was set and it was time to begin the weigh in. The crowds cheered as each of the top 5 pros from this weekend came from back stage to greet them, throw out sponsors gifts, high 5 and even sign a few autographs. The pros had their fish weighed in reverse order, 5th place first, 4th place second, etc. when the 3rd place pro, after 2 days weighed in, Clark Jordan took the lead but wasn’t sure if he had enough to hold off the other 2 anglers yet to weigh.
First up frogg toggs pro, Paul Dufrene. When the scales locked on the 5 giant Louisiana redfish in the basket, Paul’s total was 110.37 pounds and not enough to knock off Jordan. One down, one to go, now it was time for the BNA Marine Services pro, Lance Reynolds to come to the stage. Leading after 2 days of competition, Lance would be the last to weigh in on this sun soaked afternoon and see if he could notch his first win on The Yellowfin Elite Series. Before Lance would weigh, tour host and emcee, Pat Malone called Clark Jordan to the stage to join himself and Lance. Would this be the year Clark notched his first Crawfish Festival win, after coming close so many times or would it be the start of a “run” for one of the tour’s top pros, Lance Reynolds.
The fish were placed on the scales, the crowd began cheering as the automatic reading scales “locked” in on the winning weight, a 3 day total of110.75 pounds and it belonged to the only non Louisianan in the top 5, Texas pro, Clark Jordan. Lance’s weight fell just 7/100 of a pound short as his total 3 day weight went 110.68 pounds.
In one of the closest finishes ever and after these 2 pros battled it out, head to head for 3 days bringing to the scales 15 fish each then to be separated by what would equal drops of water, this will go down as one of the most exciting weigh ins ever! Jordan was first congratulated by Lance in a very classy move, then handed the keys to the 2015 Yellowfin 21′ Hybrid boat, powered by Mercury’s 250 Pro XS motor and sitting on a custom AmeraTrail tandem axle trailer with custom rims and tires.
Inside the boat waiting for rigging was a brand new Minn Kota 36 volt, 112 lb thrust digital trolling motor, 6 blocks of Arctic Ice live well management cooling systems and other extras. The total value on this package was a cool $75,000.00 plus an additional $5,000.00 cash for having the big bag of the tournament. As the anglers, fans and friends converged on Clark the celebration was on. However, his family had stayed behind in Texas but was glued to their computer screens to see if their man would be the man on this day. Wow! Thanks for streaming this live so the girls and I could watch as we weren’t able to be there. Congrats Clark, the girls and I are so proud of you!!! Clark’s wife, Heather posted on The Elite Series Facebook Fan page just moments after the conclusion of the weigh in. In a follow up text later that day she sent the following, thank you so much for streaming live, girls and I couldn’t be there But we watched live and were screaming and yelling at the tv (u would have that we won the lotto). Proud wife!!!
What an awesome event and Clark did a fabulous job not only catching his fish but keeping them alive. Did you know with the 5 fish limit, again, for the 2nd year in a row our anglers only had a total of 3 fish expire during the 3 days of competition. That’s with 232 fish brought to the scales for a total weight of 1,582.85 pounds. That’s an average “per fish” weight of 6.74 pounds and an “average” weight of 54.58 pounds per competitor. Those are amazing numbers and an amazing job of getting those fish in, weighed and back in the water in great shape. Thank you anglers!
What a special event made more special by so many. Thank you to St. Bernard Parish, where the REEL adventure really does begin and continues. Thank you to the Marina Motel, Best Western Motel, Breton Sound Marina, The Louisiana Crawfish Festival, Chalmette, The Sheriff’s department, all those involved in the dinner and captain’s meeting at the civic center. Katie Tommasio and her great staff for their exceptional and hard work. Captain Brian Clark and his staff on the water making sure everyone was safe, Sheriff Pulmon, Colonel Mike and so many more. The St. Bernard Parish representatives are like family, they make you feel welcome, they feed you more than you should eat and they are always willing to do whatever is needed to ensure everyone, both locals and visitors a like have the time of their life in St. Bernard Parish. Thank you all!!!