When it comes to bass fishing in the month of May, Texas angling pro Kelly Jordon loves to wet a line.
Because according to the Flint, Texas veteran of the Bassmaster Elite Series and Major League Fishing tours, there are few better times to fish on North and East Texas water bodies.
And that includes his home water of Lake Fork, the lunker factory near Quitman where Jordon loves to toss a variety of baits this month ranging from a squarebill crankbait to a buzzbait to a hollow bodied plastic frog.
“On Lake Fork, every fish in the lake is biting in May, or so it seems,” said Jordon. “You’ve got a few fish still on the beds, although most are done. And the ones that are done, they are getting ready to move out and put on the feed bag.”
While Jordon loves to chase bass keying on the late spring shad spawn, he really loves to toss one of his Lucky Craft Kelly J double prop topwater baits up into the skinny water.
Especially when there is a bluegill spawning bed or two somewhere nearby.
“It’s really hard to beat my Kelly J prop bait this month,” said Jordon. “It’s like poison to that big female, she really likes to eat bluegills.”
KJ, the first professional angler to win tour level events on the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit, the FLW Tour and in Major League Fishing, says that bass also love settling the score with bluegills that were raiding largemouth spawning beds just a few weeks ago.
“It’s payback time, that’s one of the reasons that those big females like to stay shallow this month and feed on bream,” said Jordon.
For the popular East Texas pro, the key is to find an area of bluegill beds where the sunfish are performing their own springtime spawning rituals.
“If I had my pick, I’d pick the biggest bream bed on the lake (this month) because you will always catch a few bass around those beds,” said KJ, winner of four B.A.S.S. events and nearly $1.6 million in tournament earnings.
Typically, he looks for bedding bluegills somewhere on shallow flats, near boat docks, underneath willow tree branches hanging out over the water, holes in grass beds, etc.
“In some spots, it will look like the bottom of the lake has been carpet bombed,” said Jordon, a one time winner on the FLW Tour. “It looks like a honeycomb of sorts and some of these bedding areas can be really big, maybe 20 feet across.
“You can see them pretty readily on your side imaging,” he added. “And the bigger the area of bluegill beds is, the better, because you know there’s a bigger colony of sunfish in there. And the more sunfish there are, the more bass will be targeting them.”
As mentioned above, Jordon is especially partial to the Kelly J around such bream beds, thanks to its three-inch long topwater profile and deeper body that sits down in the upper layer of the water column.
“It sits just right in the water and the bass can really see it,” said KJ, winner of the 2014 MLF Challenge Cup event on Lake Ray Roberts and Lake Grapevine.
“Those props on the bait make some pretty good noise as they turn,” he added. “On the retrieve, you just pull it in, then stop and let it sit for a brief second or two.
“Then you pull it just hard enough to throw some spray before letting it sit again. And when those blades start to turn just a little bit more, bass will often come unglued.”
What color prop bait does Jordon like to throw?
“Ghost bluegill is my favorite,” said KJ, a nine-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier and a two-time Forrest Wood Cup qualifier. “It’s kind of green with vertical bars and some translucent colors that look really natural.
“And I always make sure that the baits I’m throwing around bream beds have some orange on them,” he added. “Sometimes, I’ll take out a pen or some dye and put a little orange on the belly since most bluegills have that color on them somewhere.
“A little orange is almost always a good color choice for a bluegill bait.”
To throw his Kelly J prop bait around bream beds, Jordon will opt for a Duckett Fishing Micro Magic medium action baitcasting rod in either 6’1” or 6’6” lengths.
To that, he’ll typically use a high speed Duckett baitcasting reel spooled up with monofilament line, either in 17 or 20-pound test.
What he won’t use is fluorocarbon line since it sinks or braid since it can create some unruly messes if it gets tangled in the props of the Kelly J lure.
A final consideration for Jordon is to remember to target this particular bite pattern more often than just the early morning hours.
“When the bass are on it, the bluegill bed bite will go on all day,” said KJ. “In fact, sometimes this bite even gets better in the heat of the day.”
A time of day when a Kelly J prop bait erratically chugs along, eventually disappearing in a late spring explosion of water.
Which is an exciting geyser of spray that reminds us all about why we started fishing for bass in the first place.