In Week 55, Gerald Swindle laid down the gauntlet ・he playfully accused fellow Lucky Craft pro Kelly Jordon of "pen-hunting." We finally caught up with Jordon and informed him of those charges and he had a few "Swindlisms" of his own in response.
Not only that, he had something to say about nearly every member of Team Lucky Craft.
On Gerald Swindle
"Gerald's just got a good case of 'deer-envy,'" Jordon said. "Matter of fact, Gerald himself got his biggest buck ever out of one of those 'pens.' For him to say what he said is downright funny ・I don't care who you are.
"The smallest pen (high-fenced ranch) I've hunted, if you want to call it a pen, is 4 square miles. The largest was 17 square miles. Yep, that's got 'em pretty 'hemmed up,' wouldn't you say? (laughs) That must be a little too small for the G-man. He must think he could go out there barefoot in face paint and buckskin bowleggings and cover that much land in about a day."
While Jordon didn't match Swindle's 10-deer tally for the year, he said that was partially by design. "I'm not as mad at them as Gerald. I just love being in the field. The deer I took were all management harvests. I got two does with a bow and two 8-point cull-bucks. I took what the ranch foreman asked me to take for the betterment of the deer herd on the ranch.
"I didn't have the opportunity to harvest a mature trophy buck this year. To me, it's not about the number that you shoot, but quality time in the field and just seeing some magnificent animals. I had the biggest buck I've ever seen within bow range, but he wasn't mature enough to harvest yet. He was 4 1/2 years old and that particular ranch doesn't take any trophy bucks until they are at least 5 1/2 years old.
"He was bigger than anything Gerald has ever taken, but I let him walk," Jordon added. "Just seeing him up close was enough to get my heart racing and leave me with a memory I'll never forget. I hope I see him in a year or two ・he's going to be an absolute monster."
On Marty Stone
"Stone Cold Marty Stone," Jordon said. "Did you see that episode of Classic Patterns where he was fishing somewhere in North Carolina and he caught a pretty good one on a jerkbait? He called it an 8, and by summer it had grown to a 9, but the cameraman told me it was more like a 7 1/2.
"He said something like, 'Here you go, Kelly Jordon and Lake Fork, just try to get yourself a big one like this.' I hadn't seen the show yet but people called me and told me about it. Ignorance is bliss. I just laughed and shook my head ・a mouth writing a check that's about to be bounced out of the park.
"Anyone who challenges the reputation of Lake Fork as a big-fish factory, especially when you're fishing in North Carolina, is like getting in the ring with Mike Tyson and telling him he talks funny."
Jordon soon got a chance to better Stone's catch. "Soon after that I was filming a show on Lake Fork. We'd missed the best window (for big fish) by a few weeks, but Marty knew I was filming and he knew he was still in trouble. The week before, he started calling and emailing, asking how the fishing was. He knew he was going to get train-wrecked.
"The evening before we filmed the show, Scott Rob, the camera guy, caught a 9-15, his personal best. The day we filmed the show was a day after a big front and the really big fish were gone. I still caught some 5s, some 6 1/2s, 7s and an 8 that we weighed and measured for Marty's benefit.
"I've caught a truckload of bass over 10 pounds and a mountain over 8 pounds, and when that one jumped I knew it was an 8-pounder. I said, 'Marty, this is what an 8-pounder looks like.' It was 24 inches long and very thick, and we put it on the scale. He's so lucky that the really big boys didn't come out to play that day, it would have been ugly.
"Marty called me that night, he wanted to know if I'd caught them," Jordon added. "I told him he'd have to watch the show. Unable to stand it, he called everyone on the Classic Patterns staff and somebody finally cracked and spilled the beans. He kept debating with the cameramen that his big bass was bigger than my authenticated 8-pounder."
On Skeet Reese
"Skeet was the first guy to wrap his entire truck with only his name," Jordon said. "It was the "Skeet Reese" truck. Maybe he did that so he'd never lose his truck in the parking lot, but who knows?
"I dared Marty Stone to sign his name on the side of the truck too. We were going to take Sharpies and sign Skeet's truck. I'll give Marty a little credit here, he was all ready to sign it, but no one else would.
"Some guys when they hear Skeet talk on TV, call him Mr. Monotone, but he doesn't throw any jabs (like Gerald and Marty).Skeet is an awesome fisherman. He has made as many or more cuts than anybody in recent years."
On Takahiro Omori
"Takahiro's an amazing individual. He's a self-made man, living the American dream. It's amazing how well he speaks English. He didn't know any when he came here but it was just total immersion. He lived out of a van for a long time, then 7 to 10 years ago he came to Fork, got a camper and honed his skills.
"He knew it was the best fishing in the country. He could've moved to Alabama like a lot of pros, where it's a 1-day drive anywhere you want to go, but he knew Fork was the place to improve his fishing.
"Everything he's got, it's been by sheer determination and effort. He has more drive than anyone else on the planet."
On Mike Auten
"Mike's an excellent businessman, public speaker and polished professional," Jordon said. "He's our high-tech guru. Actually, his wife Becky holds it all together. She's a genius. They've put together some Power Point presentations that are as good as anything you'd see at a top corporation.
"You watch his 'Classic Patterns' show, and then another fishing show comes on afterwards and by comparison it looks like it was shot with a home camera. He's a perfectionist, pays attention to detail and knows the industry inside and out.
"He started at a young age ・he's a contemporary of KVD ・and he's had success in tournaments but he hasn't broken out. His effort to make Lucky Craft look good has taken away from his fishing, but I think he's comfortable with that. Each Lucky Craft pro owes him an extreme debt of gratitude. And he's also on the board of the PAA. I'm glad to call him a friend."
On Joe Thomas
"Old Joe, talk about Heartbreak Hotel," Jordon said. "He's had more disappointments than anyone else. A few years ago he was the last guy in the Classic through the E50s, and then a guy got DQd for fishing in an off-limits area and Joe got knocked out. To make the Classic and then 30 minutes later you're out, it'll tear your heart out.
"But he's had great success, too. Talk about somebody who's put in the effort. He's been around probably 20 years, and is one of the most recognizable pros around."