RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. – Texan Kelly Jordon earned his spot in the Bassmaster Elite 50 series as the three-season points leader on the CITGO Bassmaster Tour and on Thursday, Jordon lived up to his reputation with a 16-pound, 1-ounce catch that boosted him to the top of the leaderboard halfway through the four-day event.

Jordon had been a close third place after Wednesday’s first round, and a good day of fishing gave him a two-day total of 32-5. On Friday, he and his 11 closest competitors will fish a Showdown-style format on waters that have been off limits during the first two days. The anglers will rotate through a designated series of fishing areas before a cut to the Super Six anglers for Saturday’s final round.

The format is popular with fans of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer, but Jordon confessed that he has gotten comfortable with the areas he has found on the larger lake.

“Man, I wish I could keep fishing out of here again,” Jordon said. “I was ready to weigh in at two today. I culled only one time after two today, so I was just kind of practicing around and I went to another spot that I had and I thought, ‘Man, this is pretty good. I’m going to spend my time here.’ I caught them flipping a Lake Fork Tackle Magic Shad.

“Fishing has just been awesome here, though. If this were a four-dayer, I think I could catch 16 pounds a day. Tomorrow will be pretty neat. I haven’t been back in the area. I may just run through the holes in there real quick and see what they look like, but I’ve never done a hole course before.”

Jordon’s fellow Texan Zell Rowland stayed solid in second place Thursday with a two-day weight of 31-6. Rowland, who has been swimming a prototype jig, was elated with the second place spot and is excited about getting in the six-hole course for Friday’s top twelve.

“I haven’t seen (the course), just what we’ve seen driving down the road,” Rowland said. “It looks really good. I don’t think anyone who’s made the cut has seen it that I know of. I’ll catch them regardless. It’ll probably be better (in that area) because the water will be a little bit clearer. The only thing that will hurt us fishing this other area is if we get a big wind because a lot of it’s open, but I’m looking for the guys to really catch them well tomorrow.”

Arizona’s Brett Hite also had a great day. Although Hite failed to make the cut for day three, he earned two $1,000 checks. Hite earned one check from Purolator for the Purolator Big Bass of the day and the other from Busch for the Busch Heavyweight of the day, awarded with the largest single-day catch. Hite’s 17-pound, 3-ounce sack was anchored by a 5-5 lunker. Hite and the other 37 anglers who didn’t make the cut will still have an opportunity to fish on Friday, but will be competing to improve their positions within the bounds of the 13th-50th spots.

All of the anglers shared one significant honor on Thursday: Mayor Raye Turner of Russellville presented the key to the city to the CITGO Bassmasters. Christine Godleski, vice president of ESPN Outdoors, accepted the honor on behalf of the anglers, who were busy competing.

Day three of the Bassmaster Elite 50 series gets under way Friday. Launch begins at 10 a.m. with weigh-ins starting at 7 p.m. at the Lake Dardanelle State Park Lodge.

Fans can catch the first event of the new Bassmaster Elite 50 series on Arkansas' Lake Dardanelle, Saturday, April 24 at 10:30 a.m. ET/9:30 a.m. CT on ESPN2.

Friday and Saturday, BASS will hold the Sponsor Expo. The Expo takes place from 3-8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday at the Lake Dardanelle State Park. Admission is always free.

The Bassmaster CastingKids program sponsored by CITGO will be held in conjunction with the BASS Sponsor Expo Saturday, April 17, from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. at the Lake Dardanelle State Park. Children between the ages of 7 and 14 can participate in the contest with the chance to earn a scholarship.

The event and instruction to youngsters will be facilitated by the local BASS Federation.

Following the Lake Dardanelle event, the four-event Bassmaster Elite 50 series travels the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway in Columbus, Miss., May 19-22, to Prattville, Ala., on the Alabama River, June 2-5, and concludes on the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers in Paducah, Ken. June 16-19.

BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass-fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.

Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail presented by Busch Beer include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Skeeter Boats, Mercury Marine, Yamaha Outboards, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Lowrance Electronics, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops, and BankOne.

Associate Sponsors include G3 Boats.

Local Sponsors include Russellville Advertising and Promotion Commission.

For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.