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Yamaha Pro Cliff Pace Wins 2013 Bassmaster Classic®

Posted 2/25/2013

Tulsa, Okla., February 25, 2013 – Yamaha Pro Cliff Pace, describing his day on the water as one of “the toughest days I’ve ever had,” boated only four fish weighing 11 pounds, eight ounces Sunday but they were enough for the Petal, Miss. angler to claim bass fishing’s biggest title, the Bassmaster Classic world championship.  He finished with a three-day total of 54-12.

Pace outdistanced three other Yamaha Pros en route to winning.  They included runner-up Brandon Palaniuk, who weighed in 51-8; rookie Hank Cherry, 3rd, with 49-0; and 2003 Classic champion Michael Iaconelli, who finished 4th with 48-5.  

“My day started good,” explained Pace, a five-time Classic qualifier and runner-up in the 2008 event, “and I caught a nice bass at each of my first areas.  Then I fished for six hours without catching anything.  Finally, about 1:30 this afternoon I caught two more.  Those were the only strikes I had all day. 

“The lack of wind also dictated our lure choices,” added Palaniuk, who in just three Classic appearances has notched 2nd and 4th place finishes.  “A lot of anglers came here planning to fish jerkbaits, which are normally excellent cold water lures, but they’re much more effective in windy conditions because it brings bass up off the bottom where they can find the lures easier. 

Pace, who led or shared the lead all three days, fished three primary lures during the tournament, a jig, a crankbait, and a jerkbait; on Sunday, he said, the jerkbait bite was non-existent for him and forced him to rely more heavily on his jig.  He caught the majority of his fish less than 10 feet deep on small, rocky points at the mouths of creeks and coves where they had stopped en route to shallow spawning flats. 

“I was extremely fortunate in how things worked out,” said Pace.  “I visited Grand Lake in early December just before the lake went off-limits, and spent two days just looking for places I thought bass might be now in February.  I never picked up a rod or made a cast, but instead, studied my electronics and mapped about 150 waypoints on my GPS. As it turned out, the bass were exactly where I thought they would be, but they were certainly more difficult to catch than I anticipated.”

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