Pace jumps into first-day lead of Elite Series event on Toledo Bend
Golden in 60th after first day of Bassmaster tournament
|Courtesy of B.A.S.S./Gary Tramontina|
Mississippi's Cliff Pace took the early lead in the Bassmaster Elite Series event the began today on Louisiana's Toledo Bend.
Mississippi’s Cliff Pace removed any doubt today (June 7) that the now-full lake would scatter the fish. Pace put together 23 pounds, 2 ounces to take the early lead in the tournament.
He was one of six pros who put together 20-pound stringers on the first day of competition.
Joining him in the 20-pound club was Denny Brauer (22-8), Brandon Palaniuk (21-2), Casey Ashley (20-13), Mark Davis (20-3) and Matt Heron (20-0).
High Point's Pat Golden landed in 60th with 10-3.
Click here to see full standings.
While Pace, well, set a brisk pace, the angler said putting the stringer together wasn’t easy.
“I can’t stand here and puff my chest up,” he said. “I just went out and fished hard and got big bites.
“I fished the same way I fished for three days (of practice) and got 10 bites (during that practice period). It was a grind.”
He said all of his fish came offshore, and fell for V&M football-head jigs. However, that’s about the only pattern he really could come up with.
“They were random bites,” Pace said.
He was unsure if he’d be able to replicate today’s success.
“Today is a day I’ll remember for a long time,” he said. I hope that I can continue to get those kinds of bites (tomorrow).”
Brauer also said he had no clue whether or not he’d remain in the top ranks of the field after a second day of competition.
“Those were the only five fish I put in the boat all day,” he said of his stringer.
The veteran pro said he a very difficult practice, but decided to focus on one offshore area after practice ended.
“It’s a spot,” Brauer said. “I like fishing patterns; I don’t like fishing spots, but I had a really, really tough practice and I got a couple of bites there — one was a good fish.”
Brauer said he was working a deep break with a ¾-ounce Strike King football-head jig, although he also had some success with a Strike King Series 6XD crankbait.
He said he’ll be back in that area — which he has all to himself — in the morning, and was hoping the early bite would provide a solid foundation on which to build his day.
“I never had a bite after 10:30 (a.m.),” he said. “I don’t know what the fish are doing.”
Palaniuk, winner of the Bull Shoals Elite Series stop back in April, was tight-lipped on how he caught his hefty sack of fish. However, he said he had identified a pattern he hoped would hold up.
“I was fishing a pattern, but today I changed things up within the pattern,” he said. “I fished new water.”
The key to his impressive sack of bass was that heftier fish turned on.
“During practice I caught 2- to 3-pound fish,” Palaniuk said. “Today I caught 3- to 4-pounders.”
The tournament continues through Sunday, with the field being cut to the top 50 after tomorrow.
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No one, including Howell really thought he had a shot.
“I didn’t expect to have the chance to win after the first day, and especially after yesterday,” Howell said.
But he whacked the bass today, putting 29 pounds, 2 ounces on the scales to seal the 2014 Bassmaster Classic championship and pocketing the $300,000 first-place prize.">Howell changes fishing area, claims 2014 Bassmaster Classic
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“I went to cranking rocks this afternoon,” Cherry said.
That strategy yielded quick results, and the Bassmaster Elite Series pro built a 17-pound, 7 ounce stringer.
But it wasn’t enough to make the cut: Cherry wrapped up the tournament in 27th place, only two places out of the cut.">Cherry improves weight, misses Bassmaster Classic cut
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Emcee Dave Mercer announced Evers needed 20 pounds, 9 ounces to claim the lead, and that’s exactly what the scales read.
The stringer brought Ever’s two-day weight to 47 pounds, 6 ounces.">Evers edges out Tharp for Day 2 lead in Bassmaster Classic
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“The fish are in some places I haven’t seen them in five to seven years,” the Florida pro said. “Every time I fish a tournament here this time of year, I make a point to check these places — and the fish haven’t been there in years.”">Tharp leads after first day of Bassmaster Classic
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“I had one pretty good day, and then I had two not-so-good ones,” Cherry said after leaving the weigh-in stage. “But after Wednesday I thought I was going to kill it;it was that good.”
Unfortunately, he was thrown a curve ball when a severe storm system rolled through the area and dumped inches of rain and kicked up high winds — a combination that turned all of Cherry’s spots to mud pits.">Cherry has tough day on Bassmaster Classic’s first day
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