Pace Wins the Bassmaster Classic

The top 25 anglers from the first two days of competition moved on to compete in the final day of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa, OK. The weather was very cold throughout the tournament, and made for tough fishing conditions. However, some anglers were able to figure the fish out and catch their limit each day of the event.In the end, Cliff Pace from Petal, MS, was able to bring in the largest overall weight and was crowned the 2013 Bassmaster Classic Champion. He was one fish short of the five fish limit, but it was enough to win the title with a total weight of 54lb, 12oz. He said that it was the toughest day he ever spent in his boat. He caught two fish early in the day and couldn't manage to get anything else until the afternoon."At 1:00pm, I actually kneeled down on my front deck and asked the Lord for guidance," Pace admitted. "With check-in time quickly approaching, I knew my best chance was going to a creek where I knew I could get a lot of bites. Sure enough, I made the run and caught two keepers on a football jig-no other bites, no nothing."He wasn't sure if he had enough, but is very thankful that he did. "I'm very blessed that everything worked out in my favor - this is my dream and a gift which I will never forget receiving."Brandon Palaniuk finished in second place with a three-day total weight of 51lb, 8oz. He changed techniques each day of the tournament, and on the last day he caught them all quickly in the morning. "It seemed like a really long day out there," explained Palaniuk, "because my bite died off pretty early. I just tried to keep my head down and fish as hard as I possibly could. I've been catching them on a Storm Twitch Stick, Rapala X-Rap and Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper."Hank Cherry struggled throughout the day, losing a couple of big fish. "Towards the end of the day, I pulled up on a bluff bank where I caught one in practice and caught a 5-pounder on my first pass. I kept seeing birds and dead shad so I worked up and down the stretch again and lost a 5-pounder and one between 7 or 8 pounds-right at the end of the day. It really hurts, but there are worse places I could be - I'm very thankful for this experience."In the end, Cherry managed to bring in enough to give him a total weight of 49lb - good enough for a third place finish.Michael Iaconelli fished what he called a "power fishing and finesse fishing combo". He switched back and forth from jerkbaits to grubs. "If they wouldn't eat a jerkbait on my first cast but I felt like they were there, I'd throw that Gripper Jig to finesse them into biting."This combo pattern earned Iaconelli fourth place with a three-day total of 48lb, 5oz.Mike McClelland rounded out the top five with a total weight of 45lb, 5oz. "My decision to stay in my areas on day one when it got slick calm instead of hunting active fish really hurt me," recalled McClelland. "I had a great weight on days one and three and instead of running around and finding more active fish on day two, I stayed in my areas and it really hurt me."
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