Skip to main content

Faircloth Rises to Domination in Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament on Lake St. Clair

Faircloth Rises to Domination in Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament on Lake St. Clair
Faircloth Rises to Domination in Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament on Lake St. Clair

trasition time
Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, takes first. He brought a four-day total of 84 pounds, 7 ounces to the scales, winning his fifth Elite Series event. (Gary Tramontina/Bassmaster photo)

DETROIT — A thrilling and unprecedented conclusion to the 2015 Plano Bassmaster Elite at Lake St. Clair brought a new level of anticipation to the professional bass-fishing world.

Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, continued to improve his daily weights of bass and clinched the championship on Lake St. Clair.

Meanwhile, Aaron Martens caught 19 pounds, 6 ounces of bass Sunday, which was good enough for a sixth-place finish and the necessary points to lay early claim to the prestigious Toyota Bassmaster Anger of the Year title.


Faircloth spent the entire tournament building on the previous day’s weight by catching large smallmouth bass from Bell’s Hump, which is located on the Canadian side of Lake St. Clair.


“I wasn’t really fishing a specific spot, rather it was an expansive area that had all the right components to continue producing 20-pound bags each day,” the five-time Bassmaster Elite Series champion explained. “I felt a real freedom each day after putting about 19 pounds in the livewell. That freedom made it easy for me to explore more specific spots, and zero in on what I felt were the very best locations in my area.”

Faircloth brought 22-2 to the scales Sunday for a four-day total of 84-7, which bumped out Brandon Palaniuk, the leader on Friday and Saturday, by just over 6 pounds.

“I was fishing in 15 to 18 feet of water and I caught all my fish on a drop-shot this week,” Faircloth revealed.

The 13-time Bassmaster Classic contender said he caught the bulk of his fish on a Strike King Z Too soft jerkbait in the Arkansas Shiner pattern, which shares similarities with both gobies and perch.


The 2015 Elite season has been a tough one for Faircloth. He finished 9th-, 57th-, 84th-, 68th-, 96th-, 80th- and 17th-place before Sunday’s win on Lake St. Clair.

His career statistics will show how uncharacteristic those results are, but this victory put him back in the hunt for a berth in the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. By sitting in 40th place in AOY points, he now gets to fish in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for the championship Sept. 17-20.

“To come from behind and win this tournament means a great deal to me, but to make such a big jump in the points and continue my season in Wisconsin makes it that much sweeter.”


Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, dropped almost 6 pounds from Saturday’s weight, weighing only 14-1 on Championship Sunday. His four-day total was 78-6.

“I really felt that the fish I had been catching all week were going to be ready to eat as soon as I got there,” Palaniuk said. “It didn’t take very long for me to realize the fish had moved, and I made the decision to return to St. Clair.”

Palaniuk spent the tournament fishing the St. Clair River near Lake Huron, and he explained that he learned how the wind, current and freighter traffic affected the bass in his location.

“Every time a ship would pass through the channel, it would literally suck the baitfish off the spot and create a feeding frenzy,” he said. “Today’s traffic was very light and a factor that I think impacted my pattern.”

The 2013 Plano Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake St. Clair champion Chris Lane weighed the event’s largest limit of bass on Saturday, five fish totaling 24 pounds. His 19-2 limit today have him 77-8 and a third-place finish.

“My first day really set me back, I just didn’t capitalize on the bites,” said the 2012 Bassmaster Classic champion. “To come back to St. Clair and still have a shot at winning this thing was very exciting. Now I want to come back and see if I can keep my smallmouth momentum rolling.”

Rounding out the Top 5 were Chad Pipkens in fourth place with 77-2 and Greg Vinson in fifth with 76-4.

Martens’ came to win the Lake St. Clair tournament, however, with his points spread coming into this event, he knew claiming the AOY title early was a possibility.

“I made a few slight adjustments today by switching to a swimbait and I caught my best bag of the tournament,” said the newly crowned 2015 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year. “I am pretty excited to win Angler of the Year for the third time in my career! I love Sturgeon Bay and I can’t wait to fish there in September.”

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, will host the season-ending Toyota Bassmaster AOY Championship on Sept. 17-20, where the Top 50 pros will compete for shares of the $1 million purse as well as berths in the 2016 Classic.

Bonuses and Contingency Awards:

  • The $1,000 award for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points leader will go to Aaron Martens.
  • The Power-Pole Captain’s Cash will award $1,000 to Todd Faircloth.
  • The Evan Williams Bourbon Heavyweight Award of $1,000 for the angler with the heaviest five-fish limit during the tournament goes to Chris Lane for his 24-pound bag on Day 3.
  • The Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500 for the angler leading on Day 2 goes to Brandon Palaniuk.
  • The Bass Pro Shops Big Bass award of $1,500 for the heaviest bass weighed goes to two anglers: Faircloth (Day 3) and Palaniuk (Day 1). They each caught a 6 pound, 3 ounce bass.
  • The Toyota Bonus Bucks award of $3,000 for the highest placing eligible angler goes to Faircloth. The second highest placing angler, Palaniuk, is awarded $2,000.
  • The A.R.E. Truck Caps Top Angler Award of $1,000 will be awarded to Palaniuk for being the highest placing angler using A.R.E. products.
  • The Rigid Industries Big Fish Light Jackpot will rollover to the next event with a total of $1,500. An angler must weigh in the heaviest five-fish limit of more than 25 pounds.
  • The HUK Biggest Jump Award of $1,000 for the angler who made the largest jump in standings from Day 1 was awarded to Jason Williamson.
  • The Dick Cepek Tires Rolling Forward award for most placed climbed in AOY between Chesapeake Bay and Lake St. Clair will be finalized and awarded next week.

To view Day 4 standings, click here.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

Bear Archery's newest bows - Redemption EKO and Legit RTH - are light, adjustable and fast.

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021: Excalibur Crossbow, BowTech Bows, TightSpot Quiver, Ripcord Rests, Black Gold Sights

New for 2021 are several hunter-defined products, such as the Excalibur TwinStrike Crossbow, BowTech Solution and Solution SS Bows, TightSpot Pivot 2.5 Quiver, Ripcord Cage and Code Red X arrowrests, and Black Gold Pro FX and Pro Hunter HD sights.

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

Learn more about two new Elite Archery bows, the Enkore and Remedy, two new broadhead from Slick Trick and a new site from Custom Bow Equipment (CBE).

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near anything that fits in their mouths.5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures Catfish

5 Ways To Catch Catfish on Lures

Keith Sutton

As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near...

A new long-range hunting contender enters the fray.First Look: Winchester's New 6.8 Western Cartridge SHOT Show

First Look: Winchester's New 6.8 Western Cartridge

Drew Warden - January 19, 2021

A new long-range hunting contender enters the fray.

This Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe makes the perfect wild game sandwich. Elk burger patties are accompanied by melted Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, and Thousand Island dressing and then pressed in between two toasted and golden brown pieces of rye bread.Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe Wild Game

Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe

Kristy Crabtree - October 27, 2020

This Elk Venison Patty Melt Recipe makes the perfect wild game sandwich. Elk burger patties...

Enjoy canned venison warmed or use it in stews, chili, and other hot dishes.Canned Venison Recipe Wild Game

Canned Venison Recipe

Raschell Rule - January 15, 2021

Enjoy canned venison warmed or use it in stews, chili, and other hot dishes.

See More Trending Articles

More News

Recent 13-pounder on Sam Rayburn could be start of awesome 2021.Texas Preps for Championship Year; Big Bass Season Already Underway Bass

Texas Preps for Championship Year; Big Bass Season Already Underway

Lynn Burkhead - January 14, 2021

Recent 13-pounder on Sam Rayburn could be start of awesome 2021.

Fake websites pretending to sell licenses have increased as state DNRs move to online fulfillment.Beware of Internet Hunting and Fishing License Sales Scams News

Beware of Internet Hunting and Fishing License Sales Scams

Andrew McKean - September 15, 2020

Fake websites pretending to sell licenses have increased as state DNRs move to online...

The previous record also was caught in the same Panhandle river.New State Record Flathead Catfish Caught in Florida Records

New State Record Flathead Catfish Caught in Florida

Game & Fish Staff - August 31, 2020

The previous record also was caught in the same Panhandle river.

Opponents say controversial proposed mine in Bristol Bay region would devastate fisheries.Pressure Mounts to Scuttle Alaska's Pebble Mine Project News

Pressure Mounts to Scuttle Alaska's Pebble Mine Project

Lynn Burkhead - August 20, 2020

Opponents say controversial proposed mine in Bristol Bay region would devastate fisheries.

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now