I Know Cliff Pace Won Classic on His Terms

I Know Cliff Pace Won Classic on His Terms
Cliff Pace celebrates his Classic victory. (James Overstreet photo)

Wrapping up a couple of things I know, or think I know from the 2013 Bassmaster Classic:

I know every year I walk away from this showcase event feeling it was better than the last. The only hiccup in that was the Chicago Classic, but I know even it had its redeeming moments.

I know regardless of where it’s held, fishing fans typically leave having a “that’s awesome” moment at some point and time. I think I know those moments were more numerous and more prolonged in this particular Classic.

I know there was truly something special about this Classic. I know you could feel it in the air. You could see it driving around Tulsa or Grove where businesses rolled out welcome signs on every block, with throngs of fans packing the BOK Center to the rafters.


I know it was the epitome of what a Classic is and should be, from the very beginning, all the way to the end with Cliff Pace hoisting the trophy over his head.


I know in the days since, Pace has taken a few hits for being what some think was unemotional or unexcited at winning this life-changing event. I know most people don’t know Cliff Pace very well.

I know what we saw from Cliff Pace was nothing more or nothing less than the real Cliff Pace. I know Cliff Pace was as giddy as he will ever be. I know he deserved, based on his skills as an angler, to hoist that trophy.

I also know Michael Iaconelli deserved to hoist that trophy in 2003. I know then there were folks who didn’t like his excited antics. But I also know, based purely on his angling skills, it was his trophy to hoist.

To those champions from 40 years ago, to those today, I know one constant remains: The guy who lifts that trophy deserves it. I know it is and has been their Classic to enjoy in any way they want.


I know to suggest anything otherwise is a disservice to our sport’s greatest title, which is and will always be a measure of fishing skills, nothing more, nothing less.

I know there is no angler as driven to succeed as Pace. I know when he was a teenager he worked seven days a week, 20 hours a day at two different jobs through the summer to save enough money to buy a bass boat. I know after the summer he came up a $1,000 short. I know his father surprised him by buying that bass boat but not before teaching him the ultimate lesson: To achieve something you have to work hard to get it.

I know Pace has been working at becoming the best bass angler there is and that is all that matters to him.


Because of that, I know we haven’t seen the last of Pace. I know he is regarded as one of the top five anglers on the Elite Series. I know his record is proof. I know every Elite angler believes he is an angler to fear in competition. I know now he has won, he will step up his game just like almost every other Classic champion to come before him.

I know fishing fans who paid attention to the final day watched Pace fight one of the more monumental battles in Classic history. I know he started the day with a 7-pound lead, and there were questions of him imploding by mid-morning when he only had two small keepers in his livewell.

I know it would have been easy for any man to implode under the heavy spotlight of what was taking place on the water. I know the mental toughness Pace owns pulled him through. I know the battle raging in his mind when things weren’t going his way showed us a strength we expect from our Classic champions.

I know when Pace won that mental battle he also learned what it truly means to hoist the Classic trophy.

I know when he held it above his head, I could see the smallest of smiles creep across his stoic face. I knew then the raging battle that occupied his brain hours earlier had been replaced with a euphoria most of us will never experience.

I know I witnessed one of the greatest anglers win the Classic and he did it on his terms. And that’s all I need to know.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

MLF BPT angler and former Classic champ Casey Ashley has been with Costa del Mar sunglasses his whole career. At ICAST 2019, he shows OSG writer Lynn Burkhead some new products and talks how to pick the right lens color for the water.

Mustad

Mustad's New Tungsten Weights

Long known as one of the world's premiere hook makers, Mustad's Reid McKinstry shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead that the company is now one of the leaders in making tungsten terminal tackle products for anglers.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures? Other Freshwater

5 Great Lures For Bluegills

Stephen D. Carpenteri - March 10, 2011

Who needs live bait when the big 'gills are so eager to strike these lures?

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the cooler.

By Other Freshwater

6 Tips for Nighttime Crappie

Keith Sutton - June 19, 2017

Fishing for nighttime crappie gets you out of the summer heat and puts more fish in the...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the Garden State's hottest bass fishing. Destinations

7 Best Bets for New Jersey Bass

J.B. Kasper - October 04, 2010

From Monksville Reservoir to Union Lake, plus five other picks, here's where you'll find the...

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Various companies show appreciation to frontline defense – healthcare professionals – against the pandemic with special giveaway. News

Outdoors Industry Honoring Healthcare Heroes: COVID-19

April 27, 2020

Various companies show appreciation to frontline defense – healthcare professionals – against...

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths. Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more trophies in these waters than just largemouths. Fishing

Chase a Mixed-Bag Bite at Lake Oconee

Larry Larsen - April 28, 2020

The The eastern Georgia lake may be best known for its bass, but anglers will find more...

See More Stories

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

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