LACROSSE, Wis., June 25, 2012– In what he described as one of the most mentally and physically challenging tournaments he’s ever fished, veteran Yamaha Pro Todd Faircloth held on Sunday to win the Bassmaster® Elite tournament on the upper Mississippi River by just over a pound. Bringing 14 pounds, 9 ounces to the scales the final afternoon, Faircloth finished with a four-day total of 62-4.
Faircloth’s Elite victory is the fourth win this season for Yamaha Pros. Other Yamaha Pros who have won this season include Alton Jones, Ish Monroe, and Brandon Palaniuk. Faircloth’s win also moved him into second place in the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year standings.
The one pound, four ounce victory, Faircloth’s third in Elite competition but first since 2008, was closer than the final weight appears, because he didn’t catch the winning fish until minutes before he had to return to the weigh-in. He’d entered the final day leading the 12-angler field by just seven ounces, and struggled much of the final afternoon.
“I’d caught about 12 pounds by 9:30 a.m., but then I just couldn’t get a bite, either with my topwater frog or by flipping, the two primary techniques I’d used all week,” explained Faircloth. “Then, with about 30 minutes of fishing time remaining, I discovered one of the bass in my livewell had died, which meant I’d also have four ounces subtracted from my total weight as a penalty.
“By that time I’d gone more than an hour without a single bite, and I was feeling sick because I knew the tournament would be really close. Any of the top 12 pros could win it with a single quality fish, so I decided to return to one of the areas where I’d been catching them earlier, and with about 15 minutes remaining, I caught a solid 3 ½-pounder by flipping. That was actually the bass that won for me, but out there on the water I still didn’t think it would be enough. Now, it’s like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.”
Yamaha Pro Cliff Pace, who brought in a four-day total of 61-0, recorded his second runner-up finish in consecutive pro fishing events. Pace, who is still looking for his first Bassmaster® Elite title, finished second at Toledo Bend earlier in June. Two other Yamaha pros, Bill Lowen and Dean Rojas, finished 7th and 8th respectively, with 57-10 and 57-7.
From LaCrosse, the pros travel several hours north to Green Bay, where practice begins Monday for the next Elite, scheduled June 28-July 1. The season concludes at Lake Oneida in Syracuse, N.Y. Aug. 23-26.
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