Clifford Pirch Leads Day Two of Elite Series Lake Havasu

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Bassmaster Elite Series Havasu Day Two Leader Clifford Pirch - photo by Seigo Saito - Bassmaster

Bassmaster Elite Series Havasu Day Two Leader Clifford Pirch – photo by Seigo Saito – Bassmaster

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — After two days, the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Havasu presented by Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels has turned into a neck-and-neck battle between two home-state pros with a star-studded cast lurking not too far behind.

Payson, Ariz., angler Cliff Pirch had an impressive catch of 19 pounds, 4 ounces Friday and took the lead with a two-day total of 36-12. John Murray of Phoenix, Ariz., caught 16-1 Friday to land in second, a little more than a pound back, with 35-9.

The anglers, who both have a long list of amateur victories on Lake Havasu, will lead the remaining field of 52 anglers into Saturday, as they brace for the lake’s legendary weekend boat traffic.

“The increased boat traffic may hurt me, I just don’t know,” said Pirch, who finished second in a Bassmaster Open event on Havasu in 2003. “It’s one of those things where you just hope you can make some adjustments and keep on fishing. It was tough out there today.”

Pirch’s biggest competition Friday wasn’t recreational boat traffic, but rather the high volume of Elite Series pros who were crowded into the areas he’s been fishing. He said the increased pressure, combined with several near misses on good fish early, almost caused him to lose focus.

“I cut one off on the first cast, and when I stood up from re-rigging, there were eight guys fishing around me,” Pirch said. “I was on kind of a community hole, and I got my head out of the game a little bit. I had to leave and go do some other stuff. But I finally got some things going, and it went really well after that.”

Pirch said anglers who spent Thursday sight fishing might have run out of fish and filtered into the area he was fishing Friday out of desperation.

“I had three to four times the guys on the areas where I wanted to fish today than what I had yesterday,” he said. “They didn’t have anything today, so the best thing to do is kind of see what other guys are doing.”

Though Pirch didn’t say exactly how he was fishing, he said he’s using a finesse tactic that requires a spinning reel and lighter line than the pros sometimes use on other fisheries where the water isn’t as clear. He lost four of the first five fish that bit Friday, and he’s being forced to handle every fish carefully.

Most of the bass he’s weighed this week have taken several minutes to land – and since B.A.S.S. rules prohibit a landing net, each has been an adventure.

“These are postspawn fish that aren’t really weighing what they should,” Pirch said. “But they’re big-framed fish, and you have to take it easy with them.”

One of the few anglers in the field this week with as much experience on Lake Havasu as Pirch is Murray.

The 50-year-old angler, who said Thursday he has been fishing the lake since 1985, amended that to 1978 Friday, remembering he caught his first-ever tournament bass on Havasu when he was still in high school.

He spent Thursday fishing areas he’s known for years and caught a good bag of 19-8 despite not finding bunches of fish in any one area. He did the same thing Friday and added 16-1 to his total.

Just as he embraced the high winds on Thursday and Friday, he said he’s actually looking forward to the flood of recreational boat traffic Saturday.

“You’ll start hearing the boats fire up about 10 o’clock, and that’s when the fish turn on,” Murray said. “They like the boat traffic. The boats spook the shad and all the other baitfish, and the bass start biting. Until you start hearing the big boats start, it won’t get right.”

Murray said his fish came from random areas Friday, just as they did Thursday. That worries him heading into Day 3.

“It always scares you, because you don’t have one place you can go,” Murray said. “But tomorrow’s Saturday, so I know I’ll be getting a check. Today, I was stressing. Tomorrow, I’ll fish a little more relaxed.”

All of the 52 anglers who qualified for Saturday’s semifinal round will all earn at least $10,000, but only the Top 12 from Saturday’s weigh-in will advance to Sunday’s championship round with a chance to compete for the $100,000 first-place prize.

Behind Pirch and Murray are Edwin Evers (34-8), Matthew Herren (33-0), Brandon Palaniuk (32-14), Chris Lane (32-9) and Randy Howell (32-4).

Pirch, as the leader on the second day of the tournament, will be awarded the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500.

Saturday’s take-off is scheduled for 6:15 a.m. PT from Lake Havasu State Park, with the weigh-in scheduled back at the park at 3:15 p.m. PT.

2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: A.R.E. Accessories, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk Performance Fishing, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

2015 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Havasu presented by Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels 5/7-5/10
Lake Havasu, Lake Havasu City  AZ.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 2

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ              10  36-12  100     $500.00
Day 1: 5   17-08     Day 2: 5   19-04
2.  John Murray            Phoenix, AZ             10  35-09   99
Day 1: 5   19-08     Day 2: 5   16-01
3.  Edwin Evers            Talala, OK              10  34-08   98
Day 1: 5   20-07     Day 2: 5   14-01
4.  Matt Herren            Ashville, AL            10  33-00   97
Day 1: 5   18-09     Day 2: 5   14-07
5.  Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID            10  32-14   96
Day 1: 5   14-06     Day 2: 5   18-08
6.  Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL        10  32-09   95
Day 1: 5   15-05     Day 2: 5   17-04
7.  Randy Howell           Springville, AL         10  32-04   94
Day 1: 5   15-07     Day 2: 5   16-13
8.  Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ             10  32-02   93
Day 1: 5   16-03     Day 2: 5   15-15
9.  Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX               10  31-15   92
Day 1: 5   17-12     Day 2: 5   14-03
10. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL        10  31-13   91
Day 1: 5   18-03     Day 2: 5   13-10
11. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL               10  31-10   90
Day 1: 5   15-04     Day 2: 5   16-06
12. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL         10  31-06   89
Day 1: 5   17-15     Day 2: 5   13-07
13. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC          10  31-03   88
Day 1: 5   15-02     Day 2: 5   16-01
14. Mike Kernan            Wylie, TX               10  31-02   87
Day 1: 5   18-02     Day 2: 5   13-00
15. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN          10  31-00   86
Day 1: 5   14-12     Day 2: 5   16-04
16. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX               10  30-12   85
Day 1: 5   15-04     Day 2: 5   15-08
17. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK             10  30-09   84
Day 1: 5   14-09     Day 2: 5   16-00
18. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL             10  30-08   83
Day 1: 5   16-03     Day 2: 5   14-05
19. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO        10  30-08   82
Day 1: 5   15-12     Day 2: 5   14-12
20. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA       10  30-06   81
Day 1: 5   15-02     Day 2: 5   15-04
21. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT           10  30-03   80
Day 1: 5   15-14     Day 2: 5   14-05
22. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL              10  30-03   79
Day 1: 5   14-09     Day 2: 5   15-10
23. Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA       10  30-02   78
Day 1: 5   13-14     Day 2: 5   16-04
24. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL            10  30-01   77
Day 1: 5   17-13     Day 2: 5   12-04
25. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC             10  30-01   76
Day 1: 5   15-06     Day 2: 5   14-11
26. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL        10  29-13   75
Day 1: 5   15-15     Day 2: 5   13-14
27. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA             10  29-09   74
Day 1: 5   12-06     Day 2: 5   17-03
28. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX              10  29-09   73
Day 1: 5   16-11     Day 2: 5   12-14
29. Jared Miller           Norman, OK              10  29-09   72
Day 1: 5   13-07     Day 2: 5   16-02
30. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                 10  29-09   71
Day 1: 5   16-00     Day 2: 5   13-09
31. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR         10  29-08   70
Day 1: 5   16-11     Day 2: 5   12-13
32. Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA        10  29-06   69
Day 1: 5   16-05     Day 2: 5   13-01
33. David Walker           Sevierville, TN         10  29-05   68
Day 1: 5   14-12     Day 2: 5   14-09
34. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN           10  29-03   67
Day 1: 5   15-10     Day 2: 5   13-09
35. Casey Scanlon          Lanexa, KS              10  29-01   66
Day 1: 5   16-07     Day 2: 5   12-10
36. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY           10  29-00   65
Day 1: 5   12-09     Day 2: 5   16-07
37. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                10  29-00   64
Day 1: 5   14-05     Day 2: 5   14-11
38. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA             10  28-15   63
Day 1: 5   12-12     Day 2: 5   16-03
39. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL         10  28-12   62
Day 1: 5   15-01     Day 2: 5   13-11
40. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN           10  28-10   61
Day 1: 5   13-14     Day 2: 5   14-12
41. Chad Morgenthaler      Coulterville, IL        10  28-08   60
Day 1: 5   13-11     Day 2: 5   14-13
42. Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN         10  28-05   59
Day 1: 5   14-06     Day 2: 5   13-15
43. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA              10  28-03   58
Day 1: 5   15-09     Day 2: 5   12-10
44. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX         10  28-03   57
Day 1: 5   13-10     Day 2: 5   14-09
45. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR           10  28-02   56
Day 1: 5   12-02     Day 2: 5   16-00
46. David Williams         Maiden, NC              10  27-12   55
Day 1: 5   16-08     Day 2: 5   11-04
47. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN           10  27-12   54
Day 1: 5   15-05     Day 2: 5   12-07
48. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA            10  27-09   53
Day 1: 5   14-07     Day 2: 5   13-02
49. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL            10  27-08   52
Day 1: 5   16-11     Day 2: 5   10-13
50. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ    10  27-08   51
Day 1: 5   14-01     Day 2: 5   13-07
51. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       9  27-07   50
Day 1: 4   11-03     Day 2: 5   16-04
52. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI           10  27-07   49
Day 1: 5   11-15     Day 2: 5   15-08
53. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX              10  27-06   48
Day 1: 5   14-07     Day 2: 5   12-15
54. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ         10  27-04   47
Day 1: 5   13-08     Day 2: 5   13-12
55. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL           10  27-00   46
Day 1: 5   14-08     Day 2: 5   12-08
56. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR           10  26-15   45
Day 1: 5   14-11     Day 2: 5   12-04
57. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA 10  26-10   44
Day 1: 5   11-09     Day 2: 5   15-01
58. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            8  26-08   43
Day 1: 5   17-06     Day 2: 3   09-02
59. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH    10  26-01   42
Day 1: 5   08-04     Day 2: 5   17-13
60. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK               10  26-01   41
Day 1: 5   15-05     Day 2: 5   10-12
61. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL          10  26-01   40
Day 1: 5   13-15     Day 2: 5   12-02
62. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX        10  25-14   39
Day 1: 5   12-00     Day 2: 5   13-14
63. Kevin Hawk             Guntersville, AL        10  25-12   38
Day 1: 5   16-04     Day 2: 5   09-08
64. David Smith            Del City, OK            10  25-12   37
Day 1: 5   14-06     Day 2: 5   11-06
65. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK           10  25-08   36
Day 1: 5   13-10     Day 2: 5   11-14
66. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC          10  25-06   35
Day 1: 5   11-05     Day 2: 5   14-01
67. Kurt Dove              Del Rio, TX             10  25-04   34
Day 1: 5   13-07     Day 2: 5   11-13
68. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX              10  25-02   33
Day 1: 5   13-03     Day 2: 5   11-15
69. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC          10  24-15   32
Day 1: 5   14-06     Day 2: 5   10-09
70. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL           10  24-15   31
Day 1: 5   12-03     Day 2: 5   12-12
71. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS        10  24-14   30
Day 1: 5   12-14     Day 2: 5   12-00
72. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               8  24-13   29
Day 1: 3   06-00     Day 2: 5   18-13
73. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR         10  24-05   28
Day 1: 5   14-05     Day 2: 5   10-00
74. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL             10  24-04   27
Day 1: 5   12-15     Day 2: 5   11-05
75. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS               10  23-15   26
Day 1: 5   12-06     Day 2: 5   11-09
76. Ken Iyobe              Tokoname  Aichi JAPAN   10  23-14   25
Day 1: 5   12-02     Day 2: 5   11-12
77. Zell Rowland           Montgomery, TX           8  23-11   24
Day 1: 5   15-09     Day 2: 3   08-02
78. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR         10  23-11   23
Day 1: 5   10-02     Day 2: 5   13-09
79. Kenyon Hill            Norman, OK              10  23-11   22
Day 1: 5   12-02     Day 2: 5   11-09
80. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             9  23-07   21
Day 1: 4   08-14     Day 2: 5   14-09
81. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         9  23-04   20
Day 1: 4   10-01     Day 2: 5   13-03
82. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL           10  23-04   19
Day 1: 5   10-15     Day 2: 5   12-05
83. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC               10  23-03   18
Day 1: 5   11-09     Day 2: 5   11-10
84. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                8  22-15   17
Day 1: 5   12-07     Day 2: 3   10-08
85. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              9  22-14   16
Day 1: 5   12-12     Day 2: 4   10-02
86. Randy Allen            Shreveport, LA          10  22-13   15
Day 1: 5   13-05     Day 2: 5   09-08
87. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN        10  22-13   14
Day 1: 5   11-02     Day 2: 5   11-11
88. Byron Velvick          Boenre, TX               8  22-06   13
Day 1: 3   06-05     Day 2: 5   16-01
89. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL            10  22-06   12
Day 1: 5   12-15     Day 2: 5   09-07
90. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              8  22-05   11
Day 1: 3   07-05     Day 2: 5   15-00
91. Kevin Ledoux           Choctaw, OK              9  21-10   10
Day 1: 4   10-05     Day 2: 5   11-05
92. Nate Wellman           Newaygo, MI             10  21-01    9
Day 1: 5   10-10     Day 2: 5   10-07
93. Scott Ashmore          Broken Arrow, OK         9  20-14    8
Day 1: 5   10-15     Day 2: 4   09-15
94. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA         10  20-12    7
Day 1: 5   10-05     Day 2: 5   10-07
95. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  8  20-05    6
Day 1: 5   12-08     Day 2: 3   07-13
96. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                8  19-13    5
Day 1: 3   07-01     Day 2: 5   12-12
97. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                7  19-10    4
Day 1: 2   04-02     Day 2: 5   15-08
98. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR            6  19-07    3
Day 1: 5   15-12     Day 2: 1   03-11
99. Jordan Lee             Vinemont, AL             8  19-02    2
Day 1: 5   12-09     Day 2: 3   06-09
100. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                8  19-01    1
Day 1: 3   07-04     Day 2: 5   11-13
101. Matt Lee               Auburn , AL              8  18-11    0
Day 1: 3   06-10     Day 2: 5   12-01
102. Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH           9  18-07    0
Day 1: 5   09-09     Day 2: 4   08-14
103. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           9  17-08    0
Day 1: 5   08-04     Day 2: 4   09-04
104. Joseph Sancho          New Windsor, NY          7  16-12    0
Day 1: 3   05-08     Day 2: 4   11-04
105. Hank Cherry Jr         Maiden, NC               9  16-10    0
Day 1: 4   08-06     Day 2: 5   08-04
106. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             7  15-12    0
Day 1: 2   05-07     Day 2: 5   10-05
107. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              6  14-08    0
Day 1: 4   09-08     Day 2: 2   05-00
108. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        8  14-07    0
Day 1: 3   04-11     Day 2: 5   09-12
109. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  13-09    0
Day 1: 5   13-09     Day 2: 0   00-00
110. Stephen Longobardi     Northford, CT            5  12-14    0
Day 1: 2   03-15     Day 2: 3   08-15
111. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            6  12-06    0
Day 1: 3   05-11     Day 2: 3   06-11
112. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               2  03-03    0
Day 1: 2   03-03     Day 2: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        93       524      1457-04
2        96       524      1422-05
———————————-
189      1048      2879-09