Cliff Prince Leads Day One of 2018 Elite Series Opener at Lake Martin

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2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Lake Martin Day One Leader Cliff Prince – photo by Seigo Saito – Bassmaster

ALEXANDER CITY, Ala. — Conventional wisdom says one big bass per day will give you a good shot at winning a tournament on Lake Martin.

So, when Florida angler Cliff Prince caught a pair of giants on back-to-back casts Thursday, he needed a quick breather to collect himself.

One weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces, the other weighed 6-3, and they propelled Prince to a leading first-day weight of 19-13 in the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Martin presented by Econo Lodge.

“Back-to-back casts — it was unbelievable,” Prince said. “I had to sit down for a minute because I definitely wasn’t expecting it.”

Like many of the competitors in this week’s 110-angler field, Prince has very little experience on Lake Martin — and the three official practice days prior to the tournament weren’t exactly kind to him.

But before 9 a.m. Thursday, he idled past a spot that he recognized as a potential big-fish haven.

“I didn’t fish that spot in practice,” said Prince, who was tightlipped about exactly where and how he caught his fish. “But I knew I had gotten bit on another stretch like that. I figured if I caught a big one, it would be down that stretch — and I caught two.”

Unlike Prince, who has fished just 85 tournaments with B.A.S.S. — and none on Lake Martin — the two anglers just behind him in the standings have extensive experience on the fishery.

Takahiro Omori, a Japanese angler who now resides in Texas, earned checks in Bassmaster Invitationals held on Martin in 2001 and 2002. He also won an FLW Tour event on Martin in 2001, earning a $100,000 first-place prize.

Omori caught 18-2 Thursday to land in second place.

“I never even pre-fished this time, so it’s been at least 15 years since I was here,” Omori said. “I didn’t fish any of the same stuff from back then.”

His Day 1 performance, Omori said, far outpaced his practice results.

“I just had a great day,” he said. “My practice was only like 7 or 8 pounds a day. But today, I had a 5 1/2-pounder and a 4-pounder and caught maybe 10 more keepers. I had bites all day long.”

Kentucky angler Mark Menendez, who is in third with 17-9, has three checks in four previous B.A.S.S. events — and unlike Omori, he said he benefited Thursday from knowledge gained more than 15 years ago.

“I’ve spent my fair share of time here, and nothing’s changed,” Menendez said. “It’s the same old, same old.

“If there’s an area that you think you’re going to catch one in, you’ll go over there and catch one. Now, whether it’ll be a big one or not, that’s a roll of the dice.”

Menendez struck paydirt on the big-fish front twice Thursday.

“I had a 6-pounder and another one that was almost 5 — and on this pond, that really helps,” he said. “Anytime you get those bites here on Lake Martin, you’ve got to get them in the boat. They’re critical.”

Second-year Alabama pro Jesse Wiggins was fourth with 15-5, and California veteran Skeet Reese was fifth with 14-13. But the weights could change drastically throughout the leaderboard with a weather change in the forecast.

While Thursday was cool and mostly clear, warmer weather is scheduled to move into central Alabama with rain and thunderstorms the next three days.

Prince said he has a backup plan — just in case.

“It probably will change things,” he said. “But I’m catching them two different ways.

“I don’t know if I can duplicate what I did today, but I can at least catch some fish.”

The tournament will continue Friday, with the field being trimmed to the Top 51 for Saturday’s semifinal round. Only the Top 12 will advance to Championship Sunday with a chance to win the $100,000 first-place prize.

Daily takeoffs will be held at 6:15 a.m. CT from Wind Creek State Park with weigh-ins scheduled back at the park for 2:40 p.m.

The Alexander City Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event.

2018 Bassmaster Elite At Lake Martin Presenting Sponsor: Econo Lodge

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Berkley, Huk, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha, Abu Garcia

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Carhartt, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Phoenix Boats, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. 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), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For 50 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, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation Series presented by Magellan Outdoors, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

2018 Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake Martin presented by Econo Lodge 2/8-2/11
Lake Martin, Alexander City  AL.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

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

1.  Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  19-13  110
Day 1: 5   19-13
2.  Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  18-02  109
Day 1: 5   18-02
3.  Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  17-09  108
Day 1: 5   17-09
4.  Jesse Wiggins          Cullman, AL              5  15-05  107
Day 1: 5   15-05
5.  Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  14-13  106
Day 1: 5   14-13
6.  Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  14-09  105
Day 1: 5   14-09
7.  Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  14-08  104
Day 1: 5   14-08
8.  David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  14-05  103
Day 1: 5   14-05
9.  Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  14-01  102
Day 1: 5   14-01
10. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  13-15  101
Day 1: 5   13-15
11. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  13-10  100
Day 1: 5   13-10
12. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  13-09   99
Day 1: 5   13-09
13. Jonathon VanDam        Gobles, MI               5  13-08   98
Day 1: 5   13-08
14. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  13-06   97
Day 1: 5   13-06
15. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  12-15   96
Day 1: 5   12-15
16. Luke Clausen           Otis Orchards, WA        5  12-12   95
Day 1: 5   12-12
17. Mark Daniels Jr.       Tuskegee, AL             5  12-08   94
Day 1: 5   12-08
17. Chris Groh             Spring Grove, IL         5  12-08   94
Day 1: 5   12-08
19. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX              5  12-07   92
Day 1: 5   12-07
20. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  12-06   91
Day 1: 5   12-06
21. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  12-03   90
Day 1: 5   12-03
22. Alton Jones Jr.        Waco, TX                 5  12-01   89
Day 1: 5   12-01
23. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  11-14   88
Day 1: 5   11-14
24. Mike McClelland        Bentonville, AR          5  11-13   87
Day 1: 5   11-13
24. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  11-13   87
Day 1: 5   11-13
26. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  11-12   85
Day 1: 5   11-12
26. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  11-12   85
Day 1: 5   11-12
28. Roy Hawk               Lk Havasu Cty, AZ        5  11-11   83
Day 1: 5   11-11
29. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           5  11-09   82
Day 1: 5   11-09
30. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  11-08   81
Day 1: 5   11-08
31. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  11-06   80
Day 1: 5   11-06
31. Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL         5  11-06   80
Day 1: 5   11-06
33. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  11-04   78
Day 1: 5   11-04
34. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  11-03   77
Day 1: 5   11-03
34. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             5  11-03   77
Day 1: 5   11-03
34. Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         5  11-03   77
Day 1: 5   11-03
37. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  11-01   74
Day 1: 5   11-01
37. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  11-01   74
Day 1: 5   11-01
39. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  11-00   72
Day 1: 5   11-00
40. Dustin Connell         Clanton, AL              5  10-15   71
Day 1: 5   10-15
40. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  10-15   71
Day 1: 5   10-15
42. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            5  10-12   69
Day 1: 5   10-12
42. Brent Ehrler           Redlands, CA             5  10-12   69
Day 1: 5   10-12
42. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  10-12   69
Day 1: 5   10-12
42. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  10-12   69
Day 1: 5   10-12
42. Wesley Strader         Spring City, TN          5  10-12   69
Day 1: 5   10-12
47. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  10-11   64
Day 1: 5   10-11
48. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  10-10   63
Day 1: 5   10-10
49. Gerald Spohrer         Gonzales, LA             5  10-09   62
Day 1: 5   10-09
50. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  10-08   61
Day 1: 5   10-08
50. Fred Roumbanis         Russellville, AR         5  10-08   61
Day 1: 5   10-08
52. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  10-07   59
Day 1: 5   10-07
53. Shin Fukae             Palestine TX JAPAN       5  10-06   58
Day 1: 5   10-06
53. Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         5  10-06   58
Day 1: 5   10-06
55. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  10-05   56
Day 1: 5   10-05
56. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  10-04   55
Day 1: 5   10-04
56. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  10-04   55
Day 1: 5   10-04
58. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           4  10-04   53
Day 1: 4   10-04
59. Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             5  10-03   52
Day 1: 5   10-03
60. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  10-02   51
Day 1: 5   10-02
61. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  10-01   50
Day 1: 5   10-01
62. Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ             5  10-00   49
Day 1: 5   10-00
62. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  10-00   49
Day 1: 5   10-00
62. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  10-00   49
Day 1: 5   10-00
65. Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN          5  09-15   46
Day 1: 5   09-15
65. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  09-15   46
Day 1: 5   09-15
67. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  09-14   44
Day 1: 5   09-14
67. Darrell Ocamica        New Plymouth, ID         5  09-14   44
Day 1: 5   09-14
69. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         5  09-13   42
Day 1: 5   09-13
70. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  09-12   41
Day 1: 5   09-12
71. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  09-10   40
Day 1: 5   09-10
71. Ott DeFoe              Blaine, TN               5  09-10   40
Day 1: 5   09-10
73. Gary Klein             Mingus, TX               5  09-08   38
Day 1: 5   09-08
74. Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 5  09-07   37
Day 1: 5   09-07
74. Fletcher Shryock       Dennison, OH             5  09-07   37
Day 1: 5   09-07
74. Randy Sullivan         Breckenridge, TX         5  09-07   37
Day 1: 5   09-07
77. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  09-06   34
Day 1: 5   09-06
78. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  09-03   33
Day 1: 5   09-03
78. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  09-03   33
Day 1: 5   09-03
78. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  09-03   33
Day 1: 5   09-03
78. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       5  09-03   33
Day 1: 5   09-03
82. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  09-01   29
Day 1: 5   09-01
83. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  09-00   28
Day 1: 5   09-00
84. Bill Weidler           Helena, AL               3  08-13   27
Day 1: 3   08-13
85. Josh Bertrand          San Tan Valley, AZ       5  08-12   26
Day 1: 5   08-12
86. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  08-11   25
Day 1: 5   08-11
87. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  08-10   24
Day 1: 5   08-10
88. Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                5  08-09   23
Day 1: 5   08-09
89. Brandon Palaniuk       Hayden, ID               5  08-05   22
Day 1: 5   08-05
90. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  08-03   21
Day 1: 5   08-03
90. John Murray            Spring City, TN          5  08-03   21
Day 1: 5   08-03
92. Hunter Shryock         Newcomerstown, OH        5  08-01   19
Day 1: 5   08-01
93. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  08-00   18
Day 1: 5   08-00
94. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          5  07-15   17
Day 1: 5   07-15
95. Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN            5  07-14   16
Day 1: 5   07-14
96. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  07-12   15
Day 1: 5   07-12
97. Jacob Wheeler          Harrison, TN             5  07-11   14
Day 1: 5   07-11
98. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               4  07-11   13
Day 1: 4   07-11
99. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  07-09   12
Day 1: 5   07-09
100. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  07-06   11
Day 1: 5   07-06
101. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC             5  07-04   10
Day 1: 5   07-04
102. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  3  06-12    9
Day 1: 3   06-12
103. Kyle Monti             Okeechobee, FL           5  06-10    8
Day 1: 5   06-10
104. Jacob Powroznik        North Prince George, VA  4  05-15    7
Day 1: 4   05-15
105. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            5  05-12    6
Day 1: 5   05-12
106. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             4  05-12    5
Day 1: 4   05-12
107. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              4  05-01    4
Day 1: 4   05-01
108. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                2  04-05    3
Day 1: 2   04-05
109. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          2  03-13    2
Day 1: 2   03-13
110. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                3  03-08    1
Day 1: 3   03-08
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1       100       533      1139-10
———————————-
100       533      1139-10