Cliff Prince Leads Day One of 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Lake Fork

Strike King
Power Pole
Bucks Skeeter Yamaha
Bucks Falcon Mercury
Lews Fishing

QUITMAN, Texas. — Early success gave Cliff Prince the comfort and confidence to look for the big bites he needed to amass an eye-popping Day 1 limit of 32 pounds, 5 ounces that leads the Simms Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork.

Bassmaster Elite Series 2022 Lake Fork Day One Leader Cliff Prince – photo by Seigo Saito – B.A.S.S.

Hailing from Palatka, Fla., site of the Elite season opener on the St. Johns River, Prince leads last year’s Lake Fork champion, local pro Lee Livesay of Longview, Texas, by 5 ounces.

“I had one place when I was working my way to the back of a pocket, and I caught 25 to 26 pounds off of that spot by about 9:30,” Prince said. “I caught everything I had off that first spot in about 20 minutes.

“I caught 10 fish there and they were still biting when I left.”

Knowing he had positioned himself well, Prince transitioned to a more aggressive strategy. Essentially, he became more discerning, as he sought quality over quantity.

Crowding throughout the lake, plus a strong Southwest wind blowing 15 to 20 mph, compelled him to remain in the creek where he started and diligently seek its greatest potential.

“Having 25 pounds early allowed me to go find what I found this afternoon,” he said. “I wasn’t in a hurry to go anywhere because I knew the wind was going to wipe out a lot of the stuff. I knew (big fish) live in that creek, and I knew it was the right place to be.

“I fished around in that area and tried to find something else and, late this afternoon, I tried to duplicate (my morning spot) and I ran across two other points that had some fish. On the second one I fished, I caught two 7-pounders. That’s what made the difference.”

Prince was understandably lean on details, but he did note that his morning and afternoon spots shared similar features. A particular type of bottom and specific positioning in the creek were key to his success.

Most of Prince’s bites came in 4 feet of water. Locating fish with his electronics helped him make the targeted casts that hit the right zone.

Prince said he caught a couple of keepers on a Carolina rig, but all of the bass he weighed bit reaction baits. He had two main baits — one with a moderate pace and the other, a faster presentation.

“The bigger fish like the faster bait better,” Prince said.

With Fork’s water level about 5 feet below normal pool, the lake’s fishable area has shrunk considerably. This definitely worked in Prince’s favor, as he found feeding competition whipping the concentrated fish into a frenzy.

“I used my Garmin Panoptix to see them,” Prince said. “Once you found where they were sitting, you could catch them. If they were there, they’d bite.”

Livesay is in second place with 32 pounds. While he fully expected to do most of his work in the 8- to 14-foot range during the afternoon period, Livesay ended up catching all of his weight around timber in the 18- to 25-foot range.

Fishing a 6th Sense Crush 300DD crankbait, a 6th Sense Divine Hybrid jig with a Netbait Paca Craw and a Hawg Caller Magnum Shaky Head with a 10-inch straight tail worm, Livesay anchored his bag with a 7-12. Once he reached 32, Livesay spent the rest of his day trying to find a bigger bite

“I needed a couple of 7-pounders to push my weight higher; I wanted to be closer to 35,” Livesay said. “I got lucky and caught some bigger fish than I thought I would on those mid-depth spots. I just had a good morning.

“After that, I went and looked at a bunch of other stuff, because eventually, I’m going to run out of fish. I left a bunch of fish biting in that mid-depth because I didn’t think I was going to catch the 7- to 8-pounder I needed.”

Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Ala., is in third place with 29-7. Patience and persistence proved essential for the two-time Elite Series Angler of the Year, who struggled to find a fishable spot much of the day.

“I spent a lot of gas trying to get on two spots — those were the only two I could fish,” Swindle said. “At one point, I spent an hour and five minutes running and never stopped and got on a place.

“I ran around a bunch and I knew it was going to be that way because I had a really late boat draw. Some of the spots are so small, even if someone tells you that you can (fish a spot they’re fishing), you can’t make the right cast.”

When Swindle finally found a spot he could fish, he caught his weight on crankbaits, jigs and big worms. Targeting a hard spot amid standing timber, he used his Garmin LiveScope in conjunction with Humminbird 360 to locate the right targets and monitor fish positioning.

Gary Clouse of Winchester, Tenn., is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with an 8-10 largemouth.

Prince is currently in the lead for the VMC Monster Bag.

Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, leads the Progressive Insurance Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings with 436 points. John Cox of DeBary, Fla., is in second with 429, followed by David Mullins of Mt. Carmel, Tenn., with 416, Drew Benton of Blakely, Ga., with 367 and Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., with 367.

Jay Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis., leads the Falcon Rods Rookie of the Year standings with 323 points.

Friday’s takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. CT at SRA Headquarters — Lake Fork. The weigh-in will be held at the same location at 3:10 p.m. Full coverage can be streamed on Bassmaster.com and FOX Sports digital platforms. Omnia Fishing and B.A.S.S. have partnered to simulcast Day 2 of Bassmaster LIVE as a shoppable stream on Omnia’s website and mobile app.

The Simms Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork is being hosted by the Sabine River Authority and Wood County Economic Development Commission.

2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Strike King, Triton Boats, VMC
2022 Bassmaster Conservation Partners: AFTCO, Yamaha Rightwaters

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S., which encompasses the Bassmaster tournament leagues, events and media platforms, 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 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), TV show, radio show, social media programs and events. For more than 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, St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series presented by Mossy Oak Fishing, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Strike King Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Abu Garcia Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Team Championship, Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series powered by TourneyX, Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk.

2022 Simms Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork 5/19-5/22
Lake Fork, Quitman  TX.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

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

1.  Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  32-05  100
Day 1: 5   32-05
2.  Lee Livesay            Longview, TX             5  32-00   99
Day 1: 5   32-00
3.  Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL         5  29-07   98
Day 1: 5   29-07
4.  Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  28-07   97
Day 1: 5   28-07
5.  Matty Wong             Honolulu, HI             5  27-11   96
Day 1: 5   27-11
6.  David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  27-07   95
Day 1: 5   27-07
7.  Shane LeHew            Catawba, NC              5  26-11   94
Day 1: 5   26-11
8.  Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  26-09   93
Day 1: 5   26-09
9.  Chris Johnston         Otonabee Ontario CANADA  5  26-04   92
Day 1: 5   26-04
10. Josh Douglas           Isle, MN                 5  25-05   91
Day 1: 5   25-05
10. Caleb Kuphall          Mukwonago, WI            5  25-05   91
Day 1: 5   25-05
12. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  24-12   89
Day 1: 5   24-12
13. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  24-11   88
Day 1: 5   24-11
14. Seth Feider            New Market, MN           5  24-05   87
Day 1: 5   24-05
14. Derek Hudnall          Denham Springs, LA       5  24-05   87
Day 1: 5   24-05
16. Jacob Foutz            Charleston, TN           5  24-00   85
Day 1: 5   24-00
17. Bryan New              Saluda, SC               5  23-07   84
Day 1: 5   23-07
18. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  23-06   83
Day 1: 5   23-06
19. Gregory DiPalma        Millville, NJ            5  23-05   82
Day 1: 5   23-05
20. Darold Gleason         Many, LA                 5  23-04   81
Day 1: 5   23-04
20. Jay Yelas              Turner, OR               5  23-04   81
Day 1: 5   23-04
22. Matt Robertson         Kuttawa, KY              5  23-02   79
Day 1: 5   23-02
23. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  22-14   78
Day 1: 5   22-14
24. Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA             5  22-04   77
Day 1: 5   22-04
25. John Cox               Debary, FL               5  21-14   76
Day 1: 5   21-14
26. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  21-08   75
Day 1: 5   21-08
26. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  21-08   75
Day 1: 5   21-08
28. Daisuke Aoki           Minamitsurugun Yamanash  5  21-06   73
Day 1: 5   21-06
28. Ed Loughran III        Richmond, VA             5  21-06   73
Day 1: 5   21-06
30. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            5  21-03   71
Day 1: 5   21-03
31. Marc Frazier           Newnan, GA               5  20-15   70
Day 1: 5   20-15
32. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  20-13   69
Day 1: 5   20-13
33. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            5  20-10   68
Day 1: 5   20-10
34. Pat Schlapper          Eleva, WI                5  19-07   67
Day 1: 5   19-07
35. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           5  19-05   66
Day 1: 5   19-05
36. Scott Canterbury       Odenville, AL            5  19-02   65
Day 1: 5   19-02
37. Cory Johnston          Cavan CANADA             5  18-14   64
Day 1: 5   18-14
38. Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK             5  18-13   63
Day 1: 5   18-13
39. Chad Pipkens           Dewitt, MI               5  18-12   62
Day 1: 5   18-12
40. Gary Clouse            Winchester, TN           4  18-11   61   $1,000.00
Day 1: 4   18-11
41. Cody Huff              Ava, MO                  5  18-07   60
Day 1: 5   18-07
42. Jeff Gustafson         Keewatin Ontario CANADA  5  18-06   59
Day 1: 5   18-06
43. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               5  18-02   58
Day 1: 5   18-02
44. Chris Zaldain          Fort Worth, TX           4  17-15   57
Day 1: 4   17-15
45. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           5  17-12   56
Day 1: 5   17-12
45. Clark Wendlandt        Leander, TX              5  17-12   56
Day 1: 5   17-12
47. Brandon Card           Salisbury, NC            5  17-04   54
Day 1: 5   17-04
48. Joshua Stracner        Vandiver, AL             5  17-02   53
Day 1: 5   17-02
49. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC             5  17-01   52
Day 1: 5   17-01
50. Matt Arey              Shelby, NC               5  16-15   51
Day 1: 5   16-15
51. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  16-13   50
Day 1: 5   16-13
51. KJ Queen               Catawba, NC              5  16-13   50
Day 1: 5   16-13
53. Hunter Shryock         Ooltewah, TN             5  16-12   48
Day 1: 5   16-12
54. Kenta Kimura           Osaka JAPAN              5  16-11   47
Day 1: 5   16-11
55. Drew Benton            Blakely, GA              5  16-10   46
Day 1: 5   16-10
56. Joseph Webster         Hamilton, AL             5  16-03   45
Day 1: 5   16-03
57. Bob Downey             Detroit Lakes, MN        5  16-02   44
Day 1: 5   16-02
57. Jacob Powroznik        North Prince George, VA  5  16-02   44
Day 1: 5   16-02
59. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  15-14   42
Day 1: 5   15-14
60. Brandon Cobb           Greenwood, SC            5  15-10   41
Day 1: 5   15-10
61. Mike Huff              London, KY               5  15-03   40
Day 1: 5   15-03
61. Patrick Walters        Summerville, SC          5  15-03   40
Day 1: 5   15-03
63. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  15-02   38
Day 1: 5   15-02
64. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  14-15   37
Day 1: 5   14-15
65. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  14-13   36
Day 1: 5   14-13
65. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland AUSTRALIA     5  14-13   36
Day 1: 5   14-13
67. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  3  14-10   34
Day 1: 3   14-10
68. Buddy Gross            Chattanooga, TN          5  14-07   33
Day 1: 5   14-07
69. David Williams         Newton, NC               5  14-05   32
Day 1: 5   14-05
70. Justin Atkins          Florence, AL             5  14-02   31
Day 1: 5   14-02
71. Jay Przekurat          Stevens Point, WI        5  14-00   30
Day 1: 5   14-00
72. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  13-10   29
Day 1: 5   13-10
73. Wes Logan              Springville, AL          5  13-08   28
Day 1: 5   13-08
73. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         5  13-08   28
Day 1: 5   13-08
75. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  13-04   26
Day 1: 5   13-04
76. Drew Cook              Cairo, GA                5  13-00   25
Day 1: 5   13-00
77. Masayuki Matsushita    Tokoname-Shi JAPAN       5  12-14   24
Day 1: 5   12-14
78. Scott Martin           Clewiston, FL            5  12-13   23
Day 1: 5   12-13
78. Frank Talley           Temple, TX               5  12-13   23
Day 1: 5   12-13
80. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX              5  12-10   21
Day 1: 5   12-10
81. Taku Ito               Chiba JAPAN              5  11-13   20
Day 1: 5   11-13
82. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             3  11-12   19
Day 1: 3   11-12
83. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           5  11-07   18
Day 1: 5   11-07
83. Alex Redwine           Blue Ash, OH             5  11-07   18
Day 1: 5   11-07
85. Michael Iaconelli      Pittsgrove, NJ           5  11-00   16
Day 1: 5   11-00
85. Koby Kreiger           Alva, FL                 5  11-00   16
Day 1: 5   11-00
87. Kyle Welcher           Opelika, AL              5  10-02   14
Day 1: 5   10-02
88. Justin Hamner          Northport, AL            5  09-02   13
Day 1: 5   09-02
89. Austin Felix           Eden Prairie, MN         3  08-14   12
Day 1: 3   08-14
90. Jonathan Kelley        Old Forge, PA            5  08-08   11
Day 1: 5   08-08
91. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              2  06-10   10
Day 1: 2   06-10
92. Bryan Schmitt          Deale, MD                3  06-02    9
Day 1: 3   06-02
———————————————————————–

PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
Day
1   Gary Clouse              Winchester, TN      08-10      $1,000.00

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Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        85       447      1676-05
———————————-
85       447      1676-05