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Fifteen Minutes with TFO’s Cliff Pace (Part 2 of 2)

This the second part of our interview with TFO advisory staffer and pro bass fisherman Cliff Pace. You can find part one here. Enjoy.

TFO: Back to your favorite way to catch bass, can you elaborate a little bit more on that?

CP: “A lot of people say topwater, and that is a very exciting way to catch them. If I had my druthers, I really like to fish structure out deep. Just because when you’re fishing that way, there’s the potential to find big groups of fish at certain times of the year. I like the bite. It’s pretty fun to me when I can catch fish and know that I can go back out there and catch another one. And another one. And another one. And another one. To me that’s the most fun you can have fishing that there is. If I had to pick one way that is my preferred preference, that would be it.”

TFO I’m sure you fish with people who are not professional anglers — friends, relatives, etc. — if you have to give someone like that advice on catching more fish, what would it be?

CP: “To improve on anything, and it’s not just fishing, you’re going to have to work on where your weaknesses are. As I just said, my favorite way to catch a fish is on deep structure. That type of fishing doesn’t even exist here. When I started fishing tournaments, I would actually drive after getting off work on a Friday afternoon north of here four, five hours away to where (deep structure) did exist, so I could work on it, practice on it and learn how to be successful doing it. It’s the same way with any sport. It’s no different from golf. If you can hit an awesome tee shot, but if you can’t putt, then you’re going to have to work on your putting and not concentrate so much on your tee shot. It’s the same way with fishing. The only way to get better with anything is to practice. The best way to become a better fisherman is to fish more. At the same time, if you feel like you’re a very good flipper, don’t pick up your flipping stick every time when you go fishing. Try to work outside your comfort zone. The whole purpose of doing that is your comfort zone will grow.”

TFO: Talk about the Pacemaker series of rods with TFO. I’m not asking you to brag on yourself, but now that you have a finished product with your name on it, what are you most proud of? I know I would be.

CP: “I am, too. That’s the first series of rods I’ve done in my career. It was good working with TFO. They didn’t put any time restraints or number restraints on it. They turned me loose working with their builder. … We have a very comprehensive series of rods in the TFO bass series. I truly believe that anywhere in this country that you’re going to bass fish, or no matter what technique you intend to use, I believe that there is a rod in this line that will fit that need perfectly. We don’t have any missing links. We don’t have any gaps. It was a well-thought-out project, one that we spent a lot of time on. You see a lot of rod builders and companies in general, I think they rush their design phase just to get a product on the shelf and the product ends up not being what it should be. I know I never experienced that working with TFO. TFO, I truly believe, builds one of the best fishing rods that there is, from a durability and value standpoint and also from a customer-service standpoint. From a customer-service standpoint, nobody can touch them. From a durability standpoint, I’ve fished an entire season with my rod and never broke one. I can’t say that about any rod company that I’ve ever used. Am I saying that TFO rods are unbreakable? Absolutely not. Am I saying that they are more durable than other rods on the market? Yes I am. They are more forgiving. And they still perform. There are a lot of things about that line that I’m very proud of and very impressed with.”

 

Thanks for reading! Be sure to checkout our Cliff-designed series of bass rods, the Pacemaker!

Fifteen minutes with TFO’s Cliff Pace (Part 1 of 2)

Cliff Pace is one of the best bass fishermen in the world. The Petal, Miss. resident has banked more than $1 million in career earnings and logged 25 top 10 finishes during his 15-year professional run. The 2013 Bassmaster Classic champion recently took a few minutes away from his busy schedule to chat with TFO blog editor Mike Hodge. Here’s what Pace, a TFO national advisory staffer, had to say during part one of a two-part interview.

TFO: What are your earliest memories of fishing as a kid?

CP: “I really feel like I lived a very fortunate childhood in the sense that I did get to spend a lot of my childhood in the outdoors. I had a dad who loved to fish, as well as friends of the family and uncles, people of that nature, who loved to fish as well. I really truly don’t remember fishing being a part of my life. … I grew up fishing with my dad and friends of my dad all up and down the Mississippi Gulf Coast. And we did a lot of different types of fishing. I grew up bass fishing, but I also did a lot of inshore saltwater fishing, so I was exposed to a lot of things (in the outdoors) at a very young age, and that continued throughout my entire life.”

TFO: When did you realize you wanted to be a pro fisherman?

CP: “For some reason it always struck me. I remember watching the Bassmasters on TV with the commentators years ago. It was on TNN. That was the Nashville network. Not even sure if that’s on or not anymore. I was always drawn to that being a career choice. That was before collegiate fishing tournaments and high school fishing tournaments. I grew up prior to that. For me, it was something I was drawn to do at a very, very young age. It was something that I always wanted to do. My parents thought I was crazy thinking that I would be able to make a living fishing. Somehow, through the grace of God, it’s all worked out.”

TFO: Was there one point in your pro career that you realized, ‘Hey, I can make a living doing this?’ I know there has to be a learning curve in the process? I know that’s got to be fairly steep because you’re going up against some pretty good competition, right?

CP: It is (steep). I was very fortunate in my fishing career that I managed, somehow, to win one of the first big tournaments that I fished. It was always something that I really wanted to do, but it’s also something that you never really know if it’s all going to work out. I just took the approach to work hard at it diligently. I still have that same approach now that I did then. Once I got out there and kind of got my feet on the ground competing in the tournaments against guys who were making a living doing it, I felt like it was something like I could for sure accomplish. I really devoted myself to trying to do so. Over time, I started fishing more and more events, I got more comfortable to where I am today. The struggle is the same now as it was then. That’s the thing about any competitive sport, you are never at a comfort point when it comes to the competition side of things. Our competition is better now than it’s ever been in our sport, because of some of the things I mentioned — the addition of high school fishing and collegiate fishing. People are fishing (competitively) at younger ages than they ever did before. People are taking it more seriously and looking at as a career choice and option, and therefore you have people who are getting better faster, which makes for a stronger competition field. I expect that field to get stronger throughout my career.”

TFO: Who was your mentor? Was there someone you tried to model yourself after?

CP: “I had a lot of guys who helped or coached me. I wouldn’t call it coaching. I had a lot of guys I could discuss things with and guys who helped me feel comfortable with what I was doing and gave me a sense that I could be successful with it. I was fortunate to meet Gary Klein and Mark Davis who helped me with things that I didn’t have answers to. Sometimes they didn’t either, things that you’re asking (about the learning curve). When it comes to the fishing side of it, typically you’re kind of on your own with that. It’s like a pitcher in baseball. He’s got to go out and throw the ball. You kind of have to take care of that on your own. I really think that with this sport or any other sport, that if you focus your time and effort on to that. … People ask me, ‘What’s the best way to get sponsored?’ Sponsors, yes, are a big part of making a living doing this. If you just take care of the fishing, the rest will take care of itself.”

TFO: That said, if someone wanted to take pro fishing as a career path, what advice would you give them? To focus on the fishing?

CP: “That would be my advice. And to put themselves out there and build a name for themselves. That’s what sponsorship is all about. Step one is being a person that sponsors would want to look at.

TFO: What’s your favorite way to catch bass? I know as a pro you have to be versatile, but what’s your preferred method when you get an opportunity to fish?

CP:  “My favorite way to catch a bass is however they’re biting.”

 

Be sure to check in next week as we conclude our two-part Q&A with Cliff Pace!

In the meantime, you can checkout our Cliff-designed series of bass rods, the Pacemaker!

TPM Pacemaker Bass Rods

Setting the Pace with Pacemaker Bass Rods

Designed by Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace, the TFO Pacemaker Series rods offers a wide arrange of action and technique specific tools for every angler from the hardened Elite Series pro to the weekend warrior.

This 14-rod family is composed of Cliff’s favorite rod lengths and actions, (both spinning and casting models).

Cliff’s series is a major jump forward in rod design, specifically directed to bass anglers.  The series ranges from his go to 7-foot crankbait rod for tossing his signature Black Label Tackle Ricochet squarebill crankbaits, to an 8-foot flipping stick for working thick, matted vegetation.

This series features TFO’s proprietary Tactical Series guides, rubberized reel seats for comfort and a natural cork split grip.

The Pacemaker Series of rods are tastefully finished; simply polished, with a thin layer of matte clear coat to enhance the natural luster of the fibers and TFO’s trademark Color ID Split grip.

Pacemaker rods retail for $189.95-$199.95.

For more information please contact Temple Fork Outfitters at, info@tforods.com or by telephone, (800) 638-9052.