A few days after his finishing up the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, TFO advisor Cliff Pace took inventory of his performance.
Third place isn’t too bad. Not at all.
“Any time you give yourself an opportunity to win on our level, (it’s good),” Pace said. “I did that. I just came up a little short in total weight. All in all, it was a good week to finish third and get the big fish of the weekend. That was a neat deal. Given that, it’s hard to complain, but yes, you do always want to win. Third is better than fourth.”
It was Pace’s first top-three Bassmaster finish since 2013. He will head to his next tournament with an extra $30,000 and a new Toyota Tundra after landing the event’s biggest bass during the May 17-20 affair.
“Momentum creates confidence, and confidence is good in anything from a competitive aspect,” Pace said.
Pace totaled 61 pounds, 12 ounces, trailing only Drew Benton (67 pounds, 15 ounces) and Jacob Wheeler (64 pounds, 8 ounces).
The key to his success? Versatility.
“I fished smarter,” Pace said. “I have multiple different patterns that will work, depending on the weather scenarios. You see a lot of guys who will have a really good day and then a really bad day. I had enough different things going on where I could be consistent each day. A lot of guys will catch fifteen pounds one day, then eight the next. I was able to stay in the teens every day. Over four days, you add up the numbers and it etches you up the list. A lot of guys they had the deep pattern going, then we had the overcast skies, and they weren’t as successful. I had enough things going on with the event to make it work with the changing conditions.”
Pace’s biggest bass weighed 10 pounds, 5 ounces. He caught it using a TFO Pacemaker 747 with a Carolina rig and a Drop Shad in about 25 feet of water. He boated it within the first 10 minutes of fishing on the first morning.
“What it does is it gives you confidence in what you’re doing,” Pace said. “It makes you believe what you’re doing is the right thing, so I could settle down and fish and fish more effectively and efficiently. That’s what you want to do — find the right thing. But if you settle on the wrong thing, there’s danger in that. Catching a big one like that gives you faith in the area of the lake that you’re fishing.”
Lake Travis, located near Austin, is known for its water clarity and its stout population of bucket-mouth bruisers.
“That lake has a lot of big fish in it,” Pace said. “There were four fish over eight pounds in the tournament.”
Next up for Pace is the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite in Orange, Texas on June 7-10, as he tries maintain momentum for the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year honors. He currently stands in second behind Brent Chapman
“To win that would be a very big deal,” Pace said. “It’s something I’ve worked for my whole career. I’ve gotten close a couple times. I’ve never been able to pull off winning it. It’s a little too early in the year to be thinking about it. I’ve gotten off to a very good start. It definitely feels good to be in position the rest of the year.”
Check out the TFO blog for more info as we follow Cliff on the Bassmaster circuit.