UPCOMING EVENT: ABU GARCIA COLLEGE FISHING - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Pirch wins Walmart FLW Series event on Clear Lake

Pirch wins Walmart FLW Series event on Clear Lake
National Guard pro Clifford Pirch made steady improvements throughout the tournament and finished with a huge performance.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. - Team National Guard pro Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., caught a Western Division record-breaking five-bass catch weighing 37 pounds, 8 ounces Saturday to win $105,820 in the Walmart FLW Series National Guard Western Division tournament on Clear Lake with a four-day stringer of 20 bass weighing 97-8.

The catch gave him the win by a solid 10-pound, 14-ounce margin over Randy Mcabee, Jr., who caught a total of 20 bass weighing 86-10 and earned $40,410.

Pirch beat the previous Western Division heaviest bag record by 1 pound 12 ounces which was held by Sean Stafford. Stafford weighed in a 35 pound, 12 ounce bag that he caught at the California Delta in 2008.

"I just had an incredible day," said Pirch, whose biggest pro bag to date was about 27 pounds. "I don't know what they were . . ."

"Hogs!" replied the Clearlake audience.

"I just had a lot of fun! I was hooking a lot of catfish this week, I kept reeling the fish in, and I said, I think that's a bass! It was just a crazy day. I got the biggest bass about 9 a.m. and it was my third or fourth fish of the day. I was using Berkley jigs all week long and fishing outside rock piles about 15 - 26 feet deep."

Pirch opened the tournament in 41st place Wednesday with 5 bass weighing 17 pounds that he caught on gripper jigs. On Thursday he added another 5 bass weighing 19-10 using the same gripper jigs to climb in to 16th place. He then caught 5 bass weighing 23-6 on Friday to jump in to third place making the crucial top 10 cut. On Saturday he nailed his victory using Berkley football jigs.

Rounding out the top 10 pro finishers at Clear Lake are:

3rd: Jared Lintner, Arroyo Grande, Calif., 20 bass, 82.5, $32,328
4th: Jimmy Reese, Witter Springs, Calif., 20 bass, 78-10, $24,246
5th: Sean Minderman, Spokane, Wash., 20 bass, 77-12, $16,164
6th: Michael Tuck, Antelope, Calif., 20 bass, 77-2, $15,356
7th: William Gibbs, John Day, Ore., 20 bass, 77-2, $14,548
8th: Team Dunkin' Donuts Coffee pro Brett Hite, Phoenix, Ariz., 20 bass, 75-11, $13,739
9th: Gary Howell, Stockton, Calif., 20 bass, 75-8, $12,931
10th: Tommy Cardoza, Lakeport, Calif., 20 bass, 73, $12,123

Overall there were 50 bass weighing 204 pounds, 5 ounces caught by 10 pros Saturday. The catch included 10 five-bass limits.

Mike Folkestad of Orange, Calif., caught the biggest bass of the tournament in the Pro Division Thursday - a 9-pound, 10-ounce bass - that earned him the day's Big Bass award of $290.

The Land O' Lakes Angler of the Year Western Division title was announced Friday at the day 3 weigh-in ceremonies at Clear Lake. The Angler of the Year title annually goes to the FLW National Guard Western Division Series Pro angler who has the highest year-end point total in the standings at the conclusion of the regular season. Zack Thompson of Orinda, Calif., secured the crown at the Clear Lake event by a mere two points over Team National Guard pro Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif. Thompson had an incredible year with two of four Western Division tournament top 10 finishes, including his most recent seventh place finish which came last month at the California Delta.

"I have had an unbelievable year," said Thompson who was a bit disappointed in his 25th place finish at Clear Lake. "I pre-fished a little conservative for this tournament because I was trying to stay consistent and hold on to my points lead in the Angler of the Year standings. Being named Angler of the Year is really a dream come true for me; I am tickled to be standing here accepting this award."

Thompson, who was married in September, contributed much of his success to his wife's lucky snack bags. Prior to Friday's start "bass snack bags" including homemade cookies were distributed, for the second time by Thompson's wife, to each of the anglers in a tradition they are hoping to continue for a long time to come.

Thompson's AOY award earned him a trip to the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup which is being held in Atlanta, Ga., on Lake Lanier. Top point earners from the Walmart FLW Tour, Walmart FLW Series, Stren Series, Walmart BFL, and the National Guard FLW College Fishing National Champion all advance to the 2010 Forrest Wood Cup.

Mark Smith of Dana Point, Calif., won the Co-angler Division and $14,000 Friday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 56 pounds, 12 ounces. Rus Snyders of San Bruno, Calif. placed second with 15 bass weighing 52-6 worth $7,089. A complete list of co-angler results can be found at: http://flwserieswest.flwoutdoors.com/tournament.cfm?cid=11&t=results&tid=6155&tyear=2009&coangler=1.

Coverage of the Clear Lake tournament, hosted by the Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa, will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS, the network which brings anglers the best fishing programming on television featuring the most-trusted authorities on the water. The Emmy-nominated "FLW Outdoors," will air Nov. 22 from 12:30 to 1:30 ET. "FLW Outdoors," hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to approximately 500 million households worldwide, including internationally through agreements with WFN (World Fishing Network) and Matchroom Sport to such countries as Canada, Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoor-sports television show in the world

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player's Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.

Tags: press-release  2009-10-21-clear-lake 

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