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Pace wins Bassmasters Classic, pockets $500K

Associated Press • May 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM

TULSA, Okla. — Cliff Pace won the Bassmasters Classic on Sunday, finishing with a three-day catch of 54 pounds, 12 ounces at Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. The 32-year-old Pace, from Petal, Miss., earned $500,000 for his first victory in the event. “This is a gift that I will always cherish,” said Pace, who claimed his first Classic trophy in his fifth appearance. “This is the ultimate high of a career, a life-changing moment.”Brandon Palaniuk, of Rathdrum, Idaho, was second at 51-8, followed by Hank Cherry, of Maiden, N.C., at 49-0. Pace overcame changing fishing conditions that included snow, rain and below-freezing temperatures, finishing at 21-8 Friday and 21-12 on Saturday before slipping to 11-8 on Sunday. He caught only four bass Sunday, one shy of the five-fish limit, and went 5½ hours without a bit. “Then I pulled up to a place and caught two on back-to-back casts. That gave me four,” Pace said. “My day today was really hard. I caught two in the first hour and didn’t get another bite until about 1:30.”Pace said his winning lures were Jackall jerkbaits — a Squad Minnow and a Soul Shad — and a Jackall DD Cherry crankbait in a crawdad color. He also used a half-ounce B&M Football Jig with a V&M Twin Tail trailer in green pumpkin. He dipped the trailer’s plastic tails in orange dye for greater visibility in the stained water.

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