TULSA, Okla. — Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss., now owns what only 33 others can claim: a Bassmaster Classic title.
On Sunday, Pace won the 43rd world championship of bass fishing, the 2013 Bassmaster Classic presented by Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. His prize for a three-day catch of 54 pounds, 12 ounces, was $500,000 and the most coveted trophy of the sport.
His victory on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees was wire-to-wire, although he shared the first-day lead with 2003 Classic champ Michael Iaconelli of Pittsgrove, N.J. On the second day, Pace stepped over the entire 53-angler field, surpassing his nearest challenger — Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho — by 7 pounds.
Sunday Pace took the win with a margin of 3 pounds, 4 ounces over Palaniuk, who had to settle for second when his hard charge proved to be unsuccessful.
“This is a gift that I will always cherish,” said Pace, 32, claiming his first Classic trophy in his fifth Classic appearance. “This is the ultimate high of a career, a life-changing moment.”