Competing for the first time as a team, newlyweds Clifford and Alicia Pirch fished their way to a first-place finish at the AllStar Bass Couples tournament contested Saturday at Apache Lake. For the win, the Pirches pocketed $2,405 in prize money.
The gold-medal pair weighed in a six-fish limit of 14.73 pounds which included the tournament's biggest bass a 6.04 pound largemouth.
The Pirch's strategy included fishing the north side of the main basin with spinnerbaits, crawdad crankbaits, jerkbaits and Texas-rigged worms.
Longtime Rim country sports fans might remember Pirch as a former Payson High School wrestling, track and cross country standout.
After graduating from PHS in 1994, Pirch attended Northern Arizona University where he met his wife. They married last fall.
Pirch currently operates Copper State Guides, a hunting and fishing guide service.
According to AllStar officials, a field of 53 couples braved the cold temperatures at launch time.
The daughter-father team of Andie and Jeff Mason of Gilbert finished second. The two weighed in a limit of 13.51 pounds including a 3.67 pounder. Their prize money totaled $1,800. The two fished chunk rock banks from the marina to Burnt Corral with jerkbaits, spinnerbaits and crankbaits.
The next AllStar Bass Couples tournament is scheduled for Feb. 10 at Bartlett Lake. Call AllStar at (480) 894-2775 for more information. To reach Pirch at Copper State Guide Services, call (520) 978-3518.