Payson Roundup columnist Clifford Pirch and his wife Alicia fished their way to a first-place finish at the AllStar Bass Couples Tournament held last week at Lake Pleasant.
The victory was the second of the AllStar season for the husband-and-wife fishing team.
In winning the tournament, the Payson couple weighed in a six-fish limit of 16.42 pounds. The catch included the competition's "Big Fish" a 7.90 largemouth.
Among the 28 limits weighed in, the fish was indeed a lunker. But when compared to a 12.5 pounder Pirch took from the waters of Lake Roosevelt as a 13-year-old, the bass was only average.
One of the secrets to winning the tournament, Pirch said, was fishing soft jerkbaits on mainlake points.
The win upped the Pirches' family budget by $2,900.
Next up for the championship team will be the final AllStar Bass couples tournament of the season June 16 at Roosevelt Lake.
Pirch, a former standout athlete at Payson High School, authors the "Fish and Tips" angling report that appears weekly in the Roundup and is also the owner and operator of Cliff Pirch's Guide Service.
The Pirches are sponsored on the bass tournament trail by Intermountain West Civil Constructors and Cliff's Guide Service
Wickenburg residents Paul and Debbie Jo Wright finished a distant second in the couples tournament, weighing in an 11.42-pound limit.
For the runner-up finish, the two received $1,170 in prize money.
According to AllStar spokesman Harry Morgan, the couple fished hard jerkbaits, ribbed worms and curltail worms on mainlake humps and points.
Third place, Morgan said, went to Valencia and Shannon Coppell for a 10.85-pound limit. The Gilbert residents received $500 for the bronze-medal showing.
Fourth-place honors and $425 went to Phoenix residents Allyn O'Neill and Randy Deifenbaugh for a limit weighing 9.59 pounds.
Mesa's Larry and Linda Hard finished fifth with a catch that tipped the scales at 9.39 pounds.
According to Morgan, the 92 contestants received cash and merchandise prizes totaling more than $9,500.
Call (480) 894-2775 for more information on the upcoming AllStar Bass couples tournament.