A Payson angler who bought his first bass boat with money earned from collecting and selling elk antlers is set for his second season on the prestigious Wal-Mart FLW tournament series and tour.
Clifford Pirch, accompanied by his wife and two children, will set out Jan. 3 for the FLW events that will have him competing, over the course of six months, at tournaments in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and New York.
Last year, Pirch made his debut of the FLW circuit, turning in a personal-best fourth-place finish at the Wal-Mart Open Powered by Tyson on Beaver Lake near Rogers, Ark.
The showing earned the Payson fisherman the largest single payday of his professional career -- $40,000.
The finish also earned Pirch plenty of nationwide attention. As a final round qualifier, he was featured extensively May 8 on a tape-delayed television broadcast.
Following the tournament, Pirch said he was taken aback by the attention that goes into fishing in the FLW.
"I had to adjust to the whole ‘hat-cam' thing," he said.
Prior to his fourth-place finish, Pirch was 86th at a Ouachita River tournament and 101st at Lake Toho.
The 2006 FLW series Pirch is set to compete in will feature five events that qualify anglers for the new $2 million 2007 Forrest Wood Cup that will have $500,000 as the top prize.
Every FLW series tournament will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net as part of the FLW Outdoors broadcast every Sunday to about 80 million homes around the country.
If Pirch can finish among the top 100 pros in the series, he will earn priority entry into the 2007 series.
When not on the national circuit, Pirch fishes in local tournaments and has been a consistent money winner on the AllStar Bass Team circuit.
In December, he teamed with longtime friend Reese Randall to finish third and earn $1,680 in prize money. The two have also recently enjoyed AllStar paydays of $2,900, $2,300 and $1,625.
Pirch said he enjoys local tournaments but is also eagerly looking forward to traveling East to test his skills against some of the nation's best anglers.