Payson Fishing Duo Cops Bronze

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The fishing team of Clifford Pirch and Reese Randall caught only two fish, but the combined weight of the bass was enough for a third-place finish in the Allstar Bass Tournament March 19 at Apache Lake.

One of the two largemouth bass weighed in by the Rim country duo tipped the scales at 4.46 pounds and was the tournament's "Big Fish" winner.

Pirch and Randall's total catch was 6.20 pounds and worth $1,625 in prize money.

The prize total included money for third place, big fish and winning an "option" or sidebet with 10 other anglers.

According to Allstar Tournament Director Tom Stiles, a cold front, rain showers and 60 degree water made the fishing tough for all anglers. Only half of those who entered weighed-in fish.

Pirch agreed that the miserable weather was a reason for the poor fishing, but also cited a "fish kill" last spring as another reason.

"They had some algae or something in the lake that killed off a lot of fish," he said.

Keith Hunsinger and Tracy Purtee also represented the Rim country, finishing seventh with 4.18 pounds and earned $650.

The tournament champions, Joe Hawks of Apache Junction and Joe Eagar of Mesa, were one of the few teams to catch a six-bass limit. The two weighed in 9.47 pounds and received a $1,400 first-place award.

According to Stiles, the champions slowly fished drop-shot and split shot worms on secondary points in 5 to 10 feet of water in the Big Bend and Turtle Island area.

Pirch and Randall flipped and pitched jigs around tullies in the upper lake area.

The team is sponsored by Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Tempe Marine, Castaic Soft Baits, Rouge Rods, McCoy Fishing line, Antich Development, Intermountain West and Payson Sawcut.

The next Allstar Bass team Tournament is April 16 at Lake Pleasant.

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