Longtime friends Clifford Pirch and Reese Randall, both former Payson High School wrestling standouts, have teamed up to win bass tournaments since the two first returned to the Rim Country from their years as students at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
Their dedication to angling first turned evident more than a decade ago when one, or both, were spotted driving to the NAU campus -- from a weekend stay in Payson -- hauling a bass boat.
The pair's skills have paid huge dividends in tournament wins including capturing the championship of the AllStar Bass team tournament held Dec. 2 at Roosevelt Lake.
Their winning catch of a whopping 19.40 lbs. was almost eight pounds more than that of the runner-up team of Dean DeWitt and Wes McCracken of Cottonwood.
In Pirch and Randall's catch was a 6.46 largemouth that was the event's Big Fish prize winner.
For the first place finish and the Big Fish, the team shared $4,850 in prize money.
According to AllStar spokesman Tom Stiles, Pirch and Randall fished jerkbaits, spoons and Texas-rigged creature baits on points in the Tonto Creek arm and around the Windy Hill area.
Pirch and Randall entered the tournament as the 2002 and 2006 AllStar Superteam champions. In capturing their most recent title in September, the two received a $22,000 state-of-the-art bass boat and $2,250 in prize money.
In 2005, the pair turned in outstanding season winning pots of $2,900, $1,625, $2,300 and $1,680.
Pirch and Randall have also both fished the prestigious EverStart Western U.S. tournament trail and Pirch is a regular on the FLW tour competing in New York, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky.
On the AllStar circuit, they are sponsored by Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Tempe Marine and Rogue Rods.
More Rim anglers
Also in the Dec. 2 AllStar tournament, Andy Shelton of Tonto Basin teamed up with Rod Nelson of Buckeye to finish fourth overall and pocket $1,110 in prize money.
Brian Daniels and Gary Sent, the 2006 AllStar Team Anglers of the Year who have been featured in Dennis Pirch's Outdoors Under the Rim column, in the Payson Roundup were sixth and earned $1.025.