Clifford Pirch’s bid to win the prestigious Forrest Wood Cup championships came up short, but he did manage a 25th place finish competing against the top 46 professional anglers in the world including four former Cup champions and three FLW Tour Angler of the Year title holders.
Competing in what is known as the “World Series of Bass Fishing” Aug. 9 to 12 on Lake Lanier near Duluth, Ga., the Payson pro boated his five fish limit on each of the first two days of the tournament, but their total weight wasn’t enough to earn him a top 20 ranking and a berth into the third day of competition.
On the first day, Pirch weighed in a limit of 9 pounds, 10 ounces and on the second day his catch tipped the scales at 9 pounds, 14 ounces for a two-day total of 19 pounds, 8 ounces.
To be ranked in the top 20 and earn the right to fish in the tournament on the third day, Pirch would have needed to exceed 19 pounds, 8 ounces, which is what 20th place Brent Ehrler boated.
Although Pirch would surely have liked to contend for the Cup title, he did earn $12,500 in prize money.
The Cup marked the culmination of the FLW Majors tour, but Pirch will continue to compete on the pro circuit at the BASS Southern and Northern Opens.
He will also compete in the Western Outdoor News (WON) U.S. Open, which he has won twice in the past.
Jacob Wheeler, 21, of Indianapolis, won the Forrest Wood Cup with a four-day catch of 60 pounds, 1 ounce.
Wheeler is the youngest angler in the history of the FLW to be crowned a Forrest Wood Champion. For his win, he received $500,000 in prize money.
The pro circuit upstart led the tournament standings from wire-to-wire bolstering his catch on the final day with 11 pounds, 15 ounces.
On day one, Wheeler topped the leader board with 21 pounds, 15 ounces, the largest single day weigh-in of the tournament.