• Cliff Prince sets the hook on a three-pound bass. The Palatka angler is in 14th place after two days. (GREG WALKER / Special To The Daily News)
  • Friday’s big bass was this 10.4-pounder caught by Clifford Pirch of Payson, Arizona. (FRAN RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)
  • With another good showing on Friday, Chris Johnston moved into first place in the Bassmasters Elite Series tournament with a total weight of 47 pounds. (FRANK RUCHALSKI / Palatka Daily News)

Bassmaster Elite: 'Hump Day' Here For Fishermen

Field narrows to 10 after today's round; Canadian angler claims second-day lead with 47 pounds

Friday’s elimination round ended with 35 anglers making the cut for today’s round as the BASS Elite pros launched at safe light from Palatka City Dock to try and bring a five-fish limit to the scales to seal a top 10 spot for Sunday’s final round.

It’s “hump-day” for the survivors of Friday’s weigh-in at the Palatka Riverfront. The 25 below the cut number go home. The remaining 10 will be fishing Sunday for the first-place prize of $100,000.

The number of fish brought to the scales exceeded Thursday’s count, including a number of big fish. Thursday’s big bass was caught by John Crews Jr. of Salem, Virginia, weighing 11.2 pounds. Friday Clifford Pirch of Payson, Arizona, nearly matched that with a 10.4-pound largemouth.

Anglers reported the improved weather made the fishing better for many. Today’s weather is reported to colder, with increased winds. Cliff Prince of Palatka feels the wind may help him in some of the areas he fishing.

“When the water is slick like today in certain areas the fish won’t bite as well,” he said. “With some wind and ripple on the water they will chase the bait more often.”

Anglers remain closed-mouth for the most part about the where and how of their day, but they reported seeing more of the large female bass near on the beds. Some said they lost big fish, or have some spotted for today.

Friday’s stats recorded some big shifts up and down the sheet.

Day One leader Robbie Latuso of Gonzales, Louisiana, with 25.2 pounds dropped to ninth with a two-day total of 39.1 pounds. The big jump up the list was the 2016 winner of the Elite Series on the St. Johns River, Rick Clunn of Ava, Missouri. The four-time Bassmaster Classic winner came from 23rd place to fifth to post a total of 41.0 pounds.

When asked by tournament emcee Dave Mercer if lightning would strike again for him to win back-to-back Elites on the St. Johns. Clunn replied with a stone face, “I can do without lightning, but I can win.”

Chris Johnston of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. is leading with a total of 47.0 pounds, moving up from seventh.

Palatka’s Cliff Prince turned a good creel Friday to increase his total to 36.9 pounds and moved from a tie for 18th to 14th place.

“I feel good about today,” said Prince. “I have different areas to go to tomorrow.”

In the last qualifying spot was Jay Yelas of Lincoln City, Oregon. He made the cut moving from 36th to 35th.

Anglers return to the weigh-in today at Riverfront Park starting at 4 p.m. The public is welcome. Free admission. Food and merchandise vendors are on site.

Palatka Daily News

1825 St. Johns Ave.
Palatka, FL 32177
(386) 312-5200


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