• After bringing in the big catch of the day with this 10-pound, four-ounce bass on Friday, Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., had the biggest overall five-fish catch of the day Saturday, bringing in 34 pounds and 9 ounces to move into fifth place overall going into today's final round of the Bassmaster Elite Series championship on the St. Johns River. (GREG WALKER / Special To The Daily News)

Canadian angler leads Bassmasters Elite going into final day

The third day of the Bassmasters Elite Series championships on the St. Johns River saw movement among the remaining anglers.

At the end of the day, Canadian Chris Johnston remains the angler everyone is chasing after.

Johnston, a Petersboroguh, Ontario resident, kept getting better with each day of the four-day event. On Saturday, Johnston weighed in his five-fish creel at 28 pounds, 13 ounces to maintain his lead at 75 pounds, 13 ounces, going into today's last round. 

Meanwhile, Patrick Walters of Sumterville, S.C., let himself be heard as he brought in the second-biggest creel of the day at 32 pounds and 15 ounces to move to 70 pounds and five ounces. Mark Menendez of Paducah, Ky., who was in second behind Johnston after the second day, didn't quite have a huge day, but he remained consistent, bringing in 23 pounds and seven ounces to bring his total to 69 pounds and 5 ounces. Chris Johnston isn't the only Johnston near the top of the leaderboard – his brother, Corey, from Cavan, Ontario, made a strong jump up the standings, with a five-fish catch of 27 pounds, 13 ounces to move into fourth at 68 pounds, 13 ounces, though seven pounds behind his brother.

Rounding out the top five in the standings is the angler who had the biggest catch on Friday – Clifford Pirch of Payson, Ariz., who topped his 10-pound, 4-ounce bigmouth bass catch by catching 34 pounds and nine ounces worth of bass on the overcast day to move up to 68 pounds, nine ounces.

The field was cut down to 10 anglers for today's final round, and among those who made it to today are Rick Clunn, the 2016 champion on the the St. Johns the last time the event was held here, and first-day leader Robbie Latuso. Clunn, of Ava, Mo., is in eighth place at 64 pounds, and Latuso, of Gonzalez, La., was in ninth at 63-11.

One of the 25 anglers who got cut out of Sunday's action as the field shrunk from 35 to 10 was Palatka's Cliff Prince. In 14th place going into Saturday, Prince did not have the best of luck with him and brought in just 17 pounds and 12 ounces to get to 54-5, dropping him into 17th place.

The final day begins early morning as the sun rises and anglers will compete until mid-afternoon when they bring their catches in for the final 4 p.m. weigh-in at the Palatka city docks next to the bridge.


Palatka Daily News

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