Timing – that was a common theme for day two of the Bassmaster Classic on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees. For day-two leader Cliff Pace, it seems that the timing for his first Classic win could be at hand.
Pace, who tied Mike Iaconelli for the day-one lead with 21 pounds, 8 ounces, added another 21-12 on day two for a 2-day total of 43-04 and a 7-pound lead. The Petal, Miss. pro fished a mix of jigs, jerkbaits and crankbaits and nabbed the day’s largest bass – a 7-pound, 2-ounce bruiser.
After a frigid and breezy first day, anglers saw warmer, flat conditions on day two. This made the bite tougher, as many fish relocated and became generally less aggressive. The key, most agree, was figuring out the cliched, yet appropriate “right-time, right-place” scenario. Without much wind to position baitfish and bass, anglers faced the mental chess match of anticipating their scaly opponent’s next move.
“Timing was very important,” Pace said. “I caught my biggest fish on a spot that I had fished earlier in the day and didn’t get a bite.”
Brandon Palaniuk, of Rathdrum, Idaho made a big move from 11th place to second and trails Pace with 36-04. Iaconelli, the 2003 Classic champ from Pittsgrove, N.J. slipped to third with 35-03. In fourth place, Hank Cherry of Maiden, N.C. had 31-12; Jason Christie, of Park Hill, Ok. took fifth with 31-05; and 4-time Classic winner Kevin VanDam rounded out the top-6 with 30-14.
The Bassmaster Classic continues with a final launch at 7 a.m. (CT) Sunday at Wolf Creek, in Grove, Ok. and the final weigh-ins at the BOK Center in Tulsa. Doors open at 3 p.m. You can watch the championship weigh-in live on Bassmaster.com beginning at 4:30 CST today (Sunday).