So retaining the lead in a CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series event couldn’t have come at a better time for the pro, who held onto the lead on Day 2 of the Santee Cooper Showdown presented by MotorGuide on Santee Cooper Reservoir with a total of 68 pounds, 11 ounces.
Clark was followed by fellow big-bass specialist Kelly Jordon, who had 63-9.
Their handiwork and more will be aired on The CITGO Bassmasters Saturday, April 8, on ESPN2 at 10 a.m.
In similar fashion to Day 1 – when Clark boated two fish weighing 9 pounds apiece on his first two casts – the angler got off to an auspicious start on Friday by catching an 8-pounder on his third cast. With these bags, Clark is hunting the BASS record for the heaviest four-day catch, currently 108-12 and owned by Dean Rojas of Arizona.
“I have my eyes on that four-day record,” said Clark. “I started thinking about it really early after my fast start but I am gunning for that win first.”
A virtual Elite rookie – the angler isn’t ranked on the Bassmaster Elite Series Power Index because he hasn’t fished enough qualifying events - Clark is making a name for himself as a dangerous sight-fisherman.
He recently earned the BASS record for biggest bass ever caught at the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, an 11-10 lunker he found sight-fishing, and he also claimed the third heaviest one-day limit in BASS tournament history on Thursday.
While Clark relied on a push-pole to locate bedding fish on Day 1, he opted to long-cast at shallow pockets of water - roughly 5 to 7 feet deep - that were holding big bedding females.
Second-place Jordon, who moved up from fourth place, provided stiff competition. He won a 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Tour event on Santee Cooper Reservoir with 93 pounds, 13 ounces by sight-fishing and his current total of 63-9 put him on pace to demolish his former performance. But Jordon must still make up lost ground to Clark. “This is a fantastic fishery and I had a great day,” the 35-year-old said. “But I’m still behind and I have to try to make a big move tommorrow.”
Rounding out the top five on the pro side were Clark’s ex-fishing partner Floridian Terry Scroggins (61-2), Californian Skeet Reese (59-15) and Kentucky’s Kevin Wirth (59-5).
On the co-angler side leading the chase for a fully-rigged Triton boat valued at $45,000 was Californian Tom Frink (26-0), followed by Alabaman Charlie Raia (24-12) and South Carolina’s homegrown John Proctor (20-10).
Other notable anglers in the top 50 who made the cut and will fish on Saturday are Rojas (57-4) in seventh place, Elite Series Lone Star Shootout champion Greg Hackney (47-4) in 20th place and Elite Series Battle on the Border champion Ish Monroe (42-6) in 30th place.
“These weights are unbelievable,” Monroe said. “If you barely make the cut with the weight that I have, you are fishing the right tournament in the right place.” Local sponsors: Local sponsors include the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce.
CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series sponsors: Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Advanced Auto Parts and Theraseed®.
BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years.
BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms, BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.