The 41-year-old is just 16 pounds, 3 ounces away from breaking Dean Rojas’ BASS record for heaviest four-day weight, currently 108-12. With Clark’s dominating performance on three of the four tournament days, the rookie had a commanding 9-pound lead over West Coast mainstay Skeet Reese.
Clark’s possible record-breaking performance will be well-documented on The CITGO Bassmasters on ESPN2 Saturday, April 8, at 10 a.m. ET.
“With the wind blowing today, I didn’t even touch my best fish,” Clark said. “I have more big fish to start the day tommorrow than I have had all week. I am fishing for college educations tommorrow,” Clark continued, speaking of the triplets he and his wife, Katrina, are expecting in October. “I wanted to fish as a pro for so long and I am just living the dream right now.”
Much like Thursday, Clark used a push-pole to locate bedding fish. The increased wind made it necessary and Clark attributed much of his success using it as a navigational tool. Although Clark revealed that he used a ¼ ounce sinker and 20-pound line, he wouldn’t say which bait he found success with, though it’s been the same one for nearly the entire tournament.
Although Clark had a seemingly insurmountable lead, second-place angler Skeet Reese was not giving up Saturday. The Auburn, Calif., angler – who had a three-day total of 83-1 - remained consistent through the tournament and said he has chosen new water to fish on Sunday that could put pressure on Clark.
The 28th-ranked Power Index angler will start on a pair of large bedding fish he found traveling back in today.
With these tournament weights so massive, Reese is in the strange position of potentially breaking Rojas’ record, but still finishing in a distant second to Clark.
“I really want that record to fall because this is such a tremendous fishery,” the 36-year-old said. “After I started thinking about it a bit, I realized I had a chance to break that record too. I just hope it’s enough to win as well.”
Rounding out the Elite 12 were Alabama’s Steve Kennedy (83-0) just 1 ounce behind Reese; Kentucky’s Kevin Wirth (80-12); Florida’s Terry Scroggins (79-14); Lone Star Shootout Elite Series event winner Greg Hackney (78-7); 2004 CITGO Bassmaster Tour at Santee Cooper winner Kelly Jordon (78-6); Texan Dean Rojas (77-11); Virginia’s John Crews (76-8); 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year Aaron Martens (75-10); Arkansas’ Mike Wurm (74-5); and Idaho’s Bink Desaro (72-4).
Wurm snuck into the Elite 12 with a Saturday bag of 32-4, which secured him the BUSCH Heavyweight Bag and a $1,000 premium. Additionally, Wurm’s biggest bass (8-13) was good enough to split Purolator Big Bass honors with Martens and earn the Arkansas angler an extra $500.
On the co-angler side, Californian Tom Frink took home a Triton boat package with Mercury outboard valued at $45,000 with 34-11 after catching three consecutive limits. Frink was followed by Oklahoma’s Lance Peck (33-3) and Alabama’s Charlie Raia (29-7).
Rojas, who could potentially break his own record if he catches more than 30 pounds on Sunday, said he is resigned to his five-year record falling – to someone - tomorrow. “I am going down swinging,” the 10th-ranked Power Index angler said. “But I have to say, I think they are going to shatter that record tommorrow.”
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®.
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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.
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