Faircloth Surges to Victory at Bassmaster Elite Series Event on Lake Amistad

DEL RIO, Texas - Sparked by a 'magic tree', Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, jumped Sunday from 10th place to first at the Lone Star Shootout presented by Mahindra Tractors, edging Elite rookie Clark Reehm of Russellville, Ark., by just 12 ounces.

With the victory, Faircloth earns $100,000 and moved up to second position in the prestigious Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, which boast a $250,000 top prize and serves as the main qualifying avenue into the Bassmaster Classic. Faircloth's 29-pound, 14-ounce limit was buttressed by a final-hour stop at a location he found at a 2007 Elite event on Amistad.

Last year, I caught 36 pounds from this area where there was a giant tree, said Faircloth, 32. "I decided to save it until the very end today. So, I pulled in there and caught two giants with less than an hour to go. That tree is magical."

To see Faircloth's magic spot and the rest of the big-fish action from Amistad, fishing fans can tune in to ESPN2 on Saturday, April 19 at 9 a.m. ET. The fourth Elite event of the 2008 season was shortened to three days because of unsafe weather conditions Thursday, which would have been the first day of competition.

Faircloth primarily used two techniques throughout the three days. He fished a 6-inch Senko to fill out his limit and used a swimbait, as many other anglers in the field did, to entice his bigger bites.� The largest bass of his Sunday limit, an 8-13 brute which earned Purolator Big Bass honors and $1,000, was boated on a swimbait.

In 2007, Faircloth scored a fourth-place finish at Amistad but had an unproductive three-day practice period heading into this weeked. However, he said he was able to get some much-needed rest Thursday when the tournament day was canceled.

"After practice, I didn't expect to be anywhere near winning this event," said Faircloth. "Thursday gave me some perspective, I was able to hang out with my children and get some rest. That always helps."

Faircloth now has earned more than $750,000 in his BASS career and has two BASS victories, both in Elite Series competition. With seven events remaining in the 2008 Elites, he has put himself in prime position for a run at the AOY title and Classic qualification.

Reehm, who weighed in 76-3 overall, just missed his first Elite Series trophy, but the Elite rookie made a considerable leap in the AOY standings to 46th.� Despite being disappointed, Reehm feels that he is still in the learning stages in Elite competition.

"Every day you learn something new," said Reehm, 28. "I made some mistakes that ultimately cost me but I rebounded after a miserable performance last week at Falcon Lake and I had an excellent time."

Reehm, who qualified for the Elites through the Bassmaster Open format, fished Amistad in September 2007, ultimately qualifying for the 2008 Bassmaster Classic on the strength of his Amistad tournament.

This time around, he targeted similar areas as he did then, primarily Carolina-rigging a big worm in red. He said the bigger bass came later in the day and was focusing on staging fish.

Right behind Reehm was fellow Arkansas pro Kevin Short of Mayflower, with 75-10. Short exacted a measure of redemption on Amistad after catching zero legal bass on the second day of the 2007 tournament.

Another Arkansas pro, Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, was fourth with 71-1. Although he missed out on a record fourth Elite Series win, McClelland took the top position in the AOY standings.

"Every day I think about winning the Angler of the Year," McClelland said. "That is the ultimate goal and it's fantastic to get out to such a great start."

In fifth was Saturday's leader Jason Williamson of Aiken, S.C., with 69-12. Two Texans also finishing in the top 12 were Gary Klein of Weatherford (6th) and Billy Brewer of Bruceville (8th).

The local sponsor of the Battle on the Border is the Del Rio Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite Series include Toyota Tundra, Advance Auto Parts, Berkley, Lowrance, Mercury, Purolator, Skeeter, Yamaha, Evan Williams Bourbon, Longhorn, OPTIMA Batteries, Triton Boats, Costa del Mar, MotorGuide and Ramada Worldwide.

About BASS

For 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive web properties in www.Bassmaster.com and www.ESPNOutdoors.com, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women's Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers a wide array of services to its more than 525,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.