OVERTON ARM in practice

UPDATED (5:30 p.m.)–We now know it is confirmed, Cliff Pirch is the 2010 U.S. Open champion.

Of course, it’s not official here, but still shuddering from the alleged cheating incident (I’m obligated to say it that way, and yes, I heard the pro’s name confirmed by another angler), my running numbers say the winner Clifford Pirch finishes with 31.44 pounds, just ahead of Dick Watson with 30.98 and Rick Clunn with 30.05.

Again, unofficially, I also have Kevin Johnson of Oxnard taking fourth with 30.02 and Morizu Shimizu of Japan in fifth with 29.66, from numbers taken from the daily blog. Not the closest ever U.S. Open finish, but clearly, there were more anglers in striking distance on the final round than I can remember in covering and/or fishing the previous 27 contests. A second title, if it holds, puts Pirch in the high rent district of the West’s most glamorous bass tournament.

I was clearly impressed with Kevin Johnson who has refined his game and his attitude to meet the level required to star on the biggest stage. I saved a personal message from Kevin from earlier this year and I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing a sentence: “Mead is a **** hole but it’s where we are going so time to shut up and fish.” Clearly, this guy lets his fishing do the talking.

RICK and his other practice partner Sage Clunn

Am I a little disappointed that Clunn didn’t join the ranks of 3-time winners? Yeah, I am. You spend time in the boat with friend and even the media will root. But when the top names are in contention and dominate the leaderboard, it makes everyone else look like they belong.

Rick just called me, disappointed, but somewhat surprised he had not fallen further down in the standings. Looking for an explanation, he said, “I don’t know, my first fish was a 3-something, and the rest just keepers–barely keepers. I figured I could grind out 2 or 3 more. I needed to cull those little bitty ones.”

His best bait, I learned, was not either the buzzbait or the lipless crank he threw while I shared his boat Friday. Instead, he revealed that on Saturday he had tied on a wake bait for his son Sage–who promptly caught two behind the 4-time World Champion. “When someone catches a reaction fish behind me,” he said, “I take more than a little notice.” Thus most of his better fish came on the Lucky Craft RC 2.5.

Also, I hope no one is surprised at Dick Watson’s second straight top 10 U.S. Open finish. Not only one of the real gentlemen out there, he has a strong theoretical basis in his approach, and his book (already in the works) on the subject should be available as soon as early 2011.

RICH TAUBER went for it today and scored

With his long history with the Open, and a nice late charge today, I had to catch up with Rich Tauber who weighed 10.92 pounds today.  When I asked him where his long trip took him, he laughed and said, “I went so far, I passed Clunn. I was way back to a place I had caught them before, past Sandy Point, all the way to the end of the lake.”

He was still second-guessing himself as he considered if he should have made the choice sooner, but was right when he said, “There was no guarantee they would bite.” But there was more. “I learned a new bait–a chatterbait,” he said. “It was the right weapon for the (muddy) conditions. I was sick every time I caught another 2 1/4-pounder.”

Yet he did not go stagnant. Said Tauber, “You’ve got to do something dangerous to make things happen.”


9 Responses to “Clifford Pirch gets second Open Title? Yes!”

The ‘alleged incidents’ are going to send major shockwaves throughout the Southern California fishing community. Sad day, presuming the information is accurate.

Huge congratulations to Dick for second… Rich played it coy by not posting Cliff’s weight, so for a while I thought he had gone over the top on this one – it was obvious he had beat out “the greatest bass angler”. Truly a great accomplishment from a very deserving and worthy gentleman! I’m a big fan of Dick Watson, and expect he will get over the hump and earn a title one of these years in the near future.


by George Kramer

Okay, I see now that WON Bass has named Mike Hart and banned him. I hope that career flush I just heard will not splash on many others. But let’s not be naive enough to think that one perpetrator is all there is; that this was the sport’s one, isolated bad act in the West so we can all go whistling past the launch ramp. There is circumstantial evidence of several other incidents in the state–and frankly, once witnesses find the courage to speak, we’ll be able to clear up more of the bad water. 🙁

While I hate to see anyone in this sport go down the tubes, I hope that you will cover this so that we don’t end up feeling like there are a bunch of secrets out there. Congratulations to Cliff and the rest of the survivors.

If the witnesses don’t come forward then they are guilty also…

What makes you think there are “witnesses?” I know when I am in the boat tournament fishing I pay zero attention to my tournament partner as they handle and cull fish. It’s not like fish make a gagging noise when something is in their throat. You would have to see something and your attention is focused on the water, not in the boat.

by Rich Lingor

The sicking damage will take a toll on the credibility,image, and relationship of our sport with the community at large.This is like a train wreck full of Round-up falling into the lake. A lot of effort may wash some the wounds. Rebuilding will take time.

My first open at 66. Had Dick Watson as my pro for the first day, Thank you Dick, Now I know how hot hell is going to be, it’s time to change my ways. THANK YOU WON BASS!!!

by George Kramer

BP, there are witnesses–especially material witnesses–all over the place.

by Rich Lingor

Re: “there are witnesses”—- Sounds like you are on to something, George. This could get more interesting!..?..It sounds like there is potential for the story to mushroom. hmmm…More drama from the train wreck?