|Faircloth wins in Wisconsin|
Jasper angler Todd Faircloth beat the clock and bested the field at the B.A.S.S. Mississippi River Rumble in La Crosse, Wis.
Time was running out. About 15 minutes to go before he had to call it a day, Faircloth hooked into a solid 3-pounder. And even though he had led for two days, only then did he feel that maybe, just maybe, he had nailed the Mississippi River Rumble in La Crosse, Wis.
Faircloth was right. He closed on his third Bassmaster Elite Series win Sunday by 1 pound, 4 ounces. It was a big margin compared to every other day of the Rumble, when only ounces separated leaders from the pack — and each place from another.
Faircloth’s 62-pound, 4-ounce total was enough to finish ahead of Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss., who had 61-0.
Pace ended with his second consecutive runner-up spot of the month. For Faircloth, the win was his first since 2008.
“I feel like a brick’s off my shoulder now,” he said. “It was a pretty nerve-racking day.”
His prize was $100,000 and an instant qualification for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake out of Tulsa, Okla.
The money, he said, “definitely means a lot.” The Classic berth also, but in a different way.
He likely would have qualified for the Classic through the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race at the end of the season — he was sixth in points going into the La Crosse event — but he still smiled wide when he was reminded he’d bagged his 11th Classic trip by winning an Elite event. Yet he’s got something else on his mind.
“My focus now is the AOY title,” Faircloth said. “If guys say they aren’t thinking about it, that’s fine and dandy with me, but I’m thinking about it.”
Sunday’s win boosted Faircloth from sixth to second in the AOY race, 18 points behind Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan., who held his previous lead.
Faircloth said he had 12 pounds in his livewell early on Sunday, the final of four days of competition. Then he went to his second area and upgraded several times to 13 or 14 pounds.
“And then I really struggled the rest of the day,” he said. “I felt like the flipping bite would have turned on when the sun got up, but I couldn’t get anything going. I couldn’t catch them on top-waters, and I flipped and flipped and couldn’t get bit.”