By BassFan Staff


Clifford Pirch remained atop the leaderboard on day 3 of the Lake Havasu Bassmaster Elite Series in Arizona, but there was some monumental reshuffling behind him.

Pirch, competing in his home state, weighed a 14-15 sack to push his total to 51-11. He'll take a 15-ounce lead over Takahiro Omori into the final day as he seeks his first Elite Series triumph he won an FLW Tour event at Tennessee's Lake Chickamauga in 2011.

Omori boxed a day-best 20 pounds even to move up 14 places with a 50-12 total. No matter what happens on day 4, he'll notch his best finish of the season by far as he's fared no better than 68th to this point and was a dismal 107th last week at the Sacramento River.

Edwin Evers, the day-1 leader, held onto the No. 3 position with a 15-14 stringer that gave him a 50-06 aggregate. He's followed by the anglers who claimed the Top 2 spots at Sacramento Aaron Martens (17-10 on day 3 for a 49-04 total) and Justin Lucas (18-12, 48-09). The former gained seven places in the standings while the latter moved up 21 slots.

Here are the totals for the 12 anglers who'll be back on the water tomorrow, with red numbers in parentheses indicating their deficit margins from the leader:

1. Clifford Pirch: 51-11
2. Takahiro Omori: 50-12 (0-15)
3. Edwin Evers: 50-06 (1-05)
4. Aaron Martens: 49-04 (2-07)
5. Justin Lucas: 48-09 (3-02)
6. Casey Ashley: 47-09 (4-02)
7. David Williams: 47-04 (4-07)
8. Dean Rojas: 47-01 (4-10)
9. John Murray: 47-00 (4-11)
10. Brandon Palaniuk: 46-13 (4-14)
11. Gary Klein: 46-04 (5-07)
12. Jonathan VanDam: 45-15 (5-12)

Huge moves from way back in the 52-angler pack were the dominant theme of the day as the weights rocketed upward after slacking off on day 2. There were six bags in excess of 18 pounds on Saturday, which was two more than on day 1, when there were 112 anglers on the water and quite a few easy bed-fish to be picked off.

The big-move contingent was headed by Lake Havasu City resident and Angler of the Year (AOY) leader Dean Rojas, who jumped from 50th to 6th with a 19-09 haul. Jonathan VanDam made a similar leap as he went from the very bottom of the standings to 12th with an 18-08 bag.

Also, David Williams climbed from 46th to 7th with a 19-08 sack and Gary Klein shot up to 11th from 44th with an 18-01 stringer to make his first 12-cut in more than 2 calendar years.

Casey Ashley, who's struggled mightily since winning the Bassmaster Classic in February, moved up 19 places with a 17-08 bag.



B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Pitch thinks he can refine his program a bit on day 4 and return with the type of bag he caught on each of the first 2 days.

The lengthy list of anglers who fell out of the Top 12 consisted of Matt Herren (4th to 32nd with a 9-11 sack), Chris Lane (6th to 44th, 7-11), Randy Howell (7th to 27th, 11-02), Josh Bertrand (8th to 30th, 11-00), Kelly Jordon (9th to 37th, 9-15), Randall Tharp (10th to 29th, 11-05) and Shaw Grigsby (12th to 23rd, 12-04).

Day 4 will be the most Arizona-like day the competitors have seen thus far as the air temperature will climb back into the 90s after an unseasonably cool week. The wind is expected to be no more than moderate, blowing from the northwest at 10 mph.

Pirch Lacked Big Bites

> Day 3: 5, 14-15 (15, 51-11)

Pirch's bag was his lightest of the tournament by more than 2 1/2 pounds, but it only cost him 2 ounces off his lead. He shared his best area with Omori, Lucas and Jeff Kriet, and only Kriet (14-07) caught less than he did on day 3.

"I just didn't get the bites that those other guys had," he said. "Maybe those will be my bites tomorrow.

"The only real difference between today and the other 2 days is I didn't have the late flurry. Things really shut off for me after about noon and it seemed like it was really tough. I ran around and tried some different places, but that wasn't productive, so I won't go back. I'll spend my time in quality areas tomorrow."

He revealed that he's dropshotting a Roboworm. His day-3 bag basically consisted of five 3-pounders.

"I had one bite the second half of the day and I lost it. With about 7 minutes left I picked it up and the fish was swimming right at me, and I just didn't get a good hookset."

B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito
Photo: B.A.S.S./Seigo Saito

Takahiro Omori's day-best bag was topped by a 5 1/2-pounder.

He knows he'll likely need a considerably larger sack on day 4 to claim the win.

"I think I can refine down a little bit with what I'm doing and try to get back into the neighborhood of what I've been catching. It's going to come down to whoever catches that 19- or 20-pound bag tomorrow."

2nd: Omori Caught Everything

> Day 3: 5, 20-00 (15, 50-12)

No lost fish was the key to Omori's huge day.

"Everything that bit I got in the boat," he said. "I lost a 4-pounder yesterday and one on day 1 right at the boat."

He went through eight keepers and his bag was topped by a 5 1/2-pounder. He's taken one smallmouth and four largemouths to the scale each day.

"I think I can catch another good stringer tomorrow, but I'm not sure about 20 pounds. I've been doing the exact same thing and it's worked for 5 days in a row (including the 2 days of practice). My expectations are pretty high right now."

He said 17 pounds is a good target weight for the final day.

"I'm fishing for the bigger fish and if I put them in the boat, I should get that. I just need to go out and do it."

5th: Lucas Rolled a 6

> Day 3: 5, 18-12 (15, 48-09)

One massive bite transformed a good day into a great one for Lucas and he now has a reasonable chance at a sweep of the Western swing. That fish was just an ounce shy of 6 pounds and equaled the best of the day.

"Other than that, I would've had the standard 15 1/2- or 16-pound bag," he said. "I've been fishing out a little deeper and it came the same way I've caught all the rest."

The big one went into his livewell at about 1 o'clock.

"I made one more cull after that, then I tried to lay off them as much as I could."

He's dropshotting and throwing a shaky-head on 8-pound line.

BassFan
Photo: BassFan

Justin Lucas moved within striking distance of his second straight win after an 18-12 bag on day 3.

"I broke a couple off on the (quagga) muscles, but there's nothing you can do. It wouldn't matter if you had 30-pound line."

He thinks he'll need two oversized bites on the final day to have a shot at the victory.

"You can't just say you're going to go out and catch two 5-pounders here. Catching 18 pounds is hard, 19 is real hard and 20 is a stretch."

8th: Rojas Rebounds Big-Time

> Day 3: 5, 19-09 (15, 47-01)

Rojas, who finished 3rd at Sacramento, spent the first 2 days of the event on his home lake floundering around the middle of the pack. He made some big noise on day 3 with a sack that was topped only by Omori's.

"We'd been having wind, clouds and high water, and those are three things I'm not used to seeing on this place," he said. "It threw me a curveball.

"This is Havasu weather right now, and this is when they bite the best for me. It's going to be hotter tomorrow and I really like the way the conditions are setting up."

A 5 1/4-pounder was the biggest of the nine keepers he caught on day 3. He broke off a 3 1/2-pounder, but he doesn't know whether that one would've made the trip to the scale.

He had little company in his best areas.

"That goes with anybody who's fishing their home lake you always have little stretches or spots you can go to. I'm just kind of bouncing around between them.

"I really got on (the fish) late today I saw what they were doing and I liked it. Tomorrow's going to be a shootout."

30th: Bertrand a Little Confused

> Day 3: 5, 11-00 (15, 43-02)

Bertrand, another Arizonan, couldn't figure out why his bag was nearly 5 pounds lighter than the one he'd caught the previous day.

"I was pretty confident that I could catch a similar weight to what I had yesterday," he said. "I think a few of the areas I was fishing got cleaned out pretty good, but I thought I had enough other places to run to. It just didn't work out.

"I kept expecting to get the bites all day, even later in the afternoon. They just never came."

He weighed in a 3 1/2-pounder along with four that just barely met keeper standards. He threw a dropshot all week, occasionally mixing in a swimbait.

"After awhile I went and fished some community stuff, thinking I could pull in and catch at least a couple of decent ones to get up into the 14 range, but that didn't happen, either. It was just one of those weird days."

Notable

> Day 3 stats 52 anglers, 46 limits, 2 fours, 2 threes, 1 two, 1 zero.

Weather Forecast

> Sun., May 10 Sunny - 92/68
- Wind: From the NW at 10 mph

Day 3 Standings

1. Clifford Pirch -- Payson, AZ -- 15, 51-11 -- 100 -- $500
Day 1: 5, 17-08 -- Day 2: 5, 19-04 -- Day 3: 5, 14-15

2. Takahiro Omori -- Emory, TX -- 15, 50-12 -- 99
Day 1: 5, 15-04 -- Day 2: 5, 15-08 -- Day 3: 5, 20-00

3. Edwin Evers -- Talala, OK -- 15, 50-06 -- 98
Day 1: 5, 20-07 -- Day 2: 5, 14-01 -- Day 3: 5, 15-14

4. Aaron Martens -- Leeds, AL -- 15, 49-04 -- 97
Day 1: 5, 15-04 -- Day 2: 5, 16-06 -- Day 3: 5, 17-10

5. Justin Lucas -- Guntersville, AL -- 15, 48-09 -- 96
Day 1: 5, 15-15 -- Day 2: 5, 13-14 -- Day 3: 5, 18-12

6. Casey Ashley -- Donalds, SC -- 15, 47-09 -- 95
Day 1: 5, 15-06 -- Day 2: 5, 14-11 -- Day 3: 5, 17-08

7. David Williams -- Maiden, NC -- 15, 47-04 -- 94
Day 1: 5, 16-08 -- Day 2: 5, 11-04 -- Day 3: 5, 19-08

8. Dean Rojas -- Lake Havasu City, AZ -- 15, 47-01 -- 93
Day 1: 5, 14-01 -- Day 2: 5, 13-07 -- Day 3: 5, 19-09

9. John Murray -- Phoenix, AZ -- 15, 47-00 -- 92
Day 1: 5, 19-08 -- Day 2: 5, 16-01 -- Day 3: 5, 11-07

10. Brandon Palaniuk -- Rathdrum, ID -- 15, 46-13 -- 91
Day 1: 5, 14-06 -- Day 2: 5, 18-08 -- Day 3: 5, 13-15

11. Gary Klein -- Weatherford, TX -- 15, 46-04 -- 90
Day 1: 5, 13-10 -- Day 2: 5, 14-09 -- Day 3: 5, 18-01

12. Jonathon VanDam -- Kalamazoo, MI -- 15, 45-15 -- 89
Day 1: 5, 11-15 -- Day 2: 5, 15-08 -- Day 3: 5, 18-08

The following anglers did not make the cut and will not fish on day 4.

13. Brent Ehrler -- Newport Beach, CA -- 15, 45-14 -- 88 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-14 -- Day 2: 5, 16-04 -- Day 3: 5, 15-12

14. Chad Morgenthaler -- Coulterville, IL -- 15, 45-08 -- 87 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-11 -- Day 2: 5, 14-13 -- Day 3: 5, 17-00

15. James Niggemeyer -- Van, TX -- 15, 45-05 -- 86 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-00 -- Day 2: 5, 13-09 -- Day 3: 5, 15-12

16. Jared Lintner -- Arroyo Grande, CA -- 15, 45-02 -- 85 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-02 -- Day 2: 5, 15-04 -- Day 3: 5, 14-12

17. Ott DeFoe -- Knoxville, TN -- 15, 45-01 -- 84 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-14 -- Day 2: 5, 14-12 -- Day 3: 5, 16-07

18. Steve Kennedy -- Auburn, AL -- 15, 45-01 -- 83 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-09 -- Day 2: 5, 15-10 -- Day 3: 5, 14-14

19. Jeff Kriet -- Ardmore, OK -- 15, 45-00 -- 82 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-09 -- Day 2: 5, 16-00 -- Day 3: 5, 14-07

20. Bradley Roy -- Lancaster, KY -- 15, 44-01 -- 81 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-09 -- Day 2: 5, 16-07 -- Day 3: 5, 15-01

21. Davy Hite -- Ninety Six, SC -- 15, 44-00 -- 80 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-02 -- Day 2: 5, 16-01 -- Day 3: 5, 12-13

22. Stephen Browning -- Hot Springs, AR -- 15, 43-13 -- 79 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-11 -- Day 2: 5, 12-13 -- Day 3: 5, 14-05

23. Shaw Grigsby Jr. -- Gainesville, FL -- 15, 43-10 -- 78 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 17-15 -- Day 2: 5, 13-07 -- Day 3: 5, 12-04

24. Dennis Tietje -- Roanoke, LA -- 15, 43-10 -- 77 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-12 -- Day 2: 5, 16-03 -- Day 3: 5, 14-11

25. Jared Miller -- Norman, OK -- 15, 43-09 -- 76 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 13-07 -- Day 2: 5, 16-02 -- Day 3: 5, 14-00

26. Micah Frazier -- Newnan, GA -- 15, 43-08 -- 75 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-09 -- Day 2: 5, 12-10 -- Day 3: 5, 15-05

27. Randy Howell -- Springville, AL -- 15, 43-06 -- 74 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-07 -- Day 2: 5, 16-13 -- Day 3: 5, 11-02

28. Alton Jones -- Lorena, TX -- 15, 43-03 -- 73 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-11 -- Day 2: 5, 12-14 -- Day 3: 5, 13-10

29. Randall Tharp -- Port St. Joe, FL -- 15, 43-02 -- 72 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 18-03 -- Day 2: 5, 13-10 -- Day 3: 5, 11-05

30. Josh Bertrand -- Gilbert, AZ -- 15, 43-02 -- 71 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-03 -- Day 2: 5, 15-15 -- Day 3: 5, 11-00

31. Jacob Powroznik -- Port Haywood, VA -- 15, 42-15 -- 70 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-05 -- Day 2: 5, 13-01 -- Day 3: 5, 13-09

32. Matt Herren -- Ashville, AL -- 15, 42-11 -- 69 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 18-09 -- Day 2: 5, 14-07 -- Day 3: 5, 09-11

33. Morizo Shimizu -- Suita, Osaka JAPAN -- 14, 42-11 -- 68 -- $10,000
Day 1: 4, 11-03 -- Day 2: 5, 16-04 -- Day 3: 5, 15-04

34. Kevin Short -- Mayflower, AR -- 15, 42-06 -- 67 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-02 -- Day 2: 5, 16-00 -- Day 3: 5, 14-04

35. Bobby Lane Jr. -- Lakeland, FL -- 15, 42-05 -- 66 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 17-13 -- Day 2: 5, 12-04 -- Day 3: 5, 12-04

36. Cliff Prince -- Palatka, FL -- 15, 42-05 -- 65 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-03 -- Day 2: 5, 14-05 -- Day 3: 5, 11-13

37. Kelly Jordon -- Flint, TX -- 15, 41-14 -- 64 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 17-12 -- Day 2: 5, 14-03 -- Day 3: 5, 09-15

38. David Walker -- Sevierville, TN -- 15, 41-05 -- 63 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-12 -- Day 2: 5, 14-09 -- Day 3: 5, 12-00

39. Bill Lowen -- Brookville, IN -- 15, 41-03 -- 62 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-12 -- Day 2: 5, 16-04 -- Day 3: 5, 10-03

40. Seth Feider -- Bloomington, MN -- 15, 41-03 -- 61 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-06 -- Day 2: 5, 13-15 -- Day 3: 5, 12-14

41. Brian Snowden -- Reeds Spring, MO -- 15, 41-01 -- 60 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-12 -- Day 2: 5, 14-12 -- Day 3: 5, 10-09

42. Ish Monroe -- Hughson, CA -- 15, 40-15 -- 59 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 12-06 -- Day 2: 5, 17-03 -- Day 3: 5, 11-06

43. Greg Hackney -- Gonzales, LA -- 15, 40-05 -- 58 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-07 -- Day 2: 5, 13-02 -- Day 3: 5, 12-12

44. Chris Lane -- Guntersville, AL -- 14, 40-04 -- 57 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-05 -- Day 2: 5, 17-04 -- Day 3: 4, 07-11

45. Greg Vinson -- Wetumpka, AL -- 15, 40-02 -- 56 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-11 -- Day 2: 5, 10-13 -- Day 3: 5, 12-10

46. Bernie Schultz -- Gainesville, FL -- 15, 39-11 -- 55 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-01 -- Day 2: 5, 13-11 -- Day 3: 5, 10-15

47. Casey Scanlon -- Lanexa, KS -- 15, 39-07 -- 54 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 16-07 -- Day 2: 5, 12-10 -- Day 3: 5, 10-06

48. Paul Mueller -- Naugatuck, CT -- 14, 37-03 -- 53 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-14 -- Day 2: 5, 14-05 -- Day 3: 4, 07-00

49. David Mullins -- Mt Carmel, TN -- 12, 36-10 -- 52 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-10 -- Day 2: 5, 13-09 -- Day 3: 2, 07-07

50. Mike Kernan -- Wylie, TX -- 13, 35-10 -- 51 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 18-02 -- Day 2: 5, 13-00 -- Day 3: 3, 04-08

51. Brandon Card -- Caryville, TN -- 13, 34-13 -- 50 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 15-05 -- Day 2: 5, 12-07 -- Day 3: 3, 07-01

52. Chad Pipkens -- Holt, MI -- 10, 29-00 -- 49 -- $10,000
Day 1: 5, 14-05 -- Day 2: 5, 14-11 -- Day 3: 0, 00-00