Cliff Pace runs out to big Bassmaster lead

TULSA, Okla. — Petal, Miss. angler Cliff Pace backed up his solid first-day catch of 21 pounds, 8 ounces with a better 21-pound, 12-ounce catch Saturday to hold a more an eight-pound lead going into Sunday’s final round of the 43rd Bassmaster Classic.

Another showing like that on the final day will give Pace a $500,000 payday that nearly matches the slightly more than $700,000 in career earnings in Bassmaster events.

Pace declined to talk about patterns, but said Saturday’s fishing was tougher than Friday’s first round. His two-day total is 43-4.

Mike Iaconelli, tied with Pace after the first day, brought in a five-bass limit weighing 13-11, for a 35-3 total and third place.

Brandon Palaniuk, among the younger anglers in the 53-man field, came in with a 19-10 catch Saturday to move into second place with 36-4.

Gonzales’ Greg Hackney, competing in his 11th Classic, qualified for Sunday’s final round with a two-day total weighing 27-5.

Only the top 25 anglers after Saturday’s second round qualify for Sunday’s final on Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, a 46,500-acre reservoir that dominates the landscape in northeast Oklahoma.