By TJ Maglio
June 28, 2012
Todd Faircloth held on to his Day 3 lead at the Bassmaster Elite Series River Rumble in LaCrosse, WI and brought 14-09 to the scales on Day 4 to claim his third Elite Series victory, and first since 2008 at Lake Amistad.
Faircloth primarily used a one-two punch that consisted of working a shallow spot with a topwater frog in the mornings, and then punching a Yamamoto Kreature through matted vegetation in a slightly deeper area for the rest of the day. He did mix in a few fish that he caught on the Yamamoto D-shad and also a swim-jig, which he threw in openings in the vegetation.
The victory was far from a certainty earlier in the day though, as he had a fish die from what at the time was only about a 13lb limit, costing him 4 valuable ounces. About the fish dying, Faircloth said it really had him worked up, “man, my stomach was in knots. I was sure that fish was going to cost me the win in a tournament this tight. To say that I was a little nervous is a huge understatement, I was sick about it.”
Fortunately, he was able to get his game back mentally in the afternoon and with about a half hour to spare, he decided to go back through his best stretch one more time. The decision paid off and after 10 or 15 minutes he set the hook on his biggest fish of the day, a 3 ½ that ate the Kreature in a stretch of thick grass. “That’s probably what did it for me, I was really starting to get worried, but then I caught that big one, so I knew I still had a shot at it.”
Faircloth’s primary morning spot was a shallow slop field that had a little ditch running through it, and each morning he would “ease through it and throw that frog”, which usually resulted in a fairly quick limit and even a couple of big ones. The key to the spot was that it had some current running through it, which Faircloth thinks really helped the bite, saying “the combination of the current, hard bottom and mixed grasses really allowed the fish to replenish and it made them concentrate in that one little area.”
His second spot was a little deeper and had less current, but there were several key patches of thick vegetation that he could flip and walk a topwater shad type bait around each day. “Once the sun came up high, they’d quit eating the walking bait, and I had to flip the thicker clumps of grass to get bit.”
For fishing the frog, Faircloth’s setup consisted of a 7’2” Castaway MH rod, 50-lb Spider Wire and a generic white hollow-belly frog.
For the punching rig, he used a 7’6” Castaway Flipping Stick, 50-lb Spider Wire and a black/blue
laminate 4” Kreature (color 523) pegged with a 1.25 ounce tungsten sinker and a 4/0 round bend hook. He trimmed the flapping arms off the top of the Kreature to help it slide through the mats better.
The D-shad setup was fairly simple, just straight 15lb fluorocarbon, a 4/0 round bend hook and a D-shad in Junebug.
About what the win means for him, Faircloth was hard pressed to not get emotional, saying “I was so nervous about the dead one all day and knew it was going to be a matter of ounces. To finally be able to relax means a lot. I have been doing this for a long time and any time you can get a win, it’s a very special feeling. It means a lot to my family, and I’ve been truly blessed to be able to live this lifestyle for as long as I have.”
The win not only netted him $100,000, but it also moved him up to second place in the Toyota Tundra Angler of the Year race, only 18 points behind leader Brent Chapman with only two tournaments remaining.
Congratulations to Todd on the victory and let’s all hope he can make up the ground over the last two tournaments to bring home the first Elite Series AOY trophy for a GYCB pro-staffer.