The Orange Leader
He may be quiet, unassuming and generally fly under the radar but Todd Faircloth of Jasper is supremely skilled on the water as he demonstrated Sunday.
Overcoming a healthy day three deficit to Arizonan Dean Rojas, he caught five fish for 14 pounds, 9-ounces to win the first Bassmaster Elite Series event of the year and collect a $100,000 check.
“It’s amazing to win here close to home with many friends and family here along with a lot of people I used to fish against on Toledo Bend and Rayburn in local tournaments,” Faircloth said.
The now four-time Bassmaster winner caught his fish in the Taylor/Hillebrandt Bayou system and did so mainly fishing a small swimbait. The win earns him a guaranteed spot in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic and valuable Angler of the Year race points.
Rojas (along with Jeff Kriet and Alton Jones) fished a small bayou system near Sulphur, La., which held up the entire tournament. It did not however produce enough on day four with Rojas boating only one keeper, albeit a nice one at four pounds, six ounces.
Both Mark Davis and Bill Lowen fished in the Sabine River system where very few of the anglers spent much time.
“The quality of the fish is relative to the location. There were some good stringers caught, not like those that will be caught at Falcon but for an area like this it made for good fishing,” Davis said.
Ish Monroe fished in Cow Bayou near the same area Shaw Grigsby took a nice bag on Friday. The others were scattered in the Calcasieu, Neches and Taylor/Hillebrandt system.
That is except Mike McCelland.
He ran more than 1,100 miles in the four days of competition to catch bass in the Clear Lake area across the Galveston Bay complex.
“There are some bass in there and I never saw another bass fisherman the entire time,” he said.
Official attendance numbers have not been released but I have verified that both the record for single day attendance at an Elite Series event and a four-day record were shattered.
Look for an in-depth story with all of the statistics, locations and lures anglers fished in the Thursday edition along with exclusive photos.
Here are the final standings.
Final 12 (Day 4)