Did anyone have a better weekend than Cliff Pace?
The Petal, Miss., pro won the 43rd Bassmaster Classic with a three-day catch of 54 pounds, 12 ounces, which earned him $500,000. On top of that, Pace became the 39th member of the B.A.S.S. Millionaires Club — anglers who have surpassed the $1 million mark in earnings from Bassmaster events. And on top of that, it was his first Major victory, having finished second at the Classic in 2008, and three times on the Elite Series.
Now THAT is one heck of a weekend. And we didn’t even mention that his victory helped him jump from 83rd to 69th in the Majors Ranking.
So, can anyone even come close? Probably not, but Ott Defoe had himself a good one as well.
After hanging tough in the top three of the Majors Ranking for what seems like a year, Defoe has finally ascended to the No. 1 spot after this weekend. Yes, he did finish three spots behind Kevin VanDam at Grand Lake (VanDam was eighth, Defoe 11th), but the 2011 Classic VanDam won also dropped off, giving Defoe the slimmest of leads over KVD.
Amazingly, that was the only move in the top 10 after the Classic, but it was a big one.
Meanwhile, Brent Chapman, fresh off his 2012 Angler of the Year performance, slipped a bit in the rankings from 11th to 16th after finishing 26th at the Classic and having his fifth-place finish at the 2011 Classic fall off. At the same time, Jason Christie, fishing his first Classic, climbed two spots to 14th.
Randall Tharp, who fished the 2011 Classic, rose three spots to 17th with it dropping off. Terry Scroggins went in the opposite direction, going from the top 20 to nearly falling out of the top 30 as he fell to 28th. Same goes for Aaron Martens, who went from 21st to 27th.
The 20s weren’t all bad, though, as Michael Iaconelli climbed from 27th to 24th and Bill Lowen jumped from 40th to 26th thanks to his lackluster 2011 Classic being replaced with a solid showing this year.
Other anglers trending upward in the top 50 after the Classic include Gerald Swindle (34th to 31st), Greg Hackney (48th to 32nd) and Steve Kennedy (52nd to 40th).
Meanwhile, two former Classic winners saw their rankings take hits after this weekend. Last year’s champ Chris Lane had an awful Day 1, but he rebounded on Day 2, which minimized the damage to his average. Though, he still fell from 44th to outside the top 50 into 53rd. Alton Jones didn’t have near as bad a time as Lane at Grand Lake, but his 31st-place finish still dropped him eight spots to 50th.
Check back Wednesday for an update on the Minor, Regional and College rankings.