BassFan.com - Last year, Pirch lost his biggest bite of the final day and was edged out for the victory by Sean Stafford. This time he brought a 5 1/4-pounder to the scale – the biggest fish of the event by more than a pound – and gained a whopping 41 places in the standings.
"Anytime you finish on a high note, you feel better about it," he said. "I would've liked to have pulled it off, but in all honesty, catching a big bag like that was the only prayer I had. It was a great day."
He had only about 6 pounds in his livewell at 1:00. He'd found some quality in practice, but was unable to reconnect with those fish on the first 2 days of the derby.
"I knew I needed to find the fish I'd gone after originally, and I found that group at the end of the day. I just kept my head down and kept going down the bank trying to find them – it was one of those deals where it could be just miles and miles and miles of nothing.
"I left them biting because I didn't know how rough it was going to be heading back (to the launch) and I had a long way to run. I was catching them on almost every cast and my last one was a 2 1/2-pounder. I got back with 12 minutes to spare, so maybe I should've stayed just a little bit longer and culled one more time."
He caught his key day-3 fish on his own Clifford Pirch Outdoors clear-water casting jig. He picked up a couple on a Spider Bait – another creation of his that he describes as sort of a cross between a spinnerbait and an umbrella rig. It's much smaller than the vast majority of U-rigs and carries two baits.