Talking Bait with Yamaha Pro Cliff Pace

Targeting Largemouth Bass, Talking Bait with Yamaha Pro Cliff Pace

By Ted Lund

Yamaha Pro and 2013 Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace has some distinct thoughts when targeting largemouth bass competitively, and had a chance to share them with folks while getting ready to compete in the 2019 Bassmasters Classic.

“I have a lot of people ask me what I do during the offseason, and they are surprised to learn that when I am not fishing, I am making fishing lures,” says Pace. “I do a lot of centrifugal casting, making football lead jigs, shaky heads, that kind of thing on a high-production level.”

But his true off-season passion is a labor of love that started as a high school project.

“I love hand-crafting crankbaits out of balsa wood,” says Pace. “It’s something I’ve been doing for a long time; in fact, this is what I did my high school project on, and I am sure everybody can relate to that.”

What started as a high school project has turned into a career for Pace.

“I’ve been very fortunate. This was kind of a high school project that went wrong. People ask, “what’s the offseason like?’ says Pace. “But there really is no offseason. I am either sculpting lead or my Black Label balsa lures. I’ve been very fortunate to take a high school project and turn it into a complete career. I build everything during the offseason, then sell them all year long.”

Talking Bait with Yamaha Pro Cliff Pace, Yamaha Pro and 2013 Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace has some distinct thoughts when targeting
Talking Bait with Yamaha Pro Cliff Pace, jigs Cliff creates

Pace manufacturers about a dozen different styles of balsa crankbaits for various situations. He says that because of the fragile nature of balsa wood, the baits tend not to last very long.

“Balsa baits are known for being short and squat with a square bill,” says Pace. “But I also make a flat-sided crankbait that is very popular in East Tennessee, and I believe that’s where they originated.”

Pace hand paints and assembles each bait himself, and although he carves the masters, he doesn’t hand carve each individual lure.

“I hand carve the originals, then they are made based on that original with a replication carving machine,” says Pace. “Balsa crankbaits are a niche product, but you should give them a try in shallow or cold water.”

To learn more about Cliff Pace’s unique line of lures, visit www.blacklabeltackle.com.

Yamaha Outboards is the leading manufacturer of quiet, dependable four-stroke outboards for freshwater and marine applications. From 2.5-hp dinghy motors to the all-new V8 5.6 liter 425-hp XTO, Yamaha has boaters covered anywhere on the water. To learn more about Yamaha, its other products or to find an authorized Yamaha dealer near you, visit www.yamahaoutboards.com.

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