U.S. Open Blog

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Clifford Pirch Grabs Day 2 Lead at U.S. OPEN
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Rusty Brown takes down his competition

Sean Stafford Comes From Behind To Win 2012 U.S. OPEN

Sean Stafford Wins 2012 WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury U.S. Open

Defeats Two-Time Champion Clifford Pirch by Narrow Margin.

Sean Celebrates after hearing he won 2012 US OIPEN
Sean Stafford celebrates after hearing he won the 2012 U.S. OPEN. He weighed in during the second flight and sat in the Costa Hot Seat for almost two hours, beating out the last angler to weigh in, Clifford Pirch, by .15-lbs.

Las Vegas, Nev. – September 13, 2012 – The theme for the 2012 WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury U.S. Open has been the proverbial adage, “change is constant.” Once again, the conditions at Lake Mead made an about face and it made for interesting decision making for the 256 anglers in the field.

But, when you are running the most prestigious single tournament in the Western United States; one that has a reputation for being the toughest tournament in bass fishing, a little adversity adds to the story.

Following a day with dense clouds and desert monsoon conditions, Lake Mead became a gentle lady and provided the field with high, bluebird skies and glassy surface waters.  While those conditions are perfect for a boating day with the family, they are certainly no gift for the bass angler.
High skies and light winds the day after a front mean tough fishing.  But, these are among the best anglers in the world, and they have the ability adjust to the conditions with efficiency and deal with adversity in confidence.

While a large portion of the field showed their dexterity, in the end it was Sean Stafford who made the best decisions and emerged as the 2012 WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury Outboards U.S. Open Champion.

In an unlikely turn of events, Stafford posted 13.16 pounds of bass; including the largest bass of the day.  His three day total weight of 34.60 was enough to leapfrog the eight anglers in front of him to claim the title of 2012 WON BASS U.S. Open Champion. To make matters more interesting, Stafford weighed in during the second flight, and sat in the Costa Sunglasses hot seat until the final angler weighed in.

“I’m a little speechless right now,” said Stafford of his win immediately after weigh-in concluded. ”This is my ninth U.S. Open, and it’s my favorite tournament to fish in; I still can’t believe I won.”

Stafford said that he used a two pronged approach to the U.S. Open, depending upon the conditions the day presented him. On days one and two, he focused primarily on using a variety of topwater baits, but turned to a Canyon Plastics tube when the conditions slicked off.  

“I really targeted isolated grass clumps with either approach,” Stafford reported. “The topwater baits were used around the clumps, and the tube helped me fish tighter when the sun was high.” Stafford earned over $40,000 in cash, and a Nitro Z8 / Mercury Outboard prize package bringing his total winnings to more than $80,000.

Stafford remained standing as the leader until Clifford Pirch, a two-time WON BASS U.S. Open Champion came to the scales. Pirch’s fish hit the scales and his 9.92-pound five bass limit fell .15 ounces short, narrowly missing his third U.S. Open title.

“I’m really disappointed that I fell short today,” said Pirch. “That’s not to take anything away from Sean (Stafford); he fished really well, congratulations to him. “I got the bite I needed at 3:05 today and wasn’t able to land it.  It was the biggest fish I’ve ever seen at Lake Mead, and I lost it.”

Pirch reported using multiple approaches to produce his fish throughout the event. He said that spinnerbaits, buzzbaits and deep crankbaits produced for him in the wind, but he turned to Roboworms on a dropshot rig today when the conditions slicked off.

Dick Watson, who began the day in third place, maintained his position by tossing Revenge spinnerbaits and jigs to bring his total weight to 32.64 pounds. Jamie Shaw wound up fourth with 32.54 pounds and Chris Bozarth rounded out the top five with 31.66 pounds.

The AA division proved to be a landslide by Lake Mead standards. Ken Whalen of Lompoc, Calif. placed 34.45 pounds on the U.S. Open scales to claim the title of 2012 WON Bass U.S. Open AAA Champion. Whalen also managed to bring a 4.94-pound largemouth to the scales on day one, which proved to be the largest bass of the tournament.

Overall, WON BASS paid out $30,000 in big fish awards and an additional $12,000 in big bag awards for the event.

The WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury U.S. Open takeoff will occur at Callville Bay Marina on Wednesday beginning at 5:45AM, with daily weigh-ins starting at 2:00PM. Following the event's conclusion on Wednesday, a champion will be crowned at Boulder Station Casino the final evening of the event.
The WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury Marine U.S. Open presented by Costa Sunglasses Webcasts will begin with the crowning of the Champion at 6:30PM from the Boulder Station Casino, followed immediately by the Costa Sunglasses post game show; all show times are Pacific Standard Time.

The WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury Marine U.S. Open has been presented by Costa Sunglasses on, at the event page of the 2012 The WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury Marine U.S. Open presented by Costa Sunglasses -
The WON BASS Nitro Boats / Mercury Marine U.S. Open has been presented by Costa Sunglasses and was also brought to you by Mustad Hooks, Yozuri, SNUGTop, Seaguar, Plano Tackle Systems, ZBlok, Daiwa, TOP This, Mud Hole, Promar, Big Hammer Swimbaits, Trolling Motor Doctor, River2Sea, SPRO, YUM, Seeker Fishing Rods, Optimum Baits and Zip Baits.
Reader Comments

How come nothing is in the Review Journal News Paper either before or after the Tournament. Noone I spoke to new anything about thye tournament. Publicity was poor.
Don Sollberger

This young man is very talented, it is nice to see that after a misfortune and a misunderstanding at Clearlake that he can compose himself and put one of his most important wins to date. This is not his first boat that he has won. Congrats and stay focused your one good stick.
Dr. Russ Stein

This was my first U.S. Open and getting 25th against some of the best anglers in the West was incredible. Can't wait till next year.
rick mason

So proud of Jamie Shaw from Coolidge AZ for representing Cabela's, Mercury, Ungar, and Ranger Boats and making them proud with a 4th place final finish at the US Open at Lake Mead this week. It was a great tournament! Won Bass and Nitro Boats along with the entire staff of announcers, camerman, volunteers, workers behind the scenes, etc. did a fabulous job. The Pro's and the Amature's were the best of the best. Congratulations to every single fisherman who entered and finished. Way to go to every single one of you fishing or working this great event. It was my pleasure to watch as a spectator!
I am so proud of Jamie Shaw from Coolidge AZ who represented Cabela's, Ranger, Mercury and Ungar well with a 4th place overall final place this week at the US Open at Lake Mead, NV. Also, a great shout out to WON Bass Nitro Boats and all the sponsors and volunteers, announcers, camermen,Costa, etc. who worked tirelessly and endlessly who did an incredible job hosting the tournament. As a spectator it was thrilling to watch and be a part of such a top notch organization! Congratulations to all the fisherman who competed and finished this competition. It was an honer to both watch you live from home and to get so excited for all of you, that I had to hop a flight first thing Wednesday morning and fly in to Las Vegas just so I could watch it live, in person for myself. Well done! And keep your eyes out for Jamie Shaw. He's one of those guys who will climb those rankings quietly and quickly and before you know it, he'll be the one to watch! Way to go WON Bass!
Lauri Hardy

I why aren't the pat outs posted after the event.
jim kirk


The payouts were all broadcast live on the webcast, but we will have them up soon enough. There really was not time to do everything by the time we got back from the lake, did our awards and then got the standard report up. A lot of guys had big fish and big stringers and it'a a manual job to get that done and then the report needs to be re-built manually to add in the paybacks. But again, we did broadcast them live. Bob Twilegar

Bob T
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