Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bass Reporter's Notebook Profiles Clark Rheem

Clark Reehm, the number-crunching pro: Clark Reehm, pro angler, is also a pretty good mathematician with a memory for numbers.

Reehm can reel off strings of figures, instantly recounting who has what in tournament weights and points, and how far ahead or behind he is. He is especially good at this during decisive tournaments where he has a lot on the line, like the just-concluded Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open season-ender on Lake Texoma.

Reehm, who recently relocated to Lufkin, Texas, was fishing for one of two 2011 Bassmaster Classic entries awarded through the Central Opens. Going into the Oct. 21-23 Texoma event, he was third in points, just one spot away from the Classic seat he had failed to win as a Bassmaster Elite Series pro.

As the fishing world knows, Reehm landed the second seat. A fellow Texas pro, Keith Combs, won the points race and took the first qualification.

Truth be told, much of Reehm's math is fed to him by his brother, who often works up spreadsheets that show how Reehm stands at any given moment during a decisive weigh-in. They text and talk as each angler brings his catch to the scales and a new calculation changes the points.

Even without his brother's help, days after Texoma, Reehm still knew the numbers.

"Going into that final day, I knew that I needed to finish fifth to finish second and win by three points," Reehm said. "If I would have finished sixth, I would have lost by one point."

That means: He needed to finish fifth in the Texoma event to end up second in Central points, thus beating out fellow Texan and points leader Craig Schuff by three points for the Classic entry.

Reehm said he was confident, yet not secure on the final day, even after Schuff failed to make the Day 2 cut. Schuff was through at 48th place, putting him in real danger of losing his points lead to Combs and falling below a few other hard-chargers just like Reehm.

"I said to myself, if I can get a limit, then I've got a shot at doing this," Reehm said. "If I don't get a limit, if I can get enough quality to get about 10 pounds, I think I can do it.

"At the end of the day, I had a limit that went exactly 10 pounds."

And 10 pounds was certainly a lofty goal. Texoma was a brutal tournament, and many pros - not just Schuff - were stumped. But while Reehm walked through a door held open by Schuff, Reehm certainly knew how to help himself.

First, he was able stack two decent catches: 7-14 on Day 1; 6-13 on Day 2. Last week at Texoma, these were very decent bags of bass. Then, when the chips were on the table he raised his game, producing a 10-pound limit of five fish on Day 3.

Reehm said he acted on a tip from a fellow angler (that's legal) by using a crankbait about 1½ inches long, an H20 Xpress square-billed bait by Academy.

"The deal was, they had a 100-percent shad kill there in the spring, it got so cold. They had to restock it with threadfin shad, and all the threadfin shad now are really small - an inch to 2 inches long - and the gizzard shad were 6 inches to a foot long. You had to target one size or another."

Reehm said there's one drawback to doing the math for play-by-play standings: You know you've won before it's announced.

"It takes that moment away a little bit, but I'd rather know," Reehm said. "It's how you know what you need to do to win."

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