Winning the Bassmaster Classic and the $500,000 prize plus any future riches that come with it may forever change Cliff Pace's life.

What it won't do, apparently, is change Cliff Pace.

The guy from Petal, Miss., known by his peers as "Game Face" or "Smiley" because of his lack of emotion, stayed true to his stoic - yeah, maybe boring - self throughout all the press conferences, meetings and, perhaps, his celebration of winning bass fishing's premier event and most cherished trophy.

So much so that he has been slammed in chat rooms and other Internet venues for being so stiff during Sunday's ceremonies. Said one guy, "Come on Dude, you just won the Bassmaster Classic, not some Sunday afternoon fruit jar on your home lake."

Bottom line: He was just being Cliff Pace; you'd be wise not to expect anything more, and you certainly won't be getting an apology for it.

The guy can flat out fish. It can't be argued that what he does and how he acts and handles himself works for him. So call him what you want, it won't bother Pace.

Said Game Face: "That's fine with me. I come out here to compete. That's what I'm here for. This is a job for me and I won't treat it as anything different. It is a job for me. This is how I provide for my family and I take this very, very seriously. Everybody out here does, but we all deal with it differently. We all have our own ways and our different unique personalities. We're human."

It should be noted that among his peers, his closest friend and biggest supporter is veteran Gary Klein, who has a very similar personality and reputation as a steely-eyed competitor who comes off a little rough around the edges.

Pace spoke of their relationship during his press conference, noting that he is lucky to have a guy with similar traits as a friend and even as a mentor. That may have been one of the few times he smiled during the conference, but those come so rarely that they are hard to discern.

There is a photo of Pace clearly and broadly smiling as he held the trophy over his head on stage as confetti rained down on him just after his victory has been certified. And he smiled once or twice during his post-tournament news conference. (Click here to watch a video of the 2013 Classic Press Conference).

That may just have to do.

"I don't like to get too fired up and excited because when that happens normally I break stuff," he said, sitting next to a huge trophy that probably isn't that fragile but worth not breaking. "It's just better for me to be calm and mellow."

Pace never appears comfortable in such situations, not only facing media but anytime when he is in the center of the spotlight. He seemed too nervous on stage Sunday to give his wife Brena a hug - he was actually prompted to do exactly that later by a B.A.S.S. TV personality.

Every question asked that doesn't involve fishing or catching fish seems painful, but he doesn't beat around the bush giving you an answer. Whatever is on his mind is coming out of his mouth, and as a reporter/writer you appreciate such honesty.

That said, for Pace to make the most of this opportunity - and winning the Classic is the greatest the sport provides - he may just have to change his personality. It probably won't be easy, but no doubt a smile could make it more lucrative.

And he appears to be aware of that, even if he doesn't yet fully realize what this victory could mean to his future.

"What it means to me, I really can't put into words," Pace told the media. "What it will do for me, I really can't tell you that either. This is my first go-round with it. Everybody says it will change your life and I'm sure it will affect it you know...

"The Classic win comes with a lot of responsibilities. It puts a lot of eyes on you and a lot of eyes on the sport. You don't want to represent any part of that in a bad way. So for me I am going to continue what I do. I am going to try to fish the events as well as I can throughout the year on the Elite Series and say thanks to as many fans as what I can. And I'll say thanks to all the sponsors not only of me but the sponsors of this sport because this sport wouldn't be here without those people and I wouldn't have this opportunity.

"So for me, it's just going to be a learning curve for sure and I'm ready for that. I am looking forward to representing us all. I think we are all a great group of people. I think we have a great sport here and a great thing going with B.A.S.S. and I look forward to what the rest of my career with B.A.S.S. holds."

As for Pace's immediate reaction, he was himself.

"I am pleasantly calm," he said, with a forced smile.

But the hard part, at least for a guy named Game Face, may just lie ahead. Like it or not, at least for now, he is in the spotlight. How he deals with it will definitely affect his potential "cash-in" on the victory, but you have to wonder - if he changes, could it affect his fishing.

And is that a gamble worth taking?