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Combs Leads Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament on Falcon Lake

Combs Leads Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament on Falcon Lake Combs of Huntington, Texas, took the first-day lead by 4 pounds in the Falcon Slam tournament on Falcon Lake out of Zapata, Texas.
 

ZAPATA, Texas — Nine times out of 10, the strategy of “fishing your history” turns and bites the angler who tries to rely on past success.
 
That didn’t happen to Bassmaster Elite Series pro Keith Combs on Thursday, not on Falcon Lake, where he’s been a guide for years.
 
Combs of Huntington, Texas, took the first-day lead by 4 pounds in the Falcon Slam tournament on Falcon Lake out of Zapata, Texas. Unlike Combs, the pro in second place, Cliff Prince of Palatka, Fla., had not only never competed on Falcon Lake before this week, but he’d also never even seen the big Rio Grande impoundment.
 
Combs had 34 pounds, 13 ounces; Prince had 30-13. Right behind them was Elite rookie Josh Bertrand of Gilbert, Ariz., in third with 30-5. Settling into fourth place with 28-15 was another Elite rookie, Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla. Finishing fifth was Jonathan VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., with 28-12.
 
The Elite pros are competing on Falcon for a first-place prize of $100,000, an instant entry in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic and 100 points toward the coveted 2013 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.
 
Combs’ strong Falcon history stems from working as a Falcon guide the past nine winters when he wasn’t competing.
 
“I didn’t feel like that [his history] was going to be a big factor, but I think it was,” he said. “After my practice doing other things, I knew I couldn’t catch them doing anything new, so I lived off history today. I felt it was my only chance. I knew if I caught them out there today, they’d be big.”
 
He said his entire first-day weight came from two deep, offshore spots. Both are about 100 yards long, he said, and he had them mostly to himself.
 
“I did catch two right off the bat, and that helped me so much because they were two big ones,” Combs said. “It was a grind after that. I went an hour and a half to the next bite. Then I got two within 10 minutes of each other.”
 
Combs had a limit by noon. He was able to cull three more times. He ended up with what he called “a sack of 7s,” five fish that were almost all 7-pounders.
 
Prince said he caught two of his fish on a Carolina rig early in the morning, then went to shallow water to flip.
 
“I moved up about 10:30 and started flipping,” he said. “I only had a couple places to catch them deep, and I’d had some good bites in practice flipping, so I figured I’d better move up quick to get a limit,” he said.
 
He flipped to deadwood that’s showing since the lake’s level has dropped nearly 30 feet due to drought conditions. He paid attention to the mesquite trees that looked the most twisted. “The [more] gnarly, the better,” he said.
 
By the end of the day, he had caught enough fish to make two or three limits, he said.
 
The two largest bass of the day were a pair 9-11s weighed by Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., and Rick Morris of Virginia Beach, Va. If 9-11 holds, they’d split the Carhartt Big Bass award worth $1,000, plus another $750 if they were wearing Carhartt apparel.
 
The leader’s 34-13 was Thursday’s entry in the event’s Berkley Heavyweight Award competition for a $500 bonus.
 
The full field of 100 Elite pros will return to the water Friday for the second of four days of competition. Fans who want to watch how the competition unfolds can come to the Zapata County Public Boat Ramp (3079 County Road, Zapata, TX 78076). The pros will leave the docks about 7:15 a.m. CT, and weigh their catches beginning at 3:15 p.m. CT. Starting at noon, the Bassmaster Elite Series Expo will showcase new boats, tackle, Rigid Industries LED lighting systems, vehicles and other equipment for fishing and boating. All Bassmaster events are free.
 
2013 Falcon Slam 3/21-3/24
Falcon Lake, Zapata  TX.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1
 
   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   
 
1.  Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  34-13  100
  Day 1: 5   34-13  
2.  Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  30-13   99
  Day 1: 5   30-13  
3.  Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  30-05   98
  Day 1: 5   30-05  
4.  Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  28-15   97
  Day 1: 5   28-15  
5.  Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  28-12   96
  Day 1: 5   28-12  
6.  Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  27-14   95
  Day 1: 5   27-14  
7.  Kelly Jordon           Palestine, TX            5  27-08   94
  Day 1: 5   27-08  
8.  Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  26-10   93
  Day 1: 5   26-10  
9.  Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  26-08   92
  Day 1: 5   26-08  
10. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  26-07   91
  Day 1: 5   26-07  
11. John Crews             Salem, VA                5  26-03   90
  Day 1: 5   26-03  
12. Pete Ponds             Madison, MS              5  26-00   89
  Day 1: 5   26-00  
13. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  25-15   88
  Day 1: 5   25-15  
14. Bobby Lane             Lakeland, FL             5  25-09   87
  Day 1: 5   25-09  
14. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  25-09   87
  Day 1: 5   25-09  
16. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               5  25-05   85
  Day 1: 5   25-05  
17. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  24-09   84
  Day 1: 5   24-09  
18. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  24-08   83
  Day 1: 5   24-08  
19. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR            5  23-15   82
  Day 1: 5   23-15  
20. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  23-12   81
  Day 1: 5   23-12  
21. Jason Williamson       Aiken, SC                5  23-12   80
  Day 1: 5   23-12  
22. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  23-11   79
  Day 1: 5   23-11  
22. John Murray            Phoenix, AZ              5  23-11   79
  Day 1: 5   23-11  
24. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  23-09   77
  Day 1: 5   23-09  
25. Shaw E Grigsby Jr.     Gainesville, FL          5  23-02   76
  Day 1: 5   23-02  
26. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  22-12   75
  Day 1: 5   22-12  
27. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  22-09   74
  Day 1: 5   22-09  
28. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  22-06   73
  Day 1: 5   22-06  
29. Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH           5  22-05   72
  Day 1: 5   22-05  
29. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  22-05   72
  Day 1: 5   22-05  
29. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  22-05   72
  Day 1: 5   22-05  
32. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  22-03   69
  Day 1: 5   22-03  
33. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  21-11   68
  Day 1: 5   21-11  
34. Jason Quinn            Lake Wylie, SC           5  21-09   67
  Day 1: 5   21-09  
34. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  21-09   67
  Day 1: 5   21-09  
36. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  21-07   65
  Day 1: 5   21-07  
37. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  20-15   64
  Day 1: 5   20-15  
38. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  20-10   63
  Day 1: 5   20-10  
39. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  20-08   62
  Day 1: 5   20-08  
40. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR            5  20-05   61
  Day 1: 5   20-05  
40. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  20-05   61
  Day 1: 5   20-05  
42. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  20-04   59
  Day 1: 5   20-04  
42. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             5  20-04   59
  Day 1: 5   20-04  
44. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            5  20-03   57
  Day 1: 5   20-03  
45. Randy Howell           Springville, AL          5  20-00   56
  Day 1: 5   20-00  
46. Hank Cherry            Maiden, NC               5  19-05   55
  Day 1: 5   19-05  
47. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  19-02   54
  Day 1: 5   19-02  
48. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               4  19-02   53
  Day 1: 4   19-02  
49. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  18-13   52
  Day 1: 5   18-13  
50. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  18-12   51
  Day 1: 5   18-12  
51. Grant Goldbeck         Boerne, TX               5  18-10   50
  Day 1: 5   18-10  
52. Jeremy Starks          Scott Depot, WV          5  18-09   49
  Day 1: 5   18-09  
53. Kevin Ledoux           Choctaw, OK              5  18-07   48
  Day 1: 5   18-07  
54. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  18-05   47
  Day 1: 5   18-05  
55. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               3  18-04   46
  Day 1: 3   18-04  
56. Fletcher Shryock       Newcomerstown, OH        5  17-13   45
  Day 1: 5   17-13  
57. Matt Herren            Trussville, AL           5  17-08   44
  Day 1: 5   17-08  
58. Casey D Ashley         Donalds, SC              5  17-06   43
  Day 1: 5   17-06  
59. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  17-05   42
  Day 1: 5   17-05  
59. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  17-05   42
  Day 1: 5   17-05  
61. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  16-14   40
  Day 1: 5   16-14  
62. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                3  16-06   39
  Day 1: 3   16-06  
63. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  16-05   38
  Day 1: 5   16-05  
64. Timmy Horton           Muscle Shoals, AL        5  15-13   37
  Day 1: 5   15-13  
65. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  15-11   36
  Day 1: 5   15-11  
66. Jamie Horton           Centerville, AL          4  15-08   35
  Day 1: 4   15-08  
67. Morizo Shimizu         Osaka JAPAN              5  15-07   34
  Day 1: 5   15-07  
68. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  15-00   33
  Day 1: 5   15-00  
69. David Smith            Del City, OK             5  14-13   32
  Day 1: 5   14-13  
70. Scott Ashmore          Broken Arrow, OK         4  14-06   31
  Day 1: 4   14-06  
71. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  13-13   30
  Day 1: 5   13-13  
72. Clark Reehm            Shreveport, LA           5  13-11   29
  Day 1: 5   13-11  
73. Boyd Duckett           Demopolis, AL            5  13-04   28
  Day 1: 5   13-04  
73. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                5  13-04   28
  Day 1: 5   13-04  
75. Kevin Hawk             Guntersville, AL         5  13-02   26
  Day 1: 5   13-02  
76. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  13-00   25
  Day 1: 5   13-00   
77. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             3  12-13   24
  Day 1: 3   12-13  
78. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  12-12   23
  Day 1: 5   12-12  
79. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  3  12-12   22
  Day 1: 3   12-12  
80. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  12-08   21
  Day 1: 5   12-08  
81. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                3  12-05   20
  Day 1: 3   12-05  
82. Matt Greenblatt        Port St Lucie, FL        5  11-13   19
  Day 1: 5   11-13  
83. Kenyon Hill            Norman, OK               2  11-10   18
  Day 1: 2   11-10  
84. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               4  11-08   17
  Day 1: 4   11-08  
85. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           5  11-00   16
  Day 1: 5   11-00  
86. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                3  11-00   15
  Day 1: 3   11-00  
87. Jami Fralick           Martin, SD               3  10-09   14
  Day 1: 3   10-09  
88. Nate Wellman           Newaygo, MI              3  10-02   13
  Day 1: 3   10-02  
89. Michael Iaconelli      Pittsgrove, NJ           5  08-11   12
  Day 1: 5   08-11  
90. Kurt Dove              Del Rio, TX              4  08-07   11
  Day 1: 4   08-07  
91. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         2  07-14   10
  Day 1: 2   07-14  
92. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                 2  07-03    9
  Day 1: 2   07-03  
93. Zell Rowland           Montgomery, TX           2  06-13    8
  Day 1: 2   06-13  
94. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        3  05-14    7
  Day 1: 3   05-14  
95. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             3  05-10    6
  Day 1: 3   05-10  
96. Chip Porche            Bixby, OK                3  04-11    5
  Day 1: 3   04-11  
97. BJ Haseotes            Centerville, MA          2  04-00    4
  Day 1: 2   04-00  
98. Casey Scanlon          Lenexa, KS               2  02-13    3
  Day 1: 2   02-13  
99. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          0  00-00    0
  Day 1: 0   00-00  
99. Michael Simonton       Fremont, OH              0  00-00    0
  Day 1: 0   00-00  
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        76       445      1797-13
----------------------------------
          76       445      1797-13

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