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Combs Leads Elite Series Tournament on West Point Lake

Combs Leads Elite Series Tournament on West Point Lake
 

LAGRANGE, Ga. — Zero.
 
By 1:30 p.m. Thursday, that’s how many bass Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, believed he’d end up weighing in on the first day of the Elite series tournament on West Point Lake, the fourth event of the Bassmaster Elite Series season. In six hours of casting, he had not had one bite.
 
Suddenly, “Things just started to roll,” he said.
 
Combs ended the day leading the tournament after weighing 15 pounds, 14 ounces. He was 4 ounces in front of Greg Vinson of Wetumpka, Ala., who turned in 15-10. Behind Combs and Vinson was the 2013 Bassmaster Classic champ, Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss., who was third with 14-2
 
“I had some sight fish, I had some flipping fish, I had some fish in the current, I had some cranking fish — and I ran all that stuff and didn’t catch any,” Combs said. “I thought I wasn’t going to catch a fish today.”
 
Fishless, he re-ran all the same water, trying all his different techniques again and again. His breakthrough was a largemouth off a spawning bed. Then he moved and was able to fill his five-fish limit with smaller spotted bass for about 7 pounds total, he estimated.
 
His day just got better and better. He saw a largemouth “cruising” and made a cast to it.
 
“They don’t usually bite, but this one did. It was a 3 1/2. I caught my big one the same way,” he said, “but in a different place.”
 
His “big one” weighed 6 pounds, 9 ounces and enabled him to cull another smaller spotted bass.
 
“It just was weird to go through all that stuff one time and not catch a fish, then come back to it again and whack them. I’d say I’m probably the luckiest guy in Georgia right now,” said Combs, who on March 24 won the Elite event on Falcon Lake in wire-to-wire fashion.
 
Vinson — who less than two weeks ago led the Elite tournament for two days running at Bull Shoals Lake — said he’s fishing with confidence and is tapping into his high comfort level at West Point Lake.
 
“Bull Shoals didn’t hurt my confidence, even though I fell as much as I did,” Vinson said, referring to his fall out of contention on Day 3 after his prime fishing spot filled with floating logs and debris.
 
“I’m building off Bull Shoals,” he said. “And here, I’m on a lake I’ve spent a lot of time on.”
 
Vinson said he started his day on the areas and pattern as he’d planned and caught two largemouth, including his biggest, a 4-14. But then the action stopped. He regrouped at about 11 a.m.
 
“I finally realized that my primary pattern was a bust,” he said. “I went to another deal, totally different, and it worked out. Hopefully I’ve started to build a pattern that could work out.”
 
In fourth place was Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala., with 13-5. Fifth place was claimed by Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., with 13-0.
 
The largest bass weighed Thursday was a 6-12. Caught by Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., it leads the Big Bass competition for $1,000, plus $500 if the angler was wearing Carhartt clothing. Combs’ bag of 15-14 set the pace for the Berkley Heavyweight award of $500.
 
For many in the field of 100 pros, Day 1 of the Battle was a lot rougher. It took just 10-6 to get into the Top 12 in Thursday’s standings. Sixty-nine pros weighed five-fish limits.
 
The Elite pros are competing for $100,000, an instant-in for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic and points that count toward the Bassmaster Angler of the Year title awarded at the end of the season.
 
The four-day event continues Friday when the full field of 100 will return to West Point Lake out of LaGrange, Ga. The pros will launch at 6:40 a.m. each day from Pyne Road Park (4481 Roanoke Road, LaGrange, GA 30240). Beginning at 3:15 p.m., weigh-ins will be at the same location.
 
                                                                 
                                                                    
                                            
2013 West Point Lake Battle 5/2-5/5
West Point Lake, La Grange  GA.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1
 
   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts  
 
1.  Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  15-14    0
  Day 1: 5   15-14  
2.  Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  15-10    0
  Day 1: 5   15-10  
3.  Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  14-02    0
  Day 1: 5   14-02  
4.  Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  13-05    0
  Day 1: 5   13-05  
5.  Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  13-00    0
  Day 1: 5   13-00  
6.  Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  12-10    0
  Day 1: 5   12-10  
7.  Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              4  12-10    0
  Day 1: 4   12-10  
8.  Hank Cherry            Maiden, NC               5  12-04    0
  Day 1: 5   12-04  
9.  Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  11-05    0
  Day 1: 5   11-05  
10. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          3  10-13    0
  Day 1: 3   10-13  
11. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  10-07    0
  Day 1: 5   10-07  
12. John Crews             Salem, VA                4  10-06    0
  Day 1: 4   10-06  
13. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  10-04    0
  Day 1: 5   10-04  
14. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  09-12    0
  Day 1: 5   09-12  
15. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  09-11    0
  Day 1: 5   09-11  
16. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  09-09    0
  Day 1: 5   09-09  
17. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  09-07    0
  Day 1: 5   09-07  
18. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  09-05    0
  Day 1: 5   09-05  
19. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  09-04    0
  Day 1: 5   09-04  
20. Casey D Ashley         Donalds, SC              5  08-15    0
  Day 1: 5   08-15  
20. Boyd Duckett           Demopolis, AL            5  08-15    0
  Day 1: 5   08-15  
22. Jami Fralick           Martin, SD               5  08-14    0
  Day 1: 5   08-14  
23. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             5  08-12    0
  Day 1: 5   08-12  
24. Pete Ponds             Madison, MS              5  08-11    0
  Day 1: 5   08-11  
24. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  08-11    0
  Day 1: 5   08-11  
26. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                5  08-10    0
  Day 1: 5   08-10  
26. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  08-10    0
  Day 1: 5   08-10  
28. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  08-07    0
  Day 1: 5   08-07  
29. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  08-06    0
  Day 1: 5   08-06  
30. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  08-05    0
  Day 1: 5   08-05  
31. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  08-03    0
  Day 1: 5   08-03  
32. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  08-01    0
  Day 1: 5   08-01  
33. Morizo Shimizu         Osaka JAPAN              5  08-00    0
  Day 1: 5   08-00  
33. Nate Wellman           Newaygo, MI              5  08-00    0
  Day 1: 5   08-00  
35. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  07-15    0
  Day 1: 5   07-15  
35. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  07-15    0
  Day 1: 5   07-15  
37. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  07-14    0
  Day 1: 5   07-14  
38. Kevin Hawk             Guntersville, AL         5  07-13    0
  Day 1: 5   07-13  
38. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  07-13    0
  Day 1: 5   07-13  
40. Kurt Dove              Del Rio, TX              5  07-12    0
  Day 1: 5   07-12  
40. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  07-12    0
  Day 1: 5   07-12  
40. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  07-12    0
  Day 1: 5   07-12  
43. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  07-11    0
  Day 1: 5   07-11  
43. Clark Reehm            Shreveport, LA           5  07-11    0
  Day 1: 5   07-11  
45. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR            5  07-10    0
  Day 1: 5   07-10  
46. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  07-09    0
  Day 1: 5   07-09  
47. Timmy Horton           Muscle Shoals, AL        5  07-07    0
  Day 1: 5   07-07  
48. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  07-06    0
  Day 1: 5   07-06  
49. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  07-04    0
  Day 1: 5   07-04  
50. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR            4  07-04    0
  Day 1: 4   07-04  
51. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        3  07-04    0
  Day 1: 3   07-04  
52. John Murray            Phoenix, AZ              5  07-03    0
  Day 1: 5   07-03  
53. Kenyon Hill            Norman, OK               5  07-01    0
  Day 1: 5   07-01  
54. Jason Williamson       Aiken, SC                5  07-00    0
  Day 1: 5   07-00  
55. Shaw E Grigsby Jr.     Gainesville, FL          5  06-15    0
  Day 1: 5   06-15  
56. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  06-09    0
  Day 1: 5   06-09  
56. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                 5  06-09    0
  Day 1: 5   06-09  
58. Scott Ashmore          Broken Arrow, OK         5  06-07    0
  Day 1: 5   06-07  
58. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  06-07    0
  Day 1: 5   06-07  
60. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           5  06-06    0
  Day 1: 5   06-06  
61. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                5  06-04    0
  Day 1: 5   06-04  
61. David Smith            Del City, OK             5  06-04    0
  Day 1: 5   06-04  
63. Michael Simonton       Fremont, OH              2  06-04    0
  Day 1: 2   06-04  
64. Jason Quinn            Lake Wylie, SC           5  06-03    0
  Day 1: 5   06-03  
65. Bobby Lane             Lakeland, FL             4  06-03    0
  Day 1: 4   06-03  
65. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              4  06-03    0
  Day 1: 4   06-03  
67. Randy Howell           Springville, AL          4  06-00    0
  Day 1: 4   06-00  
68. Kelly Jordon           Palestine, TX            4  05-13    0
  Day 1: 4   05-13  
69. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  05-12    0
  Day 1: 5   05-12  
69. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  05-12    0
  Day 1: 5   05-12  
71. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  05-11    0
  Day 1: 5   05-11  
71. Casey Scanlon          Lenexa, KS               5  05-11    0
  Day 1: 5   05-11  
71. Jeremy Starks          Scott Depot, WV          5  05-11    0
  Day 1: 5   05-11  
74. Matt Herren            Trussville, AL           5  05-10    0
  Day 1: 5   05-10  
74. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  05-10    0
  Day 1: 5   05-10  
76. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  05-09    0
  Day 1: 5   05-09  
76. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  05-09    0
  Day 1: 5   05-09  
78. Fletcher Shryock       Newcomerstown, OH        5  05-08    0
  Day 1: 5   05-08  
79. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          4  05-07    0
  Day 1: 4   05-07  
80. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               3  05-07    0
  Day 1: 3   05-07  
81. BJ Haseotes            Centerville, MA          4  05-06    0
  Day 1: 4   05-06  
81. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            4  05-06    0
  Day 1: 4   05-06  
83. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             4  05-03    0
  Day 1: 4   05-03  
84. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            3  05-03    0
  Day 1: 3   05-03  
85. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  04-15    0
  Day 1: 5   04-15  
86. Chip Porche            Bixby, OK                3  04-14    0
  Day 1: 3   04-14  
87. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               4  04-12    0
  Day 1: 4   04-12  
87. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           4  04-12    0
  Day 1: 4   04-12  
89. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            3  04-06    0
  Day 1: 3   04-06  
90. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               2  04-01    0
  Day 1: 2   04-01  
91. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            2  04-00    0
  Day 1: 2   04-00  
92. Jamie Horton           Centerville, AL          3  03-10    0
  Day 1: 3   03-10  
93. Zell Rowland           Montgomery, TX           2  03-03    0
  Day 1: 2   03-03  
94. Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH           3  03-00    0
  Day 1: 3   03-00  
95. Matt Greenblatt        Port St Lucie, FL        2  02-12    0
  Day 1: 2   02-12  
96. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            2  02-08    0
  Day 1: 2   02-08  
97. Kevin Ledoux           Choctaw, OK              3  02-07    0
  Day 1: 3   02-07  
98. Grant Goldbeck         Boerne, TX               2  02-03    0
  Day 1: 2   02-03  
99. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               2  02-01    0
  Day 1: 2   02-01  
100. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              1  01-03    0
  Day 1: 1   01-03  
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        69       441       729-11
----------------------------------
          69       441       729-11

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