TTBC Clincher: Combs outlasts Ike in Epic Tournament Finish
Conroe, TX - Three days and 76-pounds, 12-ounces wasn’t enough to determine a winner this past weekend at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic – it all came down to one final hour and a 15-inch bass (barely legal).
Bass King Pro Team Angler Keith Combs and Toyota Pro Mike Iaconelli battled neck-and-neck in the one-two positions during the three-day tournament on Lake Conroe. The veteran Iaconelli from New Jersey, with a Bassmaster Classic and B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year title, and the “sophomore” Elite Series Pro Combs were tied at the final weigh-in, both with a record-setting three-day total of 76 pounds, 12-ounces.
The exuberant anglers were forced to go back on the water where they would have one hour to fish. The first to catch a legal 14-inch bass, verified by their on-the-water judge and tournament officials listening via cell phone, would be declared the winner.
Once fishing resumed, Iaconelli landed a 12-incher right away, just shy of the legal mark. Meanwhile, Combs made a run to a spot where he nailed fish previously and, with 15-minutes remaining before the 6:45 PM deadline, he boated his tournament clinching 15-inch largemouth.
With the biggest win of his young career, Combs put a stamp on his two-year run as an established pro and earned himself $100,000 and a new Legend Boat with Evinrude Outboard.
Said Combs of his winning catch, “I had this big ‘ol Norman crankbait tied on that I’d been catching seven-pounders with all week and all I needed was a 14-incher. I started to think I was crazy, but then I caught it. He was the scroungiest-looking sucker with half his lip missing and warts on his tail, but he was a 15-incher.”
Combs is well-known among Texas anglers, and will now presumably skyrocket into the national spotlight. This season, he has made quite a name for himself in the Elite Series as a rookie. Keith looks forward to competing in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic this coming February in Shreveport, LA – the Super Bowl of bass fishing which he qualified for earlier this year.