Huntington, Texas Angler Wins Bassmaster Event on Sam Rayburn
What Goes Around, Comes Around
I'm a firm believer in that statement. When you do good things for others, eventually positive things start to happen in your life.
Case in point...a few weeks ago, professional angler Keith Combs hosted a C.A.S.T. for Kids fundraising banquet and fishing event in East Texas. This past weekend, the Huntington, Texas native won the St. Croix Bassmaster Central Open at Sam Rayburn presented by Mossy Oak Fishing.
Consistency Wins It For Combs
Combs, an Elite Series pro who lives only a half-hour away from Saturday’s weigh-in at Umphrey Family Pavilion, weighed 16 pounds, 11 ounces on the final day to score a come-from-behind victory with a three-day total of 46-5.
Combs haul on Day 1 totaled 14-4 which was good for 14th place, then he added 15-6 a day later to jump to seventh. When none of the six anglers ahead of him at Saturday’s start could muster a bag better than his 16-11 limit, the local favorite seized the championship.
Combs collected $43,867, but his sweetest prize was the berth he secured in the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic. The veteran has fished in eight previous Classics, and his ninth will come March 24-26 on the Tennessee River in Knoxville.
“I’m just happy I don’t have to work the (Classic) Expo,” Combs said, laughing. “But I am relieved. I’ve had some high points this season. I thought I could win (the Elite) on the Mississippi River and I didn’t get it done there (finishing third). I’ve had some seconds the last few years, and that just stings.
“I’m glad the season’s over,” he added. “And it’s good to win at home.”
Recent Drought Changes Strategies
The 114,000-acre reservoir in east Texas was nearly 6 feet low, which made fishing difficult at times for even the pros most familiar with the reservoir. Tough enough, Combs said, that he fished places for the first time ever this week.
One spot he located in practice proved particularly productive.“It was really unique,” he said. “I saw a hard spot off to the side of a channel (I’d been graphing) and I thought it was interesting. It was glowing on the Side Scan, out in this mud flat. I didn’t see any fish there, but it looked like the kind of place I catch them.
“A couple of days before the tournament started, I fished it about 9 a.m. and I got a 5-pounder. I knew it had potential.”
Two of Combs’ best bass on Saturday (both in the 4- to 5-pound range) came off that spot, in about 15 feet of water. He said his best bites came on a Strike King Structure Jig (Okeechobee craw) and a dark-colored Strike King Zeus Worm. He moved shallow late in the day and caught a 3-pounder on a Strike King Tungsten Thunder Cricket.
Combs said other productive lures on Rayburn included a Strike King 6XD crankbait (chartreuse/blue) and a 5XD Tennessee shad 2.0 crankbait.
Of the 188 pros who started the tournament, 10 made the cut to fish Saturday.
Top Ten Overall
- Keith Combs, Huntington, TX - 46.05
- Logan Latuso, Gonzales, LA - 44.08
- Kyle Norsetter, Cottage Grove, WI - 43.11
- Tristan McCormick, Burns, TX - 43.03
- Tyler Rivet, Raceland, LA - 39.14
- Cody Bird, Granbury, TX - 39.03
- Austin Cranford, Moore, OK - 37.15
- Kenta Kimura, Osaka, Japan - 36.07
- Hayden Newberry, Jonesboro, IL - 35.09
- Trevor McKinney, Benton, IL - 32.12
2022 Fall Shoot Out - Day One
2022 Big Bass Splash on Lake Sam Rayburn