Combs Keeps Lead Despite Rick Clunn’s Charge at Falcon

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Elite Series Falcon Lake Day Three Leader Keith Combs

Elite Series Falcon Lake Day Three Leader Keith Combs – photo courtesy B.A.S.S.

Rick Clunn Day Three Big Bag

Rick Clunn Shows off his Giant Day Three Limit – photo courtesy B.A.S.S.

ZAPATA, Texas — Rick Clunn was exhausted. The man with arguably the all-time most famous name in pro bass fishing had just spent more than seven hours hauling in big bass after big bass from Falcon Lake in 100-degree-plus Texas Brush Country heat. In his weigh-in bags — he had to use two — swam five enormous largemouth bass.

“I had 32-9 yesterday, and I think I have over that,” said the pro from Ava., Mo., back at the docks. He came off the water early and was in line to be the first to weigh in on the third day of the Rigid Industries Falcon Slam out of Zapata, Texas.

His trip to the scales proved his prediction. Clunn’s five fish weighed 36 pounds, 14 ounces, the largest single-day bag after three of the Slam’s four days. The only thing Clunn missed catching Saturday was the leader, Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas.

Combs remained the leader by 1 pound over Clunn after starting the day with a 7-7 margin.

Combs weighed in 20-5 Saturday, a disappointment to him after his huge Day 1 bag of 34-13 and Day 2 sack of 28-1. He ran into trouble Saturday and brought in a lighter bag — even though 20-5 would be terrific on almost any lake but Falcon. His three-day total was 83 pounds, 3 ounces.

He would not even have had that 20-plus pounds if not for the good sportsmanship shown by a fellow Elite pro from Texas, Clark Reehm.

“I had some mechanical issues about noon,” said Combs, who was fishing near the Falcon Dam. “I probably lost about an hour and a half of fishing time, but Clark allowed me to get into his boat and fish. I really appreciate what he did. He didn’t have to let me fish, but he did.”

Before he climbed aboard with Reehm, Combs had four bass; the fifth came unbuttoned before he could boat it. He was able to fill out his limit fishing from the back of Reehm’s boat.

“I wouldn’t have the lead without him. I might not even had made it in if not for him,” said Combs, who is aiming for his first Elite Series win.

Combs plans to have his boat back in working order by Sunday morning and go to work.

“I sure won’t have a cushion tomorrow, so I’m going to have to crack them hard,” he said.

Clunn said he wants to bust the 100-pound mark, as well as go for the win. He’s in position for both goals.

“First, I’ll have to do some recovering tonight to be ready to go out there again,” said Clunn, the four-time Bassmaster Classic champ, who also owns a Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.

Clunn said he plans to return Sunday to the lunker heaven he’s fished for three days. Although he caught two fish there in practice, he didn’t go to it until very late on Day 1, when he had just enough time left to collect three bass that weighed 12-12. That left him in 79th place.

“I discovered I’d been dialed-in on the wrong size bait,” he said. Once he made the correction the next day, he began to catch the bigger bass. He jumped to 24th place on Day 2 after bringing in 32-9. Saturday he returned, hanging there all day for his five bass. Two weighed more than 8 pounds, and the others were 6-plus pounds, he estimated.

“I’m feeling surreal. I’m trying to grasp everything,” he said. “I always find it interesting that people criticize [2013 Bassmaster Classic champ] Cliff Pace for not being emotional. I can remember winning the Classic, and I was the same way. I didn’t have anything left to celebrate with. At the end of the day, if you have anything left to celebrate with, you didn’t fish hard enough. Later tonight or tomorrow, it’ll hit me.

“We’ve got one more day. It’s no time to celebrate anyway,” he said. “I am happy with what I’ve done so far. I’ll have to catch close to that [36-14] again to win this.”

Behind Combs and Clunn after the third day was Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla., in third place with 78-15. Gary Klein of Weatherford, Texas, was 2 ounces behind Evers and in fourth with 78-13. Jason Williamson of Aiken, S.C., weighed in 32-9 Saturday to catapult from 28th to fifth place.

The last man into the Top 12 cut was rookie Josh Bertrand of Gilbert, Ariz., with a 72-0 total. First man out was Alton Jones of Lorena, Texas, who missed tying Bertrand by 1 ounce.

The largest bass of the day was a 9-9 caught by Billy McCaghren of Mayflower, Ark. It was a catch that helped him into the Top 12 at 10th place. But the 10-13 lunker weighed Friday by Matt Greenblatt of Port St. Lucie, Fla., still led the Slam’s contest to bring in the Carhartt Big Bass and collect an award worth $1,000, plus another $750 if the angler was wearing Carhartt apparel.

Clunn’s catch of 36-14 became the top candidate for the event’s Berkley Heavyweight Award competition for a $500 bonus, beating the previous big bag, a 35-3 weighed Friday by Cliff Crochet of Pierre Part, La.

The pros will leave the docks at the Zapata County Public Boat Ramp (3079 County Road, Zapata, TX 78076) at 7:15 a.m. CT. The weigh-in is scheduled to begin 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.

Bassmaster.com will provide extensive coverage of the event all four days. Access to all Bassmaster.com content is free.

The event’s title sponsor is Rigid Industries of Mesa, Ariz., maker of LED lighting products for vehicles, boats and boat trailers; www.rigidindustries.com. The local sponsor is the Zapata County Chamber of Commerce; www.zapatachamber.com.

2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Official Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Carhartt, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Luck “E” Strike, Power-Pole, Ramada, Shimano

2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Proud Partner: Mustang Survival

About B.A.S.S.
For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has served as the authority on bass fishing. The organization advances the sport through advocacy, outreach and an expansive tournament structure while connecting directly with the passionate community of bass anglers through its Bassmaster media vehicles.

The Bassmaster brand and its multimedia platforms are guided by a mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications — Bassmaster Magazine and B.A.S.S. Times — comprehensive website Bassmaster.com and ESPN2 and Outdoor Channel television programming, Bassmaster provides rich, leading-edge content true to the lifestyle.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, B.A.S.S. Nation events and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Bassmaster Classic.

B.A.S.S. offers an array of services to its more than 500,000 members and remains focused on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala.

2013 Falcon Slam 3/21-3/24
Falcon Lake, Zapata  TX.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 3

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Keith Combs            Huntington, TX          15  83-03  100     $500.00
Day 1: 5   34-13     Day 2: 5   28-01     Day 3: 5   20-05
2.  Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                 13  82-03   99
Day 1: 3   12-12     Day 2: 5   32-09     Day 3: 5   36-14
3.  Edwin Evers            Talala, OK              15  78-15   98
Day 1: 5   26-08     Day 2: 5   28-15     Day 3: 5   23-08
4.  Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX         15  78-13   97
Day 1: 5   21-11     Day 2: 5   28-12     Day 3: 5   28-06
5.  Jason Williamson       Aiken, SC               15  76-12   96
Day 1: 5   23-12     Day 2: 5   20-07     Day 3: 5   32-09
6.  Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL             15  76-11   95
Day 1: 5   30-13     Day 2: 5   22-12     Day 3: 5   23-02
7.  Brandon Card           Caryville, TN           15  75-02   94
Day 1: 5   20-03     Day 2: 5   25-12     Day 3: 5   29-03
8.  John Crews             Salem, VA               15  74-06   93
Day 1: 5   26-03     Day 2: 5   15-08     Day 3: 5   32-11
9.  Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA         15  72-06   92
Day 1: 5   18-12     Day 2: 5   35-03     Day 3: 5   18-07
10. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR           15  72-04   91
Day 1: 5   20-05     Day 2: 5   20-03     Day 3: 5   31-12
11. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK           15  72-01   90
Day 1: 5   28-15     Day 2: 5   25-01     Day 3: 5   18-01
12. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ             14  72-00   89
Day 1: 5   30-05     Day 2: 5   23-00     Day 3: 4   18-11
13. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX              15  71-15   88  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   26-10     Day 2: 5   20-13     Day 3: 5   24-08
14. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK             15  71-10   87  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   24-08     Day 2: 5   22-07     Day 3: 5   24-11
15. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA         15  71-09   86  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   27-14     Day 2: 5   22-12     Day 3: 5   20-15
16. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN           15  70-03   85  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   18-13     Day 2: 5   20-07     Day 3: 5   30-15
17. Bobby Lane             Lakeland, FL            15  69-14   84  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   25-09     Day 2: 5   25-15     Day 3: 5   18-06
18. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ              13  68-03   83  $10,000.00
Day 1: 3   18-04     Day 2: 5   31-12     Day 3: 5   18-03
19. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI           15  68-03   82  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   21-09     Day 2: 5   28-10     Day 3: 5   18-00
20. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA             15  68-01   81  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   26-07     Day 2: 5   22-12     Day 3: 5   18-14
21. Jared Miller           Norman, OK              15  67-14   80  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   25-05     Day 2: 5   21-00     Day 3: 5   21-09
22. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX        15  67-07   79  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   20-05     Day 2: 5   22-08     Day 3: 5   24-10
23. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR         15  67-06   78  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   22-05     Day 2: 5   22-12     Day 3: 5   22-05
24. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL               15  66-12   77  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   20-15     Day 2: 5   24-03     Day 3: 5   21-10
25. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL           15  66-06   76  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   20-04     Day 2: 5   20-08     Day 3: 5   25-10
26. Jason Quinn            Lake Wylie, SC          15  66-04   75  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   21-09     Day 2: 5   22-01     Day 3: 5   22-10
27. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA              14  65-10   74  $10,000.00
Day 1: 4   11-08     Day 2: 5   32-04     Day 3: 5   21-14
28. Grant Goldbeck         Boerne, TX              15  65-05   73  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   18-10     Day 2: 5   25-08     Day 3: 5   21-03
29. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ    15  65-03   72  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   22-05     Day 2: 5   23-01     Day 3: 5   19-13
30. Morizo Shimizu         Osaka JAPAN             15  64-15   71  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   15-07     Day 2: 5   27-12     Day 3: 5   21-12
31. David Walker           Sevierville, TN         15  64-15   70  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   18-05     Day 2: 5   24-02     Day 3: 5   22-08
32. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA             15  64-09   69  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   20-10     Day 2: 5   21-07     Day 3: 5   22-08
33. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA            15  63-02   68  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   20-04     Day 2: 5   20-11     Day 3: 5   22-03
34. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA            15  62-14   67  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   25-15     Day 2: 5   24-07     Day 3: 5   12-08
35. Boyd Duckett           Demopolis, AL           15  62-04   66  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   13-04     Day 2: 5   27-15     Day 3: 5   21-01
36. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI           14  62-00   65  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   28-12     Day 2: 5   14-05     Day 3: 4   18-15
37. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL          15  60-09   64  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   22-06     Day 2: 5   19-03     Day 3: 5   19-00
38. John Murray            Phoenix, AZ             15  60-04   63  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   23-11     Day 2: 5   17-08     Day 3: 5   19-01
39. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                 15  60-03   62  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   19-02     Day 2: 5   27-00     Day 3: 5   14-01
40. Kelly Jordon           Palestine, TX           15  59-15   61  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   27-08     Day 2: 5   20-05     Day 3: 5   12-02
41. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY           15  59-07   60  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   25-09     Day 2: 5   16-01     Day 3: 5   17-13
42. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS        15  58-15   59  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   24-09     Day 2: 5   15-10     Day 3: 5   18-12
43. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL             15  58-14   58  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   23-12     Day 2: 5   22-08     Day 3: 5   12-10
44. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL           15  57-05   57  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   22-03     Day 2: 5   20-03     Day 3: 5   14-15
45. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX               15  55-01   56  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   23-09     Day 2: 5   22-02     Day 3: 5   09-06
46. Pete Ponds             Madison, MS             15  54-14   55  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   26-00     Day 2: 5   14-07     Day 3: 5   14-07
47. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                9  53-10   54  $10,000.00
Day 1: 3   16-06     Day 2: 5   32-07     Day 3: 1   04-13
48. Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH          14  51-07   53  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   22-05     Day 2: 5   16-15     Day 3: 4   12-03
49. Fletcher Shryock       Newcomerstown, OH       15  51-02   52  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   17-13     Day 2: 5   23-00     Day 3: 5   10-05
50. Clark Reehm            Shreveport, LA          12  47-03   51  $10,000.00
Day 1: 5   13-11     Day 2: 5   30-12     Day 3: 2   02-12
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        76       445      1797-13
2        90       479      1973-07
3        45       240      1013-00
———————————-
211      1164      4784-04