Toyota Texas Bass Classic Announces World Class Field

Top 35 bass anglers in the world set to compete on Lake Fork

QUITMAN, TX (April 1, 2015) – The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) will feature 35 of the world’s best anglers Memorial Day Weekend, May 23 – 25, 2015 on Lake Fork in Quitman, Texas. Highlights from the field include 3-time TTBC winner and defending champion, Keith Combs and 2015 Bassmaster Classic Champion, Casey Ashley.

The 2015 final field is made up of the top 15 anglers in 2014 Angler of the Year points from both the FLW and Bass Elite Series. Other notable anglers include 2014 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Greg Hackney, 2013 recipient and 2014 runner-up Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Aaron Martens, and Andy Morgan, 2014 and 2013 FLW Tour Angler of the Year.

“This is one of the strongest and most talented fields we’ve ever had,” said Lenny Francoeur, Tournament Director. “We shattered records during last years’ event and with yet another star studded field; we could be looking at rewriting those records this Memorial Day on Lake Fork.”

The field boasts a combined 190 wins, 19 Angler of the Year Awards, 19 Majors and over $56 million in career earnings. In addition to 30 professional anglers there are 4 sponsor exemptions which include Mike Iaconelli, Kelly Jordon, Terry Scroggins and Kevin VanDam and defending champion, Keith Combs.

“The TTBC is the tournament I look forward to above all others each year,” said Keith Combs “As a native Texan, it was a dream come true to win my third TTBC title last year and I cannot wait to return to the incredible Lake Fork, with the best anglers in the world, to defend my title in May.”

Along with the coveted title of TTBC Champion, the anglers will be battling it out for two additional awards: the Toyota Tundra Big Bass Award and the LEER Heavy Weight Award. The Toyota Tundra Big Bass Award is new to the 2015 event. The angler who catches the single heaviest fish from any of the three days of the competition will win a 2015 Toyota Tundra. The LEER Heavy Weight Award is awarded to the angler with the heaviest total weight of fish from any of the three days of the tournament will win a LEER truck cap.

2015 Toyota Texas Bass Classic final field:

 

Matt Arey                     Shelby, North Carolina

Casey Ashley                Donalds, South Carolina

Jason Christie               Park Hill, Oklahoma

Keith Combs                Huntington, Texas

John Crews                   Salem, Virginia

Mark Davis                   Mount Ida, Arkansas

Brent Ehrler                 Redlands, California

Todd Faircloth              Jasper, Texas

Shinichi Fukae             Palestine, Texas

Greg Hackney               Gonzales, Louisiana

Matthew Herren           Trussville, Alabama

Brett Hite                     Phoenix, Arizona

Mike Iaconelli               Runnemede, New Jersey

Kelly Jordon                 Mineola, Texas

Chris Lane                    Guntersville, Alabama

Jared Lintner                Arroyo Grande, California

Justin Lucas                 Guntersville, Alabama

Aaron Martens              Leeds, Alabama

Scott Martin                 Clewiston, Florida

Cody Meyer                  Auburn, California

Andy Morgan               Dayton, Tennessee

Chad Morgenthaler       Coulterville, Illinois

Michael Neal                Dayton, Tennessee

Brandon Palaniuk         Rathdrum, Idaho

Jacob Powroznik           Port Haywood, Virginia

Dean Rojas                   Lake Havasu, Arizona

Mark Rose                    West Memphis, Arkansas

Shad Scheneck             Waynetown, Indiana

Terry Scroggins            Palatka, Florida

Wesley Strader              Spring City, Tennessee

Gerald Swindle             Warrior, Alabama

Randall Tharp               Port Saint Joe, Florida

Bryan Thrift                 Shelby, North Carolina

Kevin VanDam             Kalamazoo, Michigan

Jacob Wheeler              Indianapolis, Indiana

Toyota Texas Bass Classic Tickets Now On Sale

Purchase tickets to the ninth annual tournament

QUITMAN, TX (March 11, 2015) – Tickets to the ninth annual Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) are now available for purchase. The event will be held Memorial Day weekend, May 23 – 25, 2015 at the Sabine River Authority in Quitman, Texas.

Single day general admission tickets are $8 in advance (online) and $15 at the door, Saturday through Monday of the tournament weekend. Three-day general admission passes are available at Brookshire’s Grocery Stores, Kim’s Convenience Stores and Academy Sports + Outdoors throughout East Texas for $15. Children ages 15 and under will be given free admission when accompanied by a ticketed adult. In honor of Memorial Day weekend, military members and their families will be given free admission all weekend.

New to the tournament this year are two upgraded daily VIP ticketing options, Stage Pit and Lunker Club tickets. Both are only available in limited quantities. Daily Stage Pit tickets are $30 and include general admission, a TTBC concession meal voucher and exclusive access to the pit area in front of the stage during the headline concert. Daily Lunker Club tickets are $75 and include general admission, access to a climate-controlled hospitality tent with a prime view of the stage, catered buffet and a full bar (must be 21+ to consume alcohol).

“We are very excited to offer a fun filled Memorial Weekend with world class fishing and entertainment for the entire family. We are honored to allow U.S. Military and their families free admission. For the first time we are offering the public a chance to obtain VIP level tickets to the Toyota Texas Bass Classic.” said Lenny Francoeur, Tournament Director. “With limited quantities to ensure an exceptional experience, we recommend getting your tickets early.”

Single day, Stage Pit and Lunker Club tickets can be purchased online at ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com or by calling the TTBC tournament office at 866-907-0143.

Toyota Texas Bass Classic Announces Musical Lineup

Billy Currington, Lee Brice, Rodney Atkins and Joe Nichols to perform

 

QUITMAN, TX (March 5, 2015) – The Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) has announced the concert lineup for the 2015 event, returning to Lake Fork on Memorial Day weekend, May 23 – 25, 2015. Concerts will be headlined by Billy Currington on Saturday, May 23; Lee Brice on Sunday, May 24 and Rodney Atkins and Joe Nichols finishing out the weekend on Monday, May 25.

“It is an exciting musical lineup this year,” said Lenny Francoeur, Tournament Director. “Combining country music’s biggest stars, the best bass anglers in the world, large outdoor expos and countless fan friendly activities; the ninth year of TTBC promises to be one of the most exciting yet.”

Tickets go on sale Wednesday, March 11, 2015 and will be available online at www.ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com or at your local Toyota dealerships, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Brookshire’s Grocery Stores and Kim’s Convenience Stores throughout East Texas.

Georgia native, Billy Currington, will open the three-day outdoor music festival. Currington won the Hottest Video of the Year honor at the CMT Music Awards for “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” in 2006 which was the same year he received an ACM acknowledgement for Top New Male Vocalist. Currington’s “Party For Two” earned CMA and ACM nominations, while his No. 1 hit “People Are Crazy” earned Grammy nominations for Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song. The same song also earned nominations for Single and Song of the Year from the Academy of Country Music and Single, Song and Video of the Year from the Country Music Association.

 Former Clemson lineman, Lee Brice, recently released his third album, I Don’t Dance. Brice won the ACM Award for Song of the Year and the Single of the Year: Breakthrough Artist at the American Country Awards for “I Drive Your Truck.” Brice has received numerous nominations from the Academy of Country Music Awards including Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Video of the Year. 

Rodney Atkins is an award-winning country music singer/songwriter whose six chart-topping hits include “Take A Back Road,” “It’s America,” “Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy),” “These Are My People,” “Watching You” and “If You’re Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows).” His new single, “Eat Sleep Love You Repeat,” is currently at country radio and available on all digital retailers. Atkins released his fifth album, Rodney Atkins – Greatest Hits, via Curb Records in February.

Arkansas native, Joe Nichols, holds two awards and numerous nominations. In 2003, Nichols received the Top New Male Vocalist award from the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Horizon Award from the Country Music Association Awards and multiple Grammy nominations including Best Country Album and Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Nichols boasts five No. 1 hit singles including “Brokenheartsville,” “Sunny and 75” and most recently “Yeah.”

About the Tournament: The Toyota Texas Bass Classic is a world-class bass fishing tournament, featuring the top 35 bass anglers in the world, along with a festival to include exceptional entertainment and a variety of family and industry activities. This three-day event will take place Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25, 2015 at Lake Fork, Quitman, Texas.

Events / Entertainment: Extraordinary live music and events that will appeal to the whole family. This will include a variety of games and activities at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Outdoor Adventures Area, incredible food and a fishing industry expo featuring seminars and the latest in fishing equipment, gear and accessories. Merchandise will be available for purchase at the Tournament venue.

Charity: Proceeds benefit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. For more information click here to visit the Texas Parks & Wildlife page. www.tpwd.state.tx.us

Current sponsors:Toyota, Wood County Industrial Commission, Leer Truck Caps, GEICO, HOLT CAT, Bass Pro Shops, NITRO Boats, JBL, GoPro, Allied Waste Systems, Brookshire’s Grocery Company, Kim’s Convenience Store, TLC Media, KYKX 105.7, 104.1 The Ranch, The Coca-Cola Company & Sabine River Authority.

For additional information, visit ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com or call 1-866-907-0143.

For volunteer application, visit http://www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015-Volunteer-Application.pdf

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2015 Toyota Texas Bass Classic Scheduled for May 23-25 at Lake Fork

World Championship of Bass Fishing will Return to Lake Fork in Spring 2015

QUITMAN, TX (August 25, 2014) –Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) officials announced next year’s dates and field changes for the World Championship of Bass Fishing, where the top professional anglers in the world are scheduled to return to Lake Fork Memorial Day weekend, May 23-25, 2015.

“After a world-record setting event in 2014 we are very excited to return to Lake Fork in 2015,” said Tournament Director Lenny Francoeur. “This community has been so welcoming and the bass fishing at Lake Fork is world-class. We can’t wait to get back there next spring.”

In addition to new dates, tournament officials announced the field size will be refined from 50 to 38 of the world best professional anglers.  The 2015 TTBC will invite the top 15 in 2014 Angler of the Year points from both the FLW Tour and Bassmaster Elite Series, 7 exemptions and defending 3-time champion Keith Combs.

All 38 anglers will compete on Lake Fork over three days, May 23-25, 2015, with the field being reduced to the top-10 for the final round on Monday, May 25. The tournament will remain a non-entry fee event and all anglers will receive guaranteed prize money. Through a continued partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), TTBC will continue to focus on conservation efforts and adhere to a strict catch, weigh and immediate release format. Over the last eight years, the Toyota Texas Bass Classic has donated over $2 million to the TPWD, an effort that will continue in 2015.

“We were proud to see the record-setting fish catches at the 2014 event.  Those catches were a direct result of our progressive fisheries management practices, including special fishing regulations, fish stocking, and fish habitat improvements with the Sabine River Authority” said Dave Terre, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. “This tournament, including its unique catch-weigh-immediate release format, gives us the opportunity to show the world just how good Lake Fork really is.  We are thankful for the opportunity to do this again in 2015 and also for all the benefits this event provides to TPWD.”

Anglers who qualify for the Toyota Texas Bass Classic join a prestigious rank of past competitors. By drawing from the two major tours, the Toyota Texas Bass Classic field consistently boasts the very best anglers in the world every year.

The 2014 TTBC was one for the record books and helped show the world how amazing of a fishery Lake Fork truly is.  The previous record for a three-day tour level event was set in 2000 at the Bassmaster California Western Invitational on Clear Lake, by Byron Velvick with 83 pounds, 5 ounces (15 fish). That record was broken a staggering eight times on the final round of the 2014 TTBC with the new title holder, Keith Combs, whose three-day weight of 110  pounds (15 fish) broke the record by a staggering 26 pounds, 11 ounces. Additionally, two of the anglers entered into the ‘Century Club’ (over 100 pounds), Keith Combs and Stetson Blaylock, which is a major career accomplishment at a four-day tour event, and has never happened at a 3-day tour event. But Lake Fork is not your average bass fishery, and Keith Combs’ is not your average champion.

“It’s a major career achievement just to qualify to fish the TTBC, but to be a 3-time champion against the best anglers in the world, and to set the world-record last year, it’s just amazing” said Keith Combs, “I am so proud to represent my home state of Texas, , but I am especially proud of the great things the TTBC does to raise awareness and funding for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.”

In addition to three days of world championship competition, TTBC organizers plan to include a full line up of premier country music acts, vendor expo showcases, outdoor family activities and more in 2015. Families, outdoor enthusiasts and music fans will have plenty of entertainment options throughout the Memorial Day weekend to enjoy. Ticket and Concert information will be available in early 2015, for more information and event news, visit www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com.

2014 TTBC Full Show

 

Exclusive Interview with Three Time TTBC Champion

Exclusive Interview with Keith Combs – Three Time TTBC Champion

QUITMAN, TX – May 11, 2014: All eyes on were on Keith Combs this week at Lake Fork and he did not disappoint, leading wire-to-wire as he won his third TTBC title. On the eve of this event, Combs made a statement that seemed insane at the time – it could possibly take a 35lb or even a 40lb average per day to win this event. He was not that far off with fifteen bass for 110lbs, Keith set a new world record for a three day professional bass tournament. That’s a remarkable average of 7.33 pounds per bass weighed in.TTBC 14 Combs Wins Banner

This is his third win in the TTBC in the last four years and it will certainly solidify his place in professional bass fishing history and further enhance Combs’ already legendary status in Texas.

The TTBC is Fun For All

Even when records are not being broken at the TTBC, all of the professional anglers who qualify are thrilled to get here and even more excited during the event. It is a truly unifying event, bringing the top anglers from the PAA, the FLW Tour and the Bassmaster Elite Series.

Combs says more than any tournament, this is the one he looks forward to each year. “Everything about this tournament is so much fun, you have great concerts, amazing crowds and big Texas bass. What could be better?” asks Combs.  

Lake Fork Fishing

"Prior to this, I had no idea how good Lake Fork is," says the three-time world champ. Although Combs lives in Huntington, Texas, he really hasn't much prior experience on Lake Fork.

While Combs made his win look easy this week, it was not without challenges along the way. After his Day 1 haul of 42lbs, he had a large group of spectator and camera boats following his every move. In addition, he was sharing the same areas with two anglers who were also in the top ten after the first day. This changed his strategy and how he made decisions throughout the day. “We were covering huge expanses of water by ‘strolling’ (long-lining) so we had to let the spectator boats know where we were headed so they could back off a little as we brought our crankbaits through. The boats out there were great though, you always hear about it how they will go in and fish your areas as soon as you leave, but thankfully everyone was great and left it alone when we left and went to another spot,” added Combs.

Keith Combs rotated through several spots throughout the event and felt that timing was a critical aspect to his win. His toughest challenge was the morning of Day 3. “I went to where I caught them on Day 2 and didn’t catch a fish. I fished a few different spots in my rotation and caught a good one at each spot and had intentions to hit those areas again but never had to because my next spot produced a 6-8, an 8lber and I don’t know how many five pounders, it was amazing,” said Combs. His timing throughout the week on his key areas changed every day as the fish moved. Each hour and each day was different and it required being in the right place at the right time when the fish were biting.

Lake Fork at its Peak right now

Over the past few years Keith Combs has spent countless days on Texas lakes Amistad and Falcon guiding and fishing for fun, but believes that right now Lake Fork rivals the highest peaks at those or any fisheries.

“Lake Fork is fishing better than any lake in Texas right now and probably the whole country. If anyone is planning a trip to Texas for bass fishing you need to come here to Lake Fork and you better get here really quick because the big fish are biting,” urged Combs.

What’s Next?

"Everybody has heard of Lake Fork, it is the Texas state record lake and it produced a lot of 16 and 17 pounders back in its heyday. Well, last year they started catching them really good here, and this event proved that it is still the best lake in Texas!"

"I'd love to come back here in the very near future just to do some fun fishing, and I hope they'll keep having the Toyota Texas Bass Classic here. Lake Conroe has been great to me (where I won my first two TTTBC's), but I want to come back here next year and do this again."

"Lake Fork is unbelievable! You really never know what you're going to catch. Every time I set the hook today, I thought it was going to be a 10 pounder. In your mind, there's no doubt of the potential Lake Fork has on any cast. There aren't many places we fish on the pro tours where that happens."

TACTICS OF THE 2014 TOYOTA TUNDRA TOP TEN

BAITS AND TACTIC OF THE 2014 TOYOTA TUNDRA TOP TEN

On the first day of the 2014 Toyota Texas Bass Class held May 9-11 in Quitman, Texas, 14 of 50 pros weighed 30+ pound five-bass bags, and the top three (Keith Combs, Russ Lane and Stetson Blaylock) had the best single day of their pro careers. Over three days, twenty-six 30+ limits were amassed – an incredible story.

For the entire event, a total of 538 Lake Fork lunker largemouth bass averaging 5.02 pounds a

TTBC 14 Tundra Ten Banner

piece were counted as the biggest 5 per day for the 50 TTBC contenders. Those are only the fish that counted for the daily weights. What's not included in that average are the mind-boggling quantity of 4 to 5 pounders that were caught and released daily by many pros. The fishing this week on Lake Fork was something that many pros here had never experienced before.By the third and final day, Keith Combs with 110 pounds had smashed the previous record for 

a 3-day pro event that was set in 2000 at Clear Lake, California by Byron Velvick with 83 pounds, 5 ounces. Combs’ total over three days eclipsed the record by a staggering 26 pounds, 11 ounces. Combs said, "That's incredible! To get over 100 pounds in four days is a major accomplishment, and to do it in three is unheard of. It is a testament to this lake. That just tells you how strong and how well-managed Lake Fork is."

Not only Combs, but pros finishing in the top seven places had eclipsed the previous record for a 3-day pro event.

Below is a summary of how winner Keith Combs and the Toyota Tundra Top Ten finalists made their incredible Lake Fork catches.

KEITH COMBS – 1ST WITH 110-0

Now a three-time TTBC champion, Keith Combs weighed-in 15 bass with an amazing average weight of 7.3 pounds. Like many pros, Combs caught countless other quality bass that didn't contribute toward his official weight this week.

TTBC 14 Day 3 Recap Banner"There were millions, millions of big bass out there that were all over 5 pounds," said the winner. "I probably caught 15 a day that were between 5 to 10 pounds during this event. You would see big shad schools down there on the bottom on your electronics, and then you'd see huge schools of big bass that were all over 5 pounds. I couldn't see through them at times (on the graph), it was solid bass and when they were eating, it was steady catching on every cast at times."

This was the second time in the Huntington, Texas pro's 8-year career that he broke the 100 pound milestone in an event. His first time was on Falcon Lake, TX in March 2013 when Combs amassed 111.5 pounds in a four day pro event. This time on Lake Fork, he clobbered 110 pounds in three days.

Combs' forte is cranking. He used his three favorite crankbaits this week in his confidence colors. When he fished shallow, he used a Strike King 2.5 KVD Squarebill in Tennessee Shad color in 2-6 feet of water. In mid-range depths (10-15 feet), he used the Strike King 6 XD in blue chartreuse. Deep was 27-30 feet for Combs this week, where he used the Strike King 10 XD in Sexy Shad.

What Combs was looking for and what made the good areas he was fishing were no trees.

"If it was shallow, it was a sandy point. If it was mid-range, like where I throttled them the second day, it was a very subtle secondary point. There were no trees where the fish were – they were on a clearing in the trees. The deep stuff they were on, you would never hit any brush or anything out there. The big bass schools were just keying on shad and they did not want to be in the trees. The fish that were out the deepest, they were just fat, so fat. They had spawned and had been out there feeding heavily."

Like many pros here this week, Keith had been capitalizing on big bass feeding on a shallow, early shad spawn every morning. In fact, Combs caught all his weight (33-8) the second day before 9 a.m. – but that morning bite did not materialize for Combs on Day Three. "My best spot from the second day wasn't producing. My best spot from the first day wasn't producing either. I mean nothing. Both of those had been morning spots."

Many other pros had been enjoying a mid- to late afternoon period of hot action, but not Combs. "Midday the third day, I finally got into a little rhythm but was only catching one fish per spot. I'd run, catch one, run again, and catch one. I told my onboard judge, 'I'm feeling it,' and I got a little groove on. In four consecutive spots I got a near-five pound fish in each place, and then an 8 pound 8 ounce giant. I said to my judge, 'It's happening for me right now.'"

"I pulled up on a spot shortly after that and said to my judge, 'If I can get a six pounder, I may win this thing,' and on my first cast, I caught a 6-1/2 pounder."

Combs settled into that spot, catching another 8 pounder, making 2 other culls and catching multiple other bass. He caught that last 8 pounder on the Strike King Shadalicious swimbait.

His mainstay for all three days however was the Strike King 6 XD deep-diving crankbait which he used exclusively on Day Two. The 6 XD also produced two of his weighers the final day plus three he weighed on the first day – in other words, 10 of Combs' 15 fish came on the Strike King 6 XD. Three this week went for the Strike King 10 XD deep-diving crank. His other two weighers came on a swimbait – a 6" or 7" Shadalicious on a 1 ounce jighead. Although he did not throw the swimbait very much, it paid off with that fat 8 pounder the final day.

Combs will have multiple rod/reel/line setups on the boat deck, all the same for cranking. Keith cranks with a 7' Power Tackle glass rod which is the Keith Combs Signature Series now (model #KC170) with 15 pound Seaguar Tatsu and InvisX fluorocarbon line. He favors the premium Seaguar Tatsu for major tournaments days. He uses the economical InvisX for practice and other times. His reel is a high-speed 7:1 Shimano Curado.

The specialized technique of strolling also called longlining crankbaits accounted for some of Combs' biggest fish in this event. "This was the first time I've really used that technique in competition, and I did it some every day. My biggest fish – my 10-8 pounder was caught strolling." Other pros in Combs area were also longlining crankbaits at times, and Combs thinks that a lot of pros were probably strolling some in this event. Combs mainly used the Strike King 6 XD to stroll or to cast. He strictly cast and retrieved the 10 XD.

STETSON BLAYLOCK – 2ND WITH 102-12

Blaylock's first day of competition on Lake Fork was the best day he ever had on the water – and it just kept getting better after that. By the third day, the young pro from Benton, Arkansas had joined the "century club" as he amassed 102-12 pounds of bass.RUX_6444

Blaylock caught most of his fish offshore, and caught almost all his fish on a Strike King 10 XD crankbait and swimbaits on jigheads, mixed in with a Dive Master 20 from Livingston Lures. He said more of his fish fell for swimbaits on jigheads, including some on Basstrix and some on Yamamoto swimbaits.

"There were little flurries of action in the mornings as well as flurries mixed in at other times. It was a timing thing," he said. "You just had to hit the right spot at the right time to get those Fork lunkers. You could catch 4 and 5 pounders at quite a few different places – but the really, really big bass seemed to be on certain spots. You'd just have to hit those spots at the right time. You'd have to capitalize on your opportunities and it would take all day to put together a good bag. For instance, I culled a big fish on my second to last cast of this event – and it made a huge difference to hang in there all day and be able to do that."

RUSS LANE – 3RD WITH 99-4

Russ Lane of Prattville, Alabama had one main spot in Caney Creek (a main creek flowing into Lake Fork). He caught 40 quality bass there on the first day, and he worked the same school of bass for all three days. He fished in the back of the creek, what Lane calls "a little secondary place." He says, "There was 8 feet of water on top and 12 feet out on the sides."

Russ says he caught the majority of his fish on a SPRO Fat Papa 70 crankbait in Sneaky Blue, Mellow Yellow and Lavender Shad colors. He caught a bunch of other fish on a 5/8 ounce Buckeye Mop Jig in green pumpkin/purple with a Big Bite Real Deal Craw for the trailer. Lane also says, "I caught a bunch of my good ones on a Big Bite Baits Kriet Tail Worm on a football swing-head jig, changing between blue flake to green pumpkin to plum colors – with blue flake probably being the best," revealed Russ.

On the crankbaits, Lane used 10, 12 and 14 lb Sunline Sniper fluorocarbon. "There's a new prototype rod by Castaway that's a 7' glass rod I used here for cranking as well as the Castaway Skeleton DD22 rod," shared Lane.

Lane used 22 lb Sunline Shooter fluoro and the Castaway 7'6 Flippin' and Pitchin' rod for his jigs and worms.

JASON CHRISTIE – TIE FOR 4TH WITH 97-0

"I was throwing some big plugs, BD7 and BD8 Bomber crankbaits and a couple other plugs, but the main bait I had was the Money Minnow swimbait, alternating between a 3/4 and 1 ounce jighead," said Christie from Park Hill, Oklahoma.

"The first day I caught a 7 pounder and the 2nd day, a 7-12 on a Booyah Pad Crasher frog off the bank."

His third day, everything Christie caught was in deep water. He tried shallow early, but didn't catch anything there the third day.

JUSTIN LUCAS – TIE FOR 4TH WITH 97-0

Justin Lucas from Guntersville, Alabama threw swimbaits the whole event and caught every fish this week on swimbaits with 3/4 to 1 ounce jigheads – all custom stuff. His fish were in 20-30 feet of water. "It seemed like in the morning the fish were closer to the bottom in low light conditions. As the sun got up, it got them up and active and they were more suspended."

Lucas wielded a 7'6" Abu-Garcia Veracity heavy action rod with 17lb Trilene fluorocarbon line and a 6.4:1 Revo SX reel.

"The 6.4:1 reel allows you to work a swimbait correctly in my opinion. I reel it slow and steady. You just have to give it a little twitch every now and then to make it look active. I let it hit the bottom, and then I fish it back so it comes up, attracting suspended fish too."

MARK ROSE – 6TH WITH 93-0

Mark Rose was throwing a Strike King 6 XD, Strike King 10 XD, a Shadalicious swimbait and also spooning a little. He was inserting several different weights of homemade inserts inside his swimbaits. He was fishing out on some ledges, just scratching and clawing, running and gunning, and he ran into them pretty good by doing that all week. Depths of 20-22 feet were the best for Rose from West Memphis, Arkansas.

RANDY HAYNES – 7TH WITH 92-12

Like many others in this event, Haynes caught so many 4 pound and up fish the first day alone that he was aching to go home already to rest. Using a Strike King 10 XD and other big crankbaits, the pro from Counce, Tennessee paid particular attention to figuring out the casting angles and keying into how the bass wanted to be triggered into striking.

Haynes also used the Shadalicious and other 6 inch swimbaits on 3/4 ounce jigheads, just letting them rip and covering water. Haynes kept the swimbait down on the bottom as well as working it up off the bottom in the water column.

Most of his fish were 25-30 feet deep. Haynes said, "I was intentionally trying to fish deeper than most other people but maybe that's why I caught a little bit smaller fish than the leaders who probably weren't as deep – but I did have fun!"

MATT REED – 8TH WITH 85-8

PAA President Matt Reed of Madisonville, Texas caught most of his fish this week on an 11-inch Yum Mighty Worm on a 5/8 ounce stand-up jighead and a few on a Strike King 10 XD deep-diving crankbait. Also a few on a Carolina-rigged Zoom Magnum Trickworm. However, his main bait this week was the Yum Mighty Worm on that stand-up head. Color didn't seem to matter too much. Blue flake was Reed's best, but Bama Bug (a green pumpkin/junebug color) caught several too.

TODD FAIRCLOTH – 9TH WITH 82-8

Jasper, Texas pro Todd Faircloth caught 95% of his fish this week on the Strike King 10 XD in the depth range of 20-25 foot. He was fishing long ridges and high spots way out on the main lake.

Faircloth said, "There were certain casts necessary to get bites. You had to have the right angle and the right cast. The wind was blowing pretty hard throughout the whole event. Boat position was real critical this week, paying attention to your GPS coordinates and knowing what angle you got a bite on. Wherever I would catch one, I'd punch a waypoint in and pay real close attention to what angle my cast was. If you could repeat that cast, you could get a school fired up and catch 3 or 4 and then come back at a later time and catch them again – on that same angle."

"I had a great week and the fish bit well every day."

Faircloth was using a 7-6" Castaway (which is a light action flipping rod) with the big 10 XD crankbait and 14 lb Sunline with a low gear ratio reel. "I like using a low gear ratio reel whenever using a big plug like that so it doesn't wear you out."

A lot of Faircloth’s deep fish were post-spawn while others were still prespawn. "I noticed that a lot of the fish I caught still had eggs in them. I don't know whether they are going to spawn later or just spawn out there deep – or not at all."

BRANDON COULTER – 10TH WITH 77-12

Brandon Coulter had a great week but felt he was fishing "behind" the fish this week – meaning he may not have been deep enough to start with, even though the Knoxville, Tennessee pro fished progressively deeper every day. Coulter got on a pretty good shallow bite when he first got here, but he feared that would evaporate, so he backed out to mid-depths of 8-12 feet and found the fish there. Coulter was throwing a great, big jointed wood swimbait and that held up for most of the first two days. He caught all his fish the first day and his two biggest the second day on it, but Coulter's big swimbait was fading by the end of the second day. He got on a couple of deep places at the end of the second day which proved pretty good. Knowing that all these guys had been out deep all week, Coulter tried to get in on that the final day too, but he felt he didn't catch them very well the final day. All the deep fish he weighed were on either a Strike King 10 XD crankbait or Sawamura Baits One Up Shad on a jighead.

 

Story by Russ “Bassdozer” Comeau, PAA

Keith Combs’ World Record Wins Toyota Texas Bass Classic

Defending champion earns third TTBC title in four years at Lake Fork

QUITMAN, TX (May 11, 2014) – The world championship of bass fishing, the Toyota Texas Bass Classic was decided by a world record-breaking performance from two-time winner and defending TTBC Champion Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas. Combs broke the tour-level world record today with a amassing 110 pounds following three days of competition at historic Lake Fork. The previous record for a 5-bass-limit was set in 2000 at Clear Lake, California by Byron Velvick with 83 pounds, 5 ounces. Combs’ total over three days broke the record by a staggering 26 pounds, 11 ounces.

“To get 100 pounds in four days is a major accomplishment, and to do it in three is unheard of, it's nothing about the angler but it’s a testament to this lake,” Combs said. “I wasn’t the only one here to crack 100 pounds on 15 bass, so that just tells you how strong and how well-managed this lake is.”

After standout performances from Combs in the first two days of TTBC competition, he entered Sunday with a four pound lead, however Stetson Blaylock, Russ Lane, Jason Christie and Randy Haynes overtook him and the lead spot saw multiple anglers in first place during an early morning flurry of big catches.

Lane was the first pro to top 90 pounds, tallying 96, which was then quickly topped by Blaylock with a 93 while Combs sat at 88 pounds. Justin Lucas was the sixth pro to top 80 while Mark Rose added a couple weighers around 10 a.m. By noon, the top seven of the Tundra Ten were within 10 pounds.

As wind picked up around the noon, the big six, seven and eight pounders that Lake Fork is famous for, started to show up. Combs bounced through several spots producing four or more catches at each.

"Midday, I got into a little rhythm but was only catching one fish per spot. I'd run, catch one, run again, catch one. I told my onboard judge, 'I'm feeling it,' and I got a little groove on,” said Combs. “I said to my judge, 'It's happening for me right now.'"

Combs was on track to collect his second Century Bag (100+lbs) of his eight year career, recording 102 pounds and regaining the lead with an 8-8 (over 24 inches) in the afternoon. Blaylock made a late afternoon run with catches at 7-8, 4-8 and 5-12 within five minutes of each other, earning him the first Century Bag of his young professional career but it proved not enough to catch Combs. Blaylock finished second at 102 pounds, 8 ounces.

Combs’ world record performance also claimed two individual statistic awards, his 42 pound bag performance on Friday earned him the LEER Heavyweight Award (largest single day weight) while his 10 pound 14 ounce catch Friday won him the ATX Wheels Big Bass Award. Combs will receive a LEER Truck Cap and a set of premium ATX Wheels for his efforts.

"You really never know what you're going to catch. Every time I set the hook today, I thought it was going to be a 10 pounder,” said Combs. “In your mind, there's no doubt of the potential Lake Fork has on any cast. There aren't many places we fish on the pro tours where that happens."

The tournament remains a non-entry fee event, with all 50 competing anglers taking home guaranteed prize money. In addition, the TTBC continued its focus on conservation and adhere to strict catch, weigh and immediate release format that has earned the event national praise for its conservation efforts over the past eight years. The program highlights the efforts of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and after a $250,000 contribution this weekend, TTBC has given $2 million in donations to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to fund youth education and outreach programs.

Three days of world championship bass fishing also included performances from three of country music’s brightest stars. Little Big Town, Justin Moore and Pat Green entertained thousands of fans throughout the weekend. Free family fun was also a highlight of the event, with activities in the Bass Pro Shops Kids Zone and TPWD Outdoor Adventures Area.

PHOTOS (Photo Credit Gabe Roux)                                                                                             

KeithCombs.jpg Keith Combs celebrates winning the $150,000 prize package awarded to at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic at Lake Fork in Quitman, Texas on May 11, 2014. (Photo by Gabe Roux)

Combs is the only three time Toyota Texas Bass Classic Champion and also made a world record at this World Championship of bass fishing.

If you have photo or video requests please contact Stevie.Patnode@octagon.com or (971) 246-2235.

SHARE: Keith Combs is crowned the 2014 #TTBC champion: http://bit.ly/SsbGEM

The TTBC tournament functions are operated by the Professional Anglers Association with technical assistance and support from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division.  Toyota is the title sponsor for the event.  Official sponsors of TTBC are ATX Wheels, Bass Pro Shops, Nitro Boats, Geico, Leer Truck Caps, Republic Services, HOLT CAT, Shakespeare Ugly Stik, Tellespen, Yamaha, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Brookshire’s, TLC Radio, KYKX 105.7, 104.1 The Ranch, KMOO 99.9 & the Coca-Cola Company. For more information visit www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com or call 1-866-907-0143

 

RESOURCES

Facebook.com/ToyotaTexasBassClassic

Twitter @TxBassClassic

 

CONTACT:

Stevie Patnode, Marketing & Communications

(971) 246-2235 or stevie.patnode@octagon.com

Lenny Francoeur, Tournament Director

(479) 715-6103 or lenny@toyotatexasbassclassic.com

 

 

Final Day Recap

RUX_9081TTBC FINAL DAY: 110 POUNDS WINS IT FOR KEITH COMBS

You never know what will happen in a world championship derby, especially on the final day when the Toyota Tundra Top Ten contenders from the PAA, Bassmaster and FLW are unified in the one major tournament that decides the undisputed new world champion of pro bass fishing.

Deep-cranking Keith Combs' "wrists of steel" kept him at the top for Day One and Two, but Combs' mighty crankin' power stalled temporarily in the early morning hours on Day Three. That was the Achilles’ Heel that Stetson Blaylock, Russ Lane, Jason Christie and Randy Haynes needed to overtake first place as the leader spot bandied between them big-fish-by-big-fish through the early morning flurry that pros had come to expect on fabled Lake Fork in Quitman, the Bass Capital of Texas and (all TTBC pros now believe) truly the world.

EPIC EARLY MORNING SLUGFEST ON FORK

The difference this morning was the big girls weren't eating early breakfast Sunday – and they especially weren't coming to Combs’ table. Keith had been capitalizing on big bass feeding on a shallow, early shad spawn every morning – but it did not materialize for him today.

Six pounders this morning proved as precious as gold for the Tundra Ten while sevens went platinum. Five pounders were few, making them huge this morning too. Plentiful 3 and 4 pounders obliged everyone but weren't going to win this world championship for anyone.

Big Russ Lane was a bass-catchin' freight train. First to pop 90 pounds, Russ amped up to 96 by 9 o'clock. Then Stetson Blaylock scorched 93.

At 9 o'clock, Keith Combs was reeling to keep up with the fast-climbers. Combs had "only" 88. Randy Haynes had 87. Jason Christie almost 85. Justin Lucas was 6th to break 80 by 9 o'clock. Mark Rose whacked a few more weighers around 10 o'clock to say he was still in this thing.

Keith Combs ratcheted up to 95 by 11 a.m. – still trailing behind Lane at 96-8 and Blaylock at 95-4 at that time. Meanwhile, Randy Haynes, Mark Rose, Justin Lucas and Jason Christie all had 86+ to 87+ pounds in 4th to 7th respectively.

As morning turned to noon, the top seven were within 10 pounds – one massive Lake Fork lunker - of each other.

Ladies and gentleman, Day Three and this championship were anyone's to win!

RUX_6444

AFTERNOON DELIGHT

Around noon as the wind whipped up in advance of an approaching major storm, the big sixes, sevens and eights that Fork's world-famous for started rocking for the lucky few among the Tundra Ten.

Keith Combs bounced through 3 or 4 spots and pulled in a good 4 or 5+ at each stop. That was when Combs felt the day turning around for him. On Day One and Two, Combs didn't have much of an afternoon bite – although other pros did.

Day Three, the afternoon proved good to Keith when he shattered the century milestone for only the second time in Combs career. Keith piled 102 pounds up and regained the lead with an 8-8 "over" (over the 24 inch slot limit) around noon.

Keith Combs creeled another 8 pounder at 1:40 p.m. to finally close the barn door he had unwillingly let open that morning.

The crackling of the scoring judge's radioing in big bass started to heat up the airwaves again around 2 p.m. Combs' judge called in a 6-0 for Keith, followed by Blaylock's judge relaying a 7-8, 4-8 and 5-12 within 5 minute of each other. That fast flurry made Blaylock the next to break the 100 pound barrier for the first time in Stetson's pro career.

As time ran out for the day, it was Keith Combs on top at 110-0. Stetson Blaylock in 2nd at 102-8. Russ Lane in 3rd was right on the "century bubble" with 99-4.

Jason Christie and Justin Lucas tied for 4th with 97-0.

And that's how the history books will say it happened when Huntington, Texas pro Keith Combs caught and released 110 pounds of Lake Fork's finest.

Keith bested the 49 best from the PAA, Bassmaster and FLW and he won the 2014 TTBC world championship for his third time in four years – this time on legendary Lake Fork in Quitman, the Bass Capital of the world.

5.02 POUND AVERAGE LAKE FORK BASS

Over the 3-day event, 538 Lake Fork lunker largemouth bass with an average weight of 5.02 pounds apiece were caught-and-released and counted as the biggest 5 per day for the 50 TTBC contenders.

FIRST PLACE PRIZE PACKAGE

For first place, Combs' winnings consisted of $50,000 (retail value) Nitro boat/Mercury outboard/Dual Power-Pole/trailer prize package and $100,000 in cash.

ATX WHEELS EVENT BIG BASS AWARD

Keith Combs had the biggest bass of today, an 8-8 and the overall biggest bass brought back to the scales any day of this event – a 10-4 on Day One. For it, Combs won the ATX Wheels Event Big Bass Award – a set of premium ATX Wheels.

Stetson Blaylock also released an 11 pounder on Day One. It counted in Blaylock's daily bag. It was ineligible for the ATX Wheels Big Bass Award because it wasn't brought to the weigh-in.

LEER HEAVYWEIGHT AWARD

Four of the Tundra Ten had 30+ limits on day Three. Keith Combs had the biggest bag of Day Three (34-8) and the biggest overall bag of the event (42-0) on Day One.

For the heaviest single day weight (over 3 days), Combs won a premium Leer Truck Cap.

BAITS AND TACTICS OF THE TOYOTA TUNDRA TOP TEN

Stay tuned for our final coverage of the 2014 Toyota Texas Bass Classic including a rundown of the baits and tactics of the Toyota Tundra Top Ten and an exclusive interview with new TTBC champion (3-time winner) Keith Combs.

Story by Russ "Bassdozer" Comeau

2014 Final Results

TUNDRA 10

Rank Angler Total Weight
1 Keith Combs 34 lbs. 8 oz.
2 Jason Christie 32 lbs. 8 oz.
3 Stetson Blaylock 31 lbs. 4 oz.
4 Mark Rose 30 lbs. 8 oz.
5 Randy Haynes 29 lbs. 12 oz.
6 Russ Lane 29 lbs. 8 oz.
7 Justin Lucas 29 lbs.
8 Todd Faircloth 25 lbs. 8 oz.
9 Matt Reed 22 lbs. 12 oz.
10 Brandon Coulter 17 lbs. 8 oz.

 

FULL RESULTS

Rank Angler Total Weight
1 Keith Combs 110 lbs.
2 Stetson Blaylock 102 lbs. 12 oz.
3 Russ Lane 99 lbs. 4 oz.
4 Jason Christie 97 lbs.
5 Justin Lucas 97 lbs.
6 Mark Rose 93 lbs.
7 Randy Haynes 92 lbs. 12 oz.
8 Matt Reed 85 lbs. 8 oz.
9 Todd Faircloth 82 lbs. 8 oz.
10 Brandon Coulter 77 lbs. 12 oz.
11 Aaron Martens 57 lbs.
12 John Murray 56 lbs. 4 oz.
13 Mike Mcclelland 54 lbs. 8 oz.
14 Ott Defoe 54 lbs. 8 oz.
15 Brent Ehrler 54 lbs.
16 Brandon Palaniuk 52 lbs. 8 oz.
17 Mike Iaconelli 52 lbs. 8 oz.
18 Shinichi Fukae 52 lbs.
19 Luke Clausen 51 lbs. 4 oz.
20 Fred Roumbanis 50 lbs. 4 oz.
21 Jacob Powroznik 50 lbs. 4 oz.
22 Adrian Avena 49 lbs. 4 oz.
23 Kevin VanDam 49 lbs. 4 oz.
24 Bryan Thrift 49 lbs.
25 Terry Scroggins 48 lbs. 12 oz.
26 Brian Snowden 48 lbs.
27 Chris Zaldain 47 lbs. 12 oz.
28 Bobby Lane 47 lbs.
29 Cody Meyer 46 lbs. 12 oz.
30 Hank Cherry 46 lbs. 8 oz.
31 Tommy Brown 45 lbs. 12 oz.
32 Ish Monroe 45 lbs. 4 oz.
33 Spencer Shuffield 44 lbs. 12 oz.
34 Andy Morgan 44 lbs. 4 oz.
35 Edwin Evers 43 lbs. 12 oz.
36 Jim Dillard 43 lbs. 8 oz.
37 Gerald Swindle 42 lbs. 4 oz.
38 Todd Auten 41 lbs. 12 oz.
39 Matt Arey 41 lbs. 8 oz.
40 John Crews 41 lbs.
41 Randall Tharp 39 lbs.
42 Greg Vinson 39 lbs.
43 Tommy Biffle 37 lbs. 8 oz.
44 Cliff Crochet 35 lbs. 8 oz.
45 Kelly Power 32 lbs. 4 oz.
46 Dan Morehead 30 lbs. 12 oz.
47 Jay Yelas 29 lbs.
48 Alton Jones 28 lbs.
49 James Watson 27 lbs. 12 oz.
50 Kelly Jordon 15 lbs. 8 oz.