Combs Drops 28-11, Poised to Win Again at Rayburn - Major League Fishing

Combs Drops 28-11, Poised to Win Again at Rayburn

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May 5, 2022 • Sean Ostruszka • Toyota Series

BROOKELAND, Texas – “They’re coming!”

When a pro says an excited statement like this about his pattern, you take notice. When that pro is Keith Combs on Sam Rayburn, you really take notice. And when it’s said right after he dropped a megabag of 28 pounds, 11 ounces that included an 11-5 kicker … look out.

So, needless to say, the final day of the Toyota Series Presented by A.R.E. Southwestern Division Presented by Outlaw Ordnance could be something special to watch.

For the second straight year, Combs is in position to win the Southwestern Division finale on one of his favorite lakes, as his giant bag jumped him into pole position with 48-1. And as stated before, he couldn’t be more excited about what could be happening out on Big Sam.

Then again, he can’t get too excited about winning back-to-back late-spring events just yet. He doesn’t have a 17-pound lead as he did a year ago, just 15 ounces. Plus, the guy right behind him is the up-and-coming young pro Hayden Heck, who also happens to have dropped a 28-pound-plus bag on Day 2.

Yeah, Friday should be quite the show.

Before getting ahead of ourselves, though, we have to discuss today and how Combs sacked up the biggest bag of the event thus far.

While he sat in sixth after Day 1, Combs was far from happy with how his week had been going. He spent two days of practice trying to see if his pattern from a year ago would work again, and the result was “absolutely not.”

So, instead, he decided to lean on his experience and just go fishing, focusing on his prowess as an offshore expert. Needless to say, it worked out well on Wednesday, but he admitted at weigh-in he had yet to catch a fish over 5 pounds all week. But he said if he could ever catch a fish over 5 pounds, he had a shot at 28 pounds.

Well, he couldn’t have been more right.

“They’re coming,” Combs said of his pattern. “The place I caught several of my fish today they ain’t been on in practice or yesterday. But they were today.

“I had 22 to 23 pounds by 8:30 a.m., including that 11-5. It seemed like whenever I pulled up on a spot today I caught a 4-pounder, and I didn’t need them.”

That’s a lovely problem to have, especially since he came in early to both save fish and get a bent prop shaft fixed on his motor.

So, with a repaired boat and what seems like a pattern ready to explode, all eyes will be on Combs once again on the final day at Rayburn to see if he can close it out and possibly break the 30-pound mark.

“We’ll see what happens,” Combs said. “I’ve got some good fishermen behind me. So, it won’t be easy. I was trying to get one more big one today to cull out a 4-pounder to give myself a little more of a cushion. I caught a lot of 4s today. I’ll be happy with those tomorrow.”

Top 10 Pros

1. Keith Combs – 48 – 01 (10)

2. Hayden Heck – 47 – 02 (10)

3. Brian Schott – 40 – 13 (10)  

4. Wyatt Frankens – 36 – 00 (10)       

5. Marshall Hughes – 35 – 05 (10)     

6. Kevin Lasyone – 35 – 02 (10)          

7. Randy Deaver – 34 – 11 (10)          

8. Chris Lewis – 34 – 08 (10)   

9. Jack York – 34 – 04 (10)      

10. Marc Schilling – 33 – 12 (10)

Complete Results

Moore Jr. Out Front on Strike King Co-Angler Side

James Moore Jr. is either cursed, blessed or both.

The Lampasas, Texas, Strike King co-angler currently leads Sam Rayburn with 27 pounds, 15 ounces.

Yet, both days of fishing, his boater’s boat experienced engine troubles. On Day 1 it was Mike Holland and today, Cal Cameron (though, to be fair, Cameron’s boat was falling apart on Day 1, too).

“I haven’t left this general area (pointing to the area around takeoff) in two days,” Moore said. “I’ve been told I’m bad luck. I guess that ain’t no lie.”

Bad luck aside, he’s also had plenty of good luck dragging a red bug-colored Zoom Ol’ Monster around behind his pros. On Day 1, he caught a 5-14 kicker on it, and today, while he didn’t catch any giants, he “lit them on fire” and figures he caught more than 50 keepers.

That should all have him pretty excited to go fish with one of the best anglers on Sam Rayburn, Keith Combs, the final day. However, with his luck, he’s not so sure.

“I’d rather be in second trying to get first,” Moore said. “Now I’m worried I’ll lose it for myself. That’d be my luck.”

Top 10 Strike King Co-Anglers

1. James Moore Jr. – 27 – 15 (10)           

2. Daniel May – 27 – 08 (10)     

3. Phillip Conley – 27 – 01 (10) 

4. Joe Lee – 26 – 08 (10)           

5. James Allen Pruitt – 26 – 02 (10)       

6. Erik Knutson – 25 – 05 (10)   

7. Albert Ignacio – 24 – 02 (10) 

8. Julien Raymond – 23 – 01 (10)          

9. Levi Thibodaux – 22 – 14 (10)           

10. Robert Chavers – 22 – 05 (9)

Complete Results