ZAPATA, Texas — Ordinarily, there's only one winner in a bass tournament. This one was different. The Rigid Industries Falcon Slam produced way more than its share of champions.
Not necessarily in order and not all-inclusive, the winners were:
Falcon Lake has now hosted two Bassmaster Elite Series events, and both were off the charts. It holds the meanest and biggest bass in the land, unquestionably, and it produced 100-pound bags in both.
"These fish are so big and so mean, they will just flat out kick your butt," said rookie Josh Bertrand, who finished fourth with 99 pounds, 2 ounces.
Added Cliff Crochet (9th, 82-6), "You don't understand it until you get here."
Thirty-seven-year-old Huntington, Texas, pro Keith Combs needed a win to solidify his career in his third season on the Elite Series, and he led the tournament wire to wire.
Combs recounted how he replied Monday morning to a question about whether he was intimidated by having legendary angler Rick Clunn trailing him by only 1 pound to start the day: "No," Combs said, "more humbled."
Combs fits the bill: No brag, just fact.
Rick Clunn, the 66-year-old master of B.A.S.S, pushed Combs to the limit. Clunn may have done more for his already-stellar reputation by finishing second than he would if he'd finished first.
Clunn was the most vocal supporter of the 12 finalists Sunday morning when B.A.S.S. made the decision to postpone Day Four of the tournament, after 40-mile-per-hour winds strafed the lake at dawn Sunday.
"I had a 90 percent chance to win this tournament, if we had fished today," Clunn said at the time. "If we fish tomorrow, I've got a 50 percent chance. But I still thought it would have been a poor choice to fish today.
"There's no easy way to run this lake (in high winds). I'm not running, but the rest of them are. Everybody knows I'm fishing a half-mile from the (Zapata County Public Boat Ramp) take-off site. Today I might have been the only guy who could fish his stuff.
"I just hope we can fish tomorrow. I know it gives everybody else a better chance to win it."