Brandon Cobb wins Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks and Wildlife at legendary Lake Fork with 114 pounds.
Garrett Paquette caught a 7-5 largemouth in the final 30 minutes of Championship Monday to eclipse the 100-pound mark on Lake Fork. He is the 30th angler and 42nd instance in Bassmaster history.
Micah Frazier has been stuck on 96 pounds, 12 ounces, some 12 pounds or more out of the lead and just 3 pounds and change from the Century Club.
He’s in second place and still has time to make a move to the 100-pound mark. But Garrett Paquette is building at a pretty good pace at the moment, moving to third place.
Since 12:52 p.m., Paquette has added several pounds to his overall weight, catching three 3-pound class fish in less than five minutes.
We saw that kind of flurry for Paquette on Day 3 about this time. He actually has a chance at passing Frazier and a better chance at getting to the century mark.
But what it really indicates is the nature of what could be happening on the water. While several of these guys have been up shallow up to this point, Paquette, who has stuck to the off-shore bite is starting to make some noise.
That could bode well for him and the others, like Brandon Card and Keith Combs. If the off-shore bite picks up like it did yesterday, we will see some changes in the standings in the next two hours
Brandon Cobb broke the 100-pound barrier that has been untouched since the 2013 season. With a 6-5 largemouth, Cobb moved to a four-day total of 102-14 at 9:13 a.m. CT on Lake Fork. Graphic by Bruce Cash.
Just looking over the standings there are some amazing weights to consider.
Our top 10 have all had incredible events. For instance, Cory Johnston, who is sitting in 10th at the moment on BASSTrakk has 76 pounds, 5 ounces. To this point, that weight total would have won every Elite Series event this season with the exception of St. Johns with some breathing room.
Rick Clunn won that St. Johns event with 98 pounds. It was an amazing event as well.
But nothing like what Lake Fork is throwing out. Look closer at Johnston’s weight, though. He only has 10 pounds, 2 ounces. He just caught a 6-2 to get there. And he only has three fish in the well. In any other event you would think he’s poised to make a run up the standings. Maybe.
The most telling number is how far off the pace he is from the leader. He’s almost 33 pounds behind at the moment. That’s a steep climb. We expect him to knock down that number a bit. But it’s a long way to go.
Same for Drew Benton in 9th place. He’s almost 29 pounds back. Chad Pipkens, the leader on Day 1 and Day 2, in 8th is 26-8 back and Drew Cook, who has hovered around second position all week is in 7th, just 22-13 back.
Those are staggering numbers. And they show you that even when things are going great on one level, on another level it’s kind of scary.
Things will change we are sure. But it’s a testament on just how good an event Brandon Cobb is putting together on the best big bass fishery in the country.
Now that Brandon Cobb has passed the Century mark with 109-1, let's take a look back at this coveted award.
The last time Century Belts were awarded was 6 years ago at Falcon Lake on the Texas, Mexico border. That Elite Series tournament in 2013 saw three entries into the Century Club-- Keith Combs with 111-5, Rick Clunn with 105-6, and John Crews with 103-13.
The Century Belt was conceived by former Bassmaster emcee Keith Allen, and first handed out in 2006 to Fred Roumbanis for 101-13 at Lake Amistad (TX). Prior to that Dean Rojas had 108-12 at Kissimmee Chain (FL), but the belts weren't handed out at that point.
There are just 40 instances of Bassmaster Century marks, by 29 different anglers; Cobb will be 41, and Micah Frazier still has a shot today. His total weight is 96-12 with about four hours of fishing left in the day.
Very few anglers have won more than one Century Belt. Steve Kennedy has three-- at Clear Lake (CA) in 2007 with 122-14, at Lake Amistad (TX) in 2007 with 101-10, and at Santee Cooper (SC) in 2006 with 104-2.
Lake Fork marks only the eight lake where Century Belts have been won. They include: Falcon Lake (TX), Okeechobee (FL), Guntersville (AL), Clear Lake (CA), Amistad (TX), Santee Cooper (SC) and Kissimmee Chain (FL).
You may notice that all of those fisheries are in warm-weather states where bass have a long season to grow.
Might we see more anglers join the Century Club when the Elite Series returns to Guntersville in June?
Bobby Frederick of San Antonio, Texas, had the privilege on Sunday of judging for Brandon Cobb. And of course, he witnessed and confirmed the weight of the 11 pound, 1 ounce largemouth that currently has Cobb in first place and to also receive a Toyota Tundra for the big catch.
“He was just trying to cull a three or four pounder, that was all,” he recalled. “He worked on what he thought was a five-pounder for about 20 minutes."
He continued, "When he set the hook the rod bowed and the fish didn’t budge a bit. He didn’t realize how big it really was, and neither did I, until he landed it on the driver side. When he grabbed it it kept growing and getting wider.”
Frederick said Cobb was fun to be with all day, staying loose and carrying on a jovial conversation with him and cameraman Jake Latendresse.
Fishermen are notorious for thinking about what could have been. Go to any weigh-in and you will hear countless sagas of the one that got away, or the decision made too late.
It’s what we do, make excuses and come up with reasons.
Looking at Cobb’s performance this week, all of us will center on his 11 pound, 1 ounce giant backed up with an 8-13 and an 8-8 and pronounce it an incredible derby for him.
Right now he had 103 pounds and change and climbing. But if you look a little closer, you can see some stumbles.
He started in a fantastic manner on Day 1 with 31-11. But if you were going to bet on trends after Day 2, you might not have been thinking about Cobb at all. He only posted 14-7 for the day on Day 2. That type of stringer doesn’t even garner any attention on this lake.
If Cobb drives away from here without the blue trophy, it will be that day he will relive as much as catching the giants on Day 3. But he’s catching them well enough on Day 4, he may not ever remember Day 2.
The 9 o’clock hour has been incredible. Virtually all the top 10 anglers are catching fish consistently.
That hasn’t been entirely out of character for these anglers or this lake. It’s just for a 30-minute span, when the standings were jumping around a lot of weight was coming aboard,
For instance, seven of the top 10 Toyota Tundra Big Bass for the day were caught from 9:05 a.m., until 9;23 a.m.
Topping that list was a 7-10 by Jeff Gustafson, then it just rolls down the list with 5- and 6-pound fish. If that is the kick-off we are in for one helluva game for the next 6 hours. Yesterday, from this point, the big fish bite just got better.
Most of the big bites, like Cobb’s 11-1, came much later. It’s scary to think what could happen the rest of the day.
Micah Frazier showed me how quickly things change while writing that last blog.
It’s not been any different during the top of the 9 o’clock hour. The whole standings seem to be jumping around.
Brandon Cobb has recaptured the lead. He’s caught a 4-13 for a 12-8 total. Meanwhile Frazier caught a 6 pound, 8 ounce lunker that shot him up to 25 pounds, 3 ounces and just 4 pounds from the century make.
It appeared as if all of the sudden we had a blow-for-blow battle taking place, until the middle of this blog Cobb caught a 6 pound, 5 ounce bass. That gives him 18-13 and makes him the first angler to hit the century mark in this derby.
The standings continue to jump around, but Cobb may have just lifted himself about all the fray.