QUITMAN, Tex. – What happens when you bring fifty of the best bass pros in the world to one of the best bass lakes in the world? Well, this is what happens:
- Fourteen of those pros weigh 30+ pound five-bass limits on Day 1 of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic on the fabled trophy bass factory that is Lake Fork in Quitman, Texas.
- Two-time TTBC champ Keith Combs knocks 42 pounds even out of the park.
- Russ Lane in 2nd place sacks the best limit of his pro career with 38 pounds 4 ounces, catching and releasing 40 good-sized bass.
- Stetson Blaylock in 3rd has his best day ever. He catches and releases an 11 pounder that anchored Blaylock's 36 pound 8 ounce limit.
- Randy Haynes in 4th with 34 pounds 8 ounces is ready to go home already because he's plumb tuckered out from reeling in too many hefty Fork porkers all day.
- Luke Clausen in fifth with 33 pounds 12 ounces is the only pro in the TTBC to have won both the Bassmaster Classic and the FLW Forrest Wood Cup – and although Clausen feels it will be tough to make up ground on the likes of Combs and Lane, winning the TTBC and attaining the "triple crown" of bass fishing is not entirely out of Clausen's reach.
Strictly in terms of Lake Fork trophy bass – or "overs" measuring over 24 inches long, Friday was a good day. It started with leader Keith Combs who had 3 overs in a row. First he caught a 7-8. Next a 9-8 and finally a 10-4 that Combs brought back to the weigh-in to wow the large crowd in attendance. Toyota pro Terry Scroggins followed with a 9-8, Kevin VanDam with an 8-8, Russ Lane with a 10-0, and John Murray with an 8-4. Stetson Blaylock had an 11-0 that he released. There were also several other fish caught and released over 24 inches – a case of too many to mention!
Needless to say, the eighth annual Toyota Texas Bass Classic world championship on Lake Fork in Quitman, Texas got off to a very giant start.
KEITH COMBS – 1st
Texan Keith Combs, winner of 2 of the 3 last TTBC world championships commanded the day's attention with his incredible first day five-bass limit of 42 pounds flat.
Combs is far ahead of the pace to break his own TTBC record set in 2011 for the heaviest 3-day total of 76 pounds 12 ounces on Lake Conroe in Conroe, TX.
Combs feels confident he can – and must – keep up the pace of well over 30 pounds of Lake Fork lunkers per day for the next two days of this event.
RUSS LANE – 2nd
Lane worked the same school of big bass all day Friday, catching over 40 of them. He plans to return to the same school again Saturday and see where the school takes him. Several other competitors came into Russ Lane's area but when they saw what Big Russ was doing, they graciously conceded the field to Lane.
STETSON BLAYLOCK – 3rd
Friday was the best day Blaylock ever had on the water. He caught multiple fish over 5 pounds. "I know Lake Fork's such a legendary lake, but still it's the b-e-s-t day of fishing I have ever had!"
Blaylock caught most of his fish offshore. "It's no secret – that's where this tournament is going to be won and where most of the big stringers are coming from. It's a timing thing; you just have to hit the right spot at the right time to get those Fork lunkers. You can catch 4 and 5 pounders at quite a few different places – but the really, really big bass seem to be on certain spots. You just have to hit those spots at the right time."
RANDY HAYNES – 4th
Haynes' day was better than he expected. In practice, he mainly idled around and looked around with his eyes and electronics, not fishing much in practice. It was a grind for Haynes on the water Friday, having to catch and release 4 pounders all day. Haynes spent part of his afternoon prospecting for Saturday, bouncing around, figuring out some of the schools he hadn't hit hard Friday, figuring out the casting angles and keying into how they want to be triggered into striking. He feels he will have to work hard if he wants to stay ahead of the pack of 14 other pros that have 30 pounds or better.
LUKE CLAUSEN – 5th
Clausen fished shallow Friday using a new, unreleased model of Megabass swimbait. He did not get as many fish as some other pros, but the Megabass swimbait attracted the heavyweights that pulled Clausen into fifth place and kept him in the race for the TTBC championship. Clausen feels secure that he can maintain the heavy weight he had Friday for the following two days of the event.
The Toyota Texas Bass Classic continues Saturday, May 10th, when all fifty contenders will compete again on Lake Fork. The field will be cut to 10 who fish on Sunday when one will be crowned the new world champion!
More details at www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com