Combs final-day charge

Keith Combs put together a stellar day on Championship Day, catching two 6-pound class early. By the time we caught up to him, he was catching fish on virtually every cast. But many of those were white bass.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Keith Combs put together a stellar day on Championship Day, catching two 6-pound class early. By the time we caught up to him, he was catching fish on virtually every cast. But many of those were white bass.
White bass, while a nuisance, were a regular part of the areas that were holding the bigger bass.
Photo: Steve Bowman - White bass, while a nuisance, were a regular part of the areas that were holding the bigger bass.
It was easy to see from a distance when Combs had one on. First his body language would be relaxed and secondly, he would grab the line instead of the fish.
Photo: Steve Bowman - It was easy to see from a distance when Combs had one on. First his body language would be relaxed and secondly, he would grab the line instead of the fish.
But Combs would be literally flailing the water with a Strike King 6XD.
Photo: Steve Bowman - But Combs would be literally flailing the water with a Strike King 6XD.
And on every cast, something would bite the lure.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And on every cast, something would bite the lure.
But Combs would quickly fire the lure back to the river ledge.
Photo: Steve Bowman - But Combs would quickly fire the lure back to the river ledge.
And when his body language switched to bent knees, we knew he had a largemouth hooked up.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And when his body language switched to bent knees, we knew he had a largemouth hooked up.
This one wasn’t big.
Photo: Steve Bowman - This one wasn’t big.
But at mid-morning, it was big enough to cull.
Photo: Steve Bowman - But at mid-morning, it was big enough to cull.
Then he would get back to casting and catching white bass, hoping for a green fish to bite.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Then he would get back to casting and catching white bass, hoping for a green fish to bite.
About every 10 casts or so, he would catch a largemouth. But a lot of them, like this one, would be too small.
Photo: Steve Bowman - About every 10 casts or so, he would catch a largemouth. But a lot of them, like this one, would be too small.
And he would continue to repeat the process.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And he would continue to repeat the process.
And an occasional straight up and down hook set mixed in.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And an occasional straight up and down hook set mixed in.
Followed by a catch.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Followed by a catch.
Then followed by more long casts.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Then followed by more long casts.
The quiet and reserved Combs was intent on covering every inch of the sweet spots on the ledges he was fishing.
Photo: Steve Bowman - The quiet and reserved Combs was intent on covering every inch of the sweet spots on the ledges he was fishing.
Firing his crankbait as far as he could.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Firing his crankbait as far as he could.
And occasionally taking the stance that indicated a big bass.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And occasionally taking the stance that indicated a big bass.
There was no doubt it was a good one when Combs went to passenger side.
Photo: Steve Bowman - There was no doubt it was a good one when Combs went to passenger side.
And started digging at the side of the boat. This took several seconds as the fish seemed to be winning the battle.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And started digging at the side of the boat. This took several seconds as the fish seemed to be winning the battle.
But Combs was the eventual winner, hauling in a big fish over the side.
Photo: Steve Bowman - But Combs was the eventual winner, hauling in a big fish over the side.
The smile was forming on his face as he turned.
Photo: Steve Bowman - The smile was forming on his face as he turned.
And gave a fist pump.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And gave a fist pump.
But almost as quickly, he was up and casting again.
Photo: Steve Bowman - But almost as quickly, he was up and casting again.
Working the area thoroughly.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Working the area thoroughly.
Wading through more fish.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Wading through more fish.
And then adopting the stance of a better than average largemouth.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And then adopting the stance of a better than average largemouth.
And if you looked close enough you could see the strain on his face.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And if you looked close enough you could see the strain on his face.
This fish would allow him to cull.
Photo: Steve Bowman - This fish would allow him to cull.
It didn’t match the size of Combs’ largest three fish.
Photo: Steve Bowman - It didn’t match the size of Combs’ largest three fish.
But it did allow him to add a pound to his total.
Photo: Steve Bowman - But it did allow him to add a pound to his total.
At this point, it would give him an estimated 24 pounds.
Photo: Steve Bowman - At this point, it would give him an estimated 24 pounds.
Although Combs was planning on culling it as well. He said, “I plan on having 30 by the end of the day.”
Photo: Steve Bowman - Although Combs was planning on culling it as well. He said, “I plan on having 30 by the end of the day.”
He continued to work, knowing the fish that could get him to that total was just a cast away.
Photo: Steve Bowman - He continued to work, knowing the fish that could get him to that total was just a cast away.
He just knew he had to make a lot of those casts to get to them.
Photo: Steve Bowman - He just knew he had to make a lot of those casts to get to them.
By Noon, he had set up two places he could run to, letting one rest while he pled the other in hopes of catching a giant stringer to catch Kevin VanDam.
Photo: Steve Bowman - By Noon, he had set up two places he could run to, letting one rest while he pled the other in hopes of catching a giant stringer to catch Kevin VanDam.