Keith Combs wins season-ending Bassmaster title on Mille Lacs
ONAMIA, Minn. – With the top 50 bass anglers in the country vying for the season-ending Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship, a win here can be a career-defining moment for a tournament angler.
And to win it wire-to-wire? An amazing feat indeed.
So it was for Keith Combs, who despite his lowest bag weight of the tournament Sunday, held on for victory on Lake Mille Lacs.
Combs weighed the maximum five bass each of the three days on the smallmouth haven, and had the No. 1 total after the first day Thursday at 24 pounds, 15 ounces. He followed that up with another 24-15 effort Friday – tied for the top total the second day and good enough for a nearly three-pound lead entering the final day. Then, after an off day from the competition Saturday, Combs finished with a respectable 22-7 Sunday for a total of 72-5.
James Elam recorded bags of between 23 and 24 pounds each day and rode that consistency to a second-place finish. He was the only other angler to crack the 70-pound mark overall, finishing at 70-11.
Minnesotan Seth Feider, last year’s winner, finished 13th this year at 65-6 – about 10 pounds less than his winning total in 2016, when the event was held on Mille Lacs for the first time.
Brandon Palaniuk finished 20th at 62-3, but that was good enough to win the year-long – and all-important – Angler of the Year competition.