2013 Elite Series Rigid Industries Falcon Slam
Rigid Industries will be the title sponsor of the second event of the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series. The Rigid Industries Falcon Slam will take place March 21-24 on Falcon Lake out of Zapata, Texas.
Wild day 2
Here's a sampling of what went down Friday at the Rigid Industries Falcon Slam weigh-in, which may have been one of the wilder shows in Bassmaster Elite Series history:
1) Cliff Crochet couldn't talk and his hands were shaking for at least five minutes after he weighed 35 pounds, 3 ounces. When he finally could speak, he admitted the size of the five bass in the weigh-in bag made him so nervous that he'd chucked lunch over the side of his boat;
2) Four-time Bassmaster Classic champion Rick Clunn set a personal record for his best five-bass limit, with 32-9;
3) Skeet Reese zoomed from 84th place Thursday to 30th place Friday with 32-4.
And that's only a hint of the highlights, capped by Keith Combs stretching his 4-pound Day One lead to 7-7 on Day Two with a total of 62-14.
But nothing in the weigh-in fireworks came easily for the anglers who managed to make the top 50 cut for Saturday, including Combs.
"I had a two-pounder with three minutes to go, and I was able to get rid of it with a six," Combs said. "You don't know if you're going to catch anything out there. But you might catch 45 or 50 pounds."
Combs, who is from Huntington, Texas, estimated his Day One bag of 34-13 would have weighed 45 pounds, if they hadn't been in the post-spawn stage. But there are still Falcon Lake monsters in shallow water spawning, adding to the intrigue for the final two days of this event. The field will be cut to 12 after Saturday, and obviously, anything could happen.
Reese led the leaderboard movers Friday – following a four-fish, 11-8 day with his 32-4. But he wasn't the only story of rising from the ashes. Clark Reehm flipped his numbers – going from 72nd with 13-11 to 27th with 30-12.
"I had no pressure on me because I sucked so bad yesterday," Reehm said. "Catching my two biggest early helped out a lot. It helped me slow down."
Reehm's bag included the following: 7-14, 6-6, 6-2, 5-12 and 4-10.
"I had that 4-10 on the balance beam four times," said Reehm, referring to his opportunities to add a few ounces to his bag.
It didn't matter if you were an accomplished 66-year-old veteran, like Clunn, or a 29-year-old second-year Elite Series pro, like Crochet, Friday left your hands shaking and a sense of wonder about what could happen on Falcon Lake.
When Clunn was standing in line at the weigh-in tanks behind stage, someone asked him about the heaviest five-bass bag of his storied history.
"I think you're looking at it," Clunn said.
If he's done better, it didn't come to mind.
"I had 32 pounds at Kentucky Lake one time, including four smallmouth, but that was with a six-fish limit," he said. "And I had more than that at the (1984) Classic, but that was a 10-fish limit."
When a 28-time Classic qualifier and 11-time Classic top-five finisher has a personal record day, it's a story. But Crochet's speechless state backstage after weighing the big bag of the tournament so far was simply classic.
He answered the first half-dozen or so questions from reporters with nothing other than long drinks off a water bottle. Finally, when an answer came from his mouth, it made you want to back up.
"When I started bagging them, I got sick," Crochet said. "It's possible I could still throw up."
He finally started to explain his day in a slow Cajun drawl, while his hands were shaking like a man meeting his future in-laws for the first time.
"I got sick because this has been a long time coming – to weigh a big bag in an Elite Series tournament," Crochet said. "It may not be every kid's dream, but it has always been mine."
Even Crochet's wildest dreams didn't include weighing a 10-pound, 1-ounce largemouth bass, like he did Friday.
That's the thing about Falcon Lake: it keeps hopes alive for another day.
Day 2 Falcon Slam quotes
“I left two out there that would have put me over 40 pounds.”
– Chris Lane
“Everybody walking up here has a big bag.”
– David Walker
“I’m taking a lesson from this one.”
– Elite Series rookie James Elam
“I couldn’t wait to go fishing today, and can’t wait to go fishing tomorrow.”
– Kelly Jordon
“That thing should come out with a saddle.”
– B.A.S.S. emcee Dave Mercer after viewing Cliff Pirch’s 9-pound bass
“There’s a whole lot bigger ones out there to catch.”
– Greg Hackney after weighing a 9-11 bass
“You don’t really set the hook, they just start pulling. Next thing you know ... you’re wrestling with them.”
– Jamie Horton
“If they’re there I can hurt them tomorrow ... but you know how these fish are.”
– Rick Clunn.
“This is the best bass fishing lake in the world, but I’ve had the worst luck out there. I’m going turkey hunting, bye.”
– Mark Davis
“All of a sudden you jack into one of them big ones, and the tree starts shaking.”
– Bobby Lane
“If you don’t have good equipment here they will smoke your britches.”
– Randy Howell
Cliff Crotchet's 35 pound day 2
Cliff had a hard time handling the emotion of catching 35-plus pounds on day 2.
Day 2 AM thoughts from Bassmaster.com
I have a few things rumbling through my brain (those who know me may say too many! You know who you are!)
1. It's very pleasant outside right now here in Zapata, a nice "San Diego-like" 72 degrees. But it's already much warmer, and less windy, than yesterday. Dead calm, in fact. That tells me one thing, and the meteorolgists agree -- the temperature is going to climb quickly here in the desert climate. By the time weigh-in begins at 3:15 p.m., it's supposed to be 94 degrees. That very well could effect the bite on Falcon Lake -- and some anglers are telling me it could be a positive effect on their bites. Offshore bites? A hunch. We'll have to follow along and see.
2. How good is Falcon? Take the case of Matt Reed, who knows the lake as well as anyone, who said this on stage yesterday after weighing in 20 pounds, 5 ounces of fish: "Yeah, but I didn't get any big ones." WOW! How many of you out there would say that when your fish average 4-plus pounds??? There are some monster fish out there.
3. One of my favorite parts of every Elite Series event I've had the pleasure of covering comes just before take-off, when we all are asked to stand, remove our caps and honor the American Flag with the playing of our national anthem. In the breaking light here on Falcon this morning, it gave me goose bumps....once again. Awesome stuff.
Keith Combs - 111-5
1. 34-13, 2. 28-1, 3. 20-5, 4. 28-2
Rick Clunn - 105-6
1. 12-12, 2. 32-9, 3. 36-14, 4. 23-3
John Crews - 103-13
1. 26-3, 2. 15-8, 3. 32-11, 4. 29-7
Josh Bertrand - 99-2
1. 30-5, 2. 23-0, 3. 18-11, 4. 27-2
Cliff Prince - 95-9
1. 30-13, 2. 22-12, 3. 23-2, 4. 18-14
Edwin Evers - 94-10
1. 26-8, 2. 28-15, 3. 23-8, 4. 15-11
Brandon Card - 94-5
1. 20-3, 2. 25-12, 3. 29-3, 4. 19-3
Jason Williamson - 94-2
1. 23-12, 2. 20-7, 3. 32-9, 4. 17-6
Cliff Crochet - 82-6
1. 18-12, 2. 35-3, 3. 18-7, 4. 10-0
Billy McCaghren - 80-14
1. 20-5, 2. 20-3, 3. 31-12, 4. 8-10
Gary Klein - 80-11
1. 21-11, 2. 28-12, 3. 28-6, 4. 1-14
Jason Christie - 75-4
1. 28-15, 2. 25-1, 3. 18-1, 4. 3-3
Kevin VanDam - 68-3
1. 21-9, 2. 28-10, 3. 18-0
History & Notes;
Day 1: Rick Morris - 9-11
Day 2: Matt Greenblatt - 10-13
Day 3: Billy McCaghren - 9-9
Day 4: John Crews - 8-6