Fishing News

Yamaha Pros Sweep Top Spots at Bassmaster® Elite

Posted 3/19/2012

PALATKA, Fla., March 19, 2012– Yamaha pros Alton Jones, Todd Faircloth, and Keith Combs swept the top three spots Sunday, March 18, in the season opener of the 2012 Bassmaster® Elite Series tournament  on the St. Johns River.

For Alton Jones, who finished with a four-day total of 75 pounds, 9 ounces, the win helped erase the memory of last season’s tournament on the St. Johns, in which he led for the first three days, then fell to third in the final standings.  It almost happened this year, as well, however.  Going into Sunday’s final round with a lead of nine pounds over Faircloth, Jones brought in only 12-11 and beat his fellow Yamaha pro by just over a pound.

“I knew I needed 11-10 to beat Todd as I was walking to the scales,” said Jones, “but I wasn’t sure I had it.  I was surprised, but obviously, I’m thrilled.  Today was by far the hardest day of the tournament for me because the big bass I’d been seeing simply weren’t there.”

The Yamaha Pro caught his fish sight-fishing for spawning bass in a shallow eelgrass flat in Lake George.  During the week he had daily catches of 16-7, 28-7, 18-0, and 12-11. Although he won the 2008 Bassmaster Classic®, this was his first Elite Series win.  He is considered one of the best sight fishermen on the Elite tour.

Faircloth narrowly missed winning his third Elite title, finishing with 74 pounds,

7 ounces.  Like Jones, he targeted spawning bass in Lake George.   Changing fishing areas to another spot in the huge, shallow lake the last day, Faircloth brought in 20-10; he was the only angler in the tournament to bring in two daily catches topping 20 pounds.

“I’m pleased with the way I fished this week,” he said, “but at the same time, it stings.  I wanted to close it out, and felt like I could.  It just wasn’t my time.”

Yamaha pro Keith Combs, beginning his second season on the Elite tour, claimed third with 71 pounds, 2 ounces.  He finished 9th on the St. Johns River last season, and this year again made the long, two-hour boat runs to Lake Woodruff for his fish.  He brought 22-11 to the scales Sunday, the heaviest catch of the day.

Other Yamaha pros among the top 12 finalists who qualified to fish Sunday included Cliff Crochet who finished 7th with 58 pounds, 6 ounces, and Dean Rojas who claimed 11th with 54-6.

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