Biffle Pokcets $100,000 On FLW Tour - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biffle Pokcets $100,000 On FLW Tour

D' IBERVILLE, Miss. After registering three second-place finishes in the FLW Championship tournament over the past four seasons, Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., finally showed the nation that he has what it takes to win an FLW tournament. However, it took a set of unbelievable circumstances, some dumb luck and a gutsy fishing performance to prove it. With perennial powerhouse Rick Clunn flaming out with one fish in the final weigh-in and fellow competitor Johnny McCombs disqualified for returning 15 minutes late, Biffle used a modest catch of 2 pounds, 8 ounces to capture first place and silence the critics who thought he could never win the big one. However, until second-place finisher Dale Teaney weighed-in his final fish, even Biffle had his doubts. "To tell you the truth, I never dreamed that this (catch) would be enough to win the tournament," said Biffle, who recorded second-place finishes in the FLW Championship in 1997, 1998 and again in 2000 but was never able to land the top FLW prize until today. "Everyone kept saying that I' d win one of these eventually, but I was getting tired of waiting. It' s a big relief."  Biffle, who fought back tears as he stood on stage as champion, talked about the mental strain that consumed most of the anglers during the last four days on the Pascagoula River. With dense fog, gusty winds and a late cold front frustrating anglers throughout the tournament, Biffle said he couldn't remember fishing in a more difficult tournament. "This was a great tournament, but I believe this is the toughest (FLW event) we' ve ever had, "said Biffle, who won $100,000 and automatic entry into the 2001 FLW Championship for his efforts. "I never thought two little old fish would win this tournament, but things worked out for the best."  Disappointment, disqualification Unfortunately things didn' t work out for the best for Johnny McCombs of Morris, Ala. After leading the tournament heading into the final day, McCombs landed three fish weighing approximately 6 pounds---an amount that would have been good enough to win the tournament. However, he failed to make it back to the crucial 2:30 checkpoint on time and was ultimately disqualified. "It' s all my fault," said a subdued McCombs. "I thought the check-in time was 3 p.m. so I made sure to get back by 2:45 p.m. Unfortunately, the (actual) check-in time was 2:30 p.m." To make matters worse, McCombs clearly would have won the top prize of $100,000 had he made it back on time.  "I really didn' t think I had enough to win, "said McCombs, who has now earned four top-10 and three top-5 appearances on the FLW Tour. "After I was disqualified, I kept hoping somebody would have enough fish to beat me so I could feel a little bit better. But it didn' t happen. According to McCombs, he didn' t find out he was in danger of being disqualified until Operation Bass officials called him on the radio at 2:37 p.m. But by that time it was already too late. "I knew right there I would never make it back on time," said McCombs, who also knew that he would be docked 1 pound for every minute he was late. "It was over by the time they called me." Although McCombs finished in fifth place by virtue of the disqualification, he said that he gave it his all and respected the final outcome. "I' m sorry I was late, but I had a good tournament, " said McCombs, who still walked away with a check for $14,000. "I'm not complaining."  

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