Combs Dominates First Ever Minor Rankings


Rankings have become ingrained in sports. It doesn’t matter if it’s college football or darts, there is a ranking system to determine the best of the best.

However, many fans are not satisfied solely with ranking the professionals. They want to know the next great stars of their sports. They want to know the high-school wide receiver that is going to be their school’s marquee recruit, or the pitcher who is lighting it up in the minors. Heck, basketball even ranks players down to the grade-school level in an effort to uncover and rank the next phenom.

Well, bass anglers and fans, welcome to the future.

For the first time ever, anglers fishing minor-level events – BASS Opens, FLW EverStarts and their corresponding championships – can see how they stack up against one another. Meanwhile, fans can monitor this list in an effort to uncover and follow rising stars that are about to make a splash in the professional ranks.

The tough part about this was determining the parameters for the Minor World Ranking. With the numerous regions and varying angler participation, we needed to figure out a way to accurately rank anglers so ones that only cheery-picked local events wouldn’t sky rocket up the rankings. That’s where we came up with the six-tournament criteria over the course of two years. While anglers will still likely be fishing in their local regions, over the course of six events they will have to fish a multitude of lakes and against many talented anglers.

From there, the cream would rise to the top. And no one rose higher than Keith Combs. In the past two years, he has on average finished higher than 95.8 percent of the field in any given minor-level event (hence, the 958.882 ranking). Yes, you read that right. 95.8 percent! As in, if every minor-level event had 100 boats, he averaged roughly a fifth-place finish. Focus that ranking only to the BASS Opens, and that average actually climbs to 97.5 percent, or roughly a third-place finish for a 100-boat field.

Considering the incredible local and professional talent that fishes the minor levels, Combs’ accomplishments are as much jaw dropping as they are a clear indication of him being an angler to watch at the professional level. The same goes for the rest of the top 10 anglers in the Minor World Rankings. Ott Defoe (second, and the BASS Elite Series 2011 Rookie of the Year), Gerald Swindle (ranked fourth), Bobby Lane (fifth), Andy Montgomery (eighth) and Randall Tharp (tenth) are all pros that have or are making names for themselves at the pro level. Meanwhile, you may only be roughly acquainted with the likes of Kevin Snider (third), Clark Rheem (sixth) or Derek Remitz (seventh), but they obviously are ones you should continue to watch going forward.


About Author

Sean cut his teeth in the journalist world as an award-winning sports reporter, editor and freelancer for various Chicagoland newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times and Daily Herald, eventually crossing over into editing and freelance writing in the Outdoor industry. In addition to his position as Editor for, he is also a freelance outdoor writer and lure designer. He resides in the Chicago suburb of Lockport. An avid Bass and Muskie fisherman, his fishing influence began on ponds and lakes in northeast Illinois and has since expanded to a multitude of species across North and Central America. His passion for the sport is rivaled only by his love for building fishing lures, with a number of his designs being used by top professional anglers and produced by various lure companies today. Google+

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