LA CROSSE, Wisc. — Tommy Biffle was watching the clock. With 45 minutes left in the final round, the Wagoner angler knew it was time to give up on the special smallmouth spot he’d been milking during the entire four-day Diet Mountain Dew Mississippi River Rumble presented by Power-Pole.
Thirty years of pro bass fishing tells you to when to make a move.
“If you sit there and hope they come, and they don’t come, you have do something,” said Biffle, 55.
Going into Sunday’s final round, Biffle was 7 ounces behind leader Aaron Martens of Leeds, Ala. Biffle wanted the win, and especially the Bassmaster Classic berth that comes with a Bassmaster Elite Series trophy.
He abandoned the spot that had kept him in contention all week and ran to a similar place he knew of nearby, with hard current between two islands. It hadn’t produced much before, but Sunday it paid off quickly.
“First throw, I caught a big one, second throw I caught a big one,” Biffle said. He built his weight to 16 pounds, 13 ounces.
It was enough to get the better of Martens by 2 pounds, 7 ounces. Biffle won with a four-day total of 64-2. The win was the seventh in his Bassmaster career and his fourth in the Elite Series. He also hit the $2 million mark in B.A.S.S. earnings.
Biffle’s prize was $100,000 and an instant-in for the 2014 Classic.
“Now I’ve got the Classic made. That’s the best feeling,” said Biffle, who was facing an uphill battle to qualify based on Toyota Angler of the Year points.
Martens took second place with 61-11. Third was John Crews of Salem, Va., with 59-4. Taking fourth place with 56-8 was Fred Roumbanis of Bixby, Brandon Card of Caryville, Tenn., rounded out the top five at 56-2. The 2012 Rumble winner, Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, finished sixth at 55-15 and Edwin Evers of Talala was 11th of the 12 who made Sunday’s finals.