A change in partners could have been a setback this year for Dalton Combs, but instead the Ozark (Mo.) High School junior continued his rise to stardom with another banner performance in the Teen Anglers circuit.
Last year Combs and his partner Joe Satterly won the inaugural Teen Anglers Championship (TAC) and recorded a fourth-place finish in the circuit’s regular season finale. When scheduling conflicts made Satterly choose baseball over fishing, Combs needed to find a new partner and chose his sister Keeley to fish with him.
“At first I was nervous (about his choice) because I didn’t know what was going to go on, but it has really been fun,” Combs says. “It is kind of cool having the whole family (their dad, Darren Combs, is their boat captain) out there in the boat and accomplishing what we did.”
Any apprehensions about his partner disappeared in their first tournament together when Dalton and Keeley finished second at the 2016 Teen Anglers season opener at Lake of the Ozarks. The brother-and-sister team placed 12th at the Table Rock event and sixth in the season finale at Stockton Lake to clinch the 2016 Team of the Year Award as the highest finishers in the circuit’s points standings. They capped off their season with an 11th-place finish in the 2016 TAC.
Combs says he enjoys the camaraderie and competition of high school fishing the most. “It is fun because it is competitive but when you get back to the weigh-in everybody is just buddies and having a good old time,” he says. “So I am addicted to that we are all friends but we are competing at the same time. I have accomplished a lot (in high school fishing) but I feel like my biggest accomplishment is that I have met a lot of new friends.”
The 16-year-old junior has set his sights on winning another TAC. “I would like to win state (TAC) again,” he says. “It would be kind of cool to say I am a two-time state champion but right now I am just trying to fill my resume for college fishing and see how well I can do.” Combs added another honor to his resume by being named to the 2016 Bassmaster High School All-State team for Missouri.
His future plans include fishing at the collegiate level. “I have been talking about Drury (University) with (Coach) Rick Emmitt and a couple of people and they make it sound like it is really, really fun,” he says. “So I am excited about it.”
He plans on majoring in business or marketing and hopes to make fishing his career. “I would like to be a sales rep for Lowrance or any big fishing company,” Combs says. “I think that would be kind of cool to go around to conventions and what not.”