Collins' victory linked to college anglers

It appears the feeling is mutual.

"Casey has been a good friend," Collins said. "Like me, he's a working guy trying to get his feet on the ground in this bass fishing world. I love his crankbaits. He's real nitpicky about anything he does."

Collins used a handful of baits in winning the Weekend Series at Rayburn, including some big plastic worms. But the majority of his bass were caught on two deep-diving crankbaits - 6th Sense Crush 300DDs in a chartreuse threadfin pattern and Norman DD22s in Tennessee shad colors.

"I was rotating two crankbaits," said Collins. "I really think that made a difference. I was able to catch fish on both of them. But I caught a couple of extra fish in my primary areas on the 300DD, and they were some of my bigger fish.

"Usually, the first two or three you catch in one spot are your best fish. But the (300DD) seemed to make a difference after the fish had been pressured. I could usually catch a couple more fish on it.

"It makes a little different sound than any other crankbait I've got. It's not overwhelming."

Casey Sobczak shows off his company's lures at ICAST 2012Casey Sobczak shows off his company's lures at ICAST 2012
While it was lure-painting that got Sobczak into this business, that wasn't where his attention to detail stopped. The faint sound made by the rattles in the Crush 300DD and Crush 50X square-bills is no accident.

"I think sound is everything in a lake like Rayburn, where the visibility might be two or three feet," Sobczak said. "I think too much spooks the school, especially if they've been pressured."

Sobczak has been working with overseas manufacturers as his business has grown to include swimbaits, jigheads, swivels and split rings – all the items associated with the Alabama Rig craze.

"I still do some painting," Sobczak said. "But now I'm concentrating on the big picture."

Like his friend Albert Collins, Sobczak plans to be at the Bassmaster Classic Feb. 22-24 in Tulsa.

"I've got three new (lure) models coming out at the Classic," Sobczak said.

 Undoubtedly, Collins will have a few of them in his tackle box when he makes his first appearance in bass fishing's biggest event.