How Combs stays focused when the going gets tough

Almost anyone would agree that the Falcon tournament was tough: It was hot, dusty and windy, and it came with its own set of connectivity difficulties that made it rough on staff on-site and fans watching from home. Plus, it spanned five days, with the original final day of competition being postponed because of weather.

But it came with huge weights, pushing three anglers into the B.A.S.S. Century Club, with weights topping the 100-pound mark.

Keith Combs was one of those who caught more than 100 pounds — 111 pounds, 5 ounces, to be exact  — when he won the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series Rigid Industries Falcon Slam.

Today, he took fan questions on Twitter, using hashtag #basschat, and he doled out plenty of fishing advice — as well as spilled the beans on what it felt like to run neck-and-neck with Rick Clunn.

You can also check out Twitter chat transcripts from other pros, including Todd FairclothCliff PaceChris LaneMike IaconelliKevin VanDamAaron MartensBoyd DuckettJonathon VanDamBrent ChapmanRandy HowellIsh Monroe, Brandon PalaniukJeremy Starks and Alton Jones.

 

Keep up with Twitter chats, tournament news and bass fishing advice by following B.A.S.S. on Twitter at @BASS_Nation.

 

 

Bassmaster ‏@BASS_nation

Welcome, Keith Combs! Congratulations on your win, and thanks for joining us to talk to your fans!

 

Keith Combs

I'm excited to be here! This is a great perk to winning a tournament, and I'm ready to answer your questions!

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

Very excited to listen to your knowledge on winning a tough tournament

 

Matt Sweeney ‏@DaSween67

What would you say is one advantage you feel over the competition?

Keith Combs

At Falcon, the advantage for me was it's my favorite lake to fish, and I go there all the time. Knowing a lot about the lake was a big edge. I was fishing to win.

Matt Sweeney ‏@DaSween67

Doesn’t hurt to have some extra experience! I'd love to be able to fish falcon one day

 

Matt Sweeney ‏@DaSween67

Congrats on the win on your home turf!..was there any one thing you were nervous about?

Keith Combs

Leading from the get go makes you nervous. Everyone is kind of waiting for you to stumble. Sometimes I went 4 or 5 hours without a bite, and that would make me nervous.

Matt Sweeney ‏@DaSween67

I hear you there! Just gotta stay confident and believe in what you’re doing! Good luck the rest of the season.

 

Jacob Foutz ‏@FoUtZy_87

What did you key on for those larger fish?

Keith Combs

The big deal for me was rock. There are two prominent patterns. One is rock, one is wood. I'm good at deep cranking, so rock works. It had to be rock with a short drop. And, I keyed on the vertical breaks.

 

josh nichols ‏@joshnichols188

Hey Keith what is your ideal Frog rod/reel/line?

Keith Combs

I use a Power Tackle PG104.5 7-6 rod, a high gear ratio Shimano Chronarch reel, 60-pound Seaguar Kanzen braid I generally use a @StrikeKingLures frog, too.

 

Helen Northcutt ‏@HelenNorthcutt

Hi Keith, what was your strategy going into the last day after having to take a day off on Falcon?

Keith Combs

I kind of kept it the same. The break helped me because I had a lot of stops on that lake. It recharged a couple of my spots and gave my fish a break.

 

Dominic Turcott ‏@Dturcott27

Keith, when casting deep diving cranks do you feel it is best to use a fluoro or mono over a braid?

Keith Combs

I use fluoro, 15-pound Seaguar Tatsu. If it's really abrasive structure, I'll go to braid.

 

Helen Northcutt ‏@HelenNorthcutt

What are you planning to do with your @BASS_nation Elite Series winnings?! Anything special?

Keith Combs

No, I'm really not. I haven't even really thought about that. I just put it in the bank. Wins don't come around too often, so you really need to save!

 

Bobby Sweiderk ‏@Bigggg_Poppa

Can you give me tips on skipping docks

Keith Combs

To get the best skip, the most critical link is your lure. I usually use a lighter weight 5/16 or 3/8 oz jig with a trailer that's fat like a chunk. It's like skipping a rock -- you want something flat.

 

Dominic Turcott ‏@Dturcott27

I would like to give a big michigan shoutout to keith combs, winner of the bassmaster lake falcon slam!

Keith Combs

Thank you I appreciate it. I've gotten many thank yous & congratulations this week, and I appreciate all of them!

 

Bobby Sweiderk ‏@Bigggg_Poppa

How does one go about learning punching?

Keith Combs

That is a technique that requires more patience than any other. Start out practicing that technique all day. Try braided line, a heavy rod, like the PG 104.5, a stout hook, @StrikeKingLures 5/0 Hack Attack hook, 1 1/4 oz weight, setup is critical. You can go for hours without a bite, then catch 5 on consecutive casts.

 

Bobby Sweiderk ‏@Bigggg_Poppa

What is the best deep diving crankbait?

Keith Combs

The best deep diving crankbait is a @StrikeKinglures 6XD. Hands down that's my favorite. It casts extremely well. The 6XD has an aggressive dive, and it follows contours better.

 

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

How were you mentally when they called the tourny for sunday and you had to fish on monday?

Keith Combs

I was all ready to go fishing. It was a long day. I went back to my trailer & didn't really think about fishing. A lot of that tournament was not letting a lot of stuff get in my head. I couldn't do much about it so I just rested.

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

My hubby says that is the answer....

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

You can't control the uncontrolable

 

Dex Niemeijer ‏@DexMFN

Keith, do you use swim jigs, and if so what is your preferred setup? (Jig, trailer, line,, reel speed, rod)

Keith Combs

I am just learning how good a swim jig can be. I've been using a 3/8oz white & chartreuse @StrikeKingLures with a Strike King Caffeine Shad, Power Tackle PG143 6-10 rod and 20-lb Seaguar Tatsu.

 

Clint Lasher ‏@ClintLasher

What was it like fishing toe to toe with Rick Clunn? He is a legend and one my personal favorites in the sport.

Keith Combs

He is one of my personal favorites in the sport, too. It was pretty cool. But, there are two ways to look at it. When you get a chance to win you want to fish against someone at Rick's caliber. It makes it a special win, but it is always really stressful.

 

Bobby Sweiderk ‏@Bigggg_Poppa

I live near the Potomac river and am wondering what is the best jiging technique for a tidal river?

Keith Combs

I've only fished it once. I used a heavy @StrikeKingLures Hack Attack jig for punching matted grass at low tide. At high tide, I fished wood with a 3/8oz @StrikeKingLures Hack Attack jig.

Bobby Sweiderk ‏@Bigggg_Poppa

Thanks you keith combs you’re amazing.

Keith Combs

Thanks! I appreciate it.

 

M.R.G. ‏@mrFISHINg

You can only have one set up-rod,reel,line,lure- on all spring, what would it be & what would you key in on?

Keith Combs

That's a tough one. I'm going to go with a crankbait because it's so versatile. I would put it 15-pound Tatsu line, a 7-foot Powertackle PGC 170 and high gear ratio reel.

 

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

When did you know you had the winning pattern? Question from my hubby Pete G

Keith Combs

When I laid them on the scale the final day! I knew I was fishing a pattern that had the potential to produce, but I only got 5-8 bites a day, so it was never a sure thing. I've fished Falcon so much I felt like I had a good shot

 

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

How are you preparing for the next event?

Keith Combs

I'm not doing any prepractice there. Last time we were there, it was one of the best tournament of the year. I'm looking forward to it. The top guys last year fished deeper, so I'm going to keep a more open mind on this one!

 

Matt Lee ‏@wmattlee

Congrats on your win KC ! From your Marshall at Wheeler. Ya I picked you on my fantasy team. Fear KC in Texas!

Keith Combs

Thanks! Just trying to take it all in. Wins don't come around often.

 

joe darrah ‏@joesenko

What’s your favorite light jig set up consist of rod/reel/line/ jig im talking no heavier than 3/8oz

Keith Combs

I use a @StrikeKingLures Hack Attack jig, I seldom go lighter than 1/4. I use it when flipping 20-25lb Seaguar line, Power Tackle PG 104.5 and a reel with a fast gear ratio so you have better control.

 

D Rose ‏@paducahdave

Keith what hooks do u put on your 6XD's?

Keith Combs

I usually replace them. I use Owner treble hooks - Owner Stingers.

D Rose ‏@paducahdave

Thanks #preciateit

 

Lane Kindle ‏@LaneKindle

Congrats Mr.Combs. bet it felt great to win so close to home!

Keith Combs

It was a relief to win it because so many times guys do poorly on a lake they know well. Glad I could get it done!

 

Colin Pack ‏@packman888

What's your favorite lake in Texas? Besides Falcon!

Keith Combs

Sam Rayburn. That's my home lake and it's got it all -- grass, wood, brushpiles, you name it.

 

Fishin' Outrageous ‏@TeamFOfishing

Or was it just business as usual? How was your mental planning different if at all going into day 4

Keith Combs

I fished the same pattern, same holes. But I did have another gameplan. It didn't pay off, but I tried to but I tried to move more aggressively onto community holes because I knew they didn't get pressure the day before

 

M.R.G. ‏@mrFISHINg

How early on did you know you had the strategy/pattern that could win you the tournament? Did it ever change?

Keith Combs

I knew I was fishing a pattern I could win on. It was a pattern I've been fishing Falcon on for six years. When it comes it your home lake it's hard to keep an open mind, but I fished from memories and previous experience.

 

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

This is soo awesome thank you for taking the time and chatting with us

Keith Combs

I appreciate it. I wish I could talk to everybody more often, but I've got to fish!

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

Yes you do good luck in your next tournaments

 

Adam Johnson ‏@WIUBassin

Congrats on the win. Did you make any modifications to your crankbait or any special retrieve you think was key?

Keith Combs

I didn't change anything. I did replace the hooks for strength. The only adjustment I was making was to watch my crankbait to make sure it didn't get out of tune.

 

Ryan David Edwards ‏@redwards624

What's your favorite top water lure?

Keith Combs

@StrikeKingLures Sexy Dawg similar to Spook but with a loud knocker. In a clear lake, it'll really catch 'em.

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

@BASS_nation @redwards624 @StrikeKingLures Can't buy them in Canada

 

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

 what is the first thing you did after your win?

Keith Combs

I had to leave immediately to go to another tournament at Lake Douglas. I got to spend a little time talking with fans! I tried to return everyone's texts and calls, but I had to hit the road.

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

@BASS_nation I am in awe that I am talking to you on here and you are responding to all of us how cool is that?

 

Dominic Turcott ‏@Dturcott27

Keith, what's it like to go from the flw pro series to bassmaster elite series? Any big changes?

Keith Combs

The competition is tough on both tours. The fans and the interactions on the Elite Series are awesome! There are huge crowds, and it can be overwhelming, but so fun!

 

Bassmaster ‏@BASS_nation

Keith, thank you so much for spending time with us today! Fans, thanks for your questions!

Marg Garnier ‏@madge12

Big shoutout to Keith thank you for your time

Keith Combs

I totally appreciate everyone's support! I'm just trying to take it all in, and I can't say thank you enough! 

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