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 Faircloth, Cliff Pace, Chris Lane, Mike Iaconelli, Kevin VanDam, Aaron Martens, Boyd Duckett, Jonathon VanDam, Brent Chapman, Randy Howell, Ish Monroe, Brandon Palaniuk, Jeremy 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.
Welcome, Keith Combs! Congratulations on your win, and thanks for joining us to talk to your fans!
I'm excited to be here! This is a great perk to winning a tournament, and I'm ready to answer your questions!
Very excited to listen to your knowledge on winning a tough tournament
What would you say is one advantage you feel over the competition?
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.
Doesn’t hurt to have some extra experience! I'd love to be able to fish falcon one day
Congrats on the win on your home turf!..was there any one thing you were nervous about?
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.
I hear you there! Just gotta stay confident and believe in what you’re doing! Good luck the rest of the season.
What did you key on for those larger fish?
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.
Hey Keith what is your ideal Frog rod/reel/line?
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.
Hi Keith, what was your strategy going into the last day after having to take a day off on Falcon?
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.
Keith, when casting deep diving cranks do you feel it is best to use a fluoro or mono over a braid?
I use fluoro, 15-pound Seaguar Tatsu. If it's really abrasive structure, I'll go to braid.
What are you planning to do with your @BASS_nation Elite Series winnings?! Anything special?
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!
Can you give me tips on skipping docks
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.
I would like to give a big michigan shoutout to keith combs, winner of the bassmaster lake falcon slam!
Thank you I appreciate it. I've gotten many thank yous & congratulations this week, and I appreciate all of them!
How does one go about learning punching?
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.
What is the best deep diving crankbait?
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.
How were you mentally when they called the tourny for sunday and you had to fish on monday?
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.
My hubby says that is the answer....
You can't control the uncontrolable
Keith, do you use swim jigs, and if so what is your preferred setup? (Jig, trailer, line,, reel speed, rod)
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.
What was it like fishing toe to toe with Rick Clunn? He is a legend and one my personal favorites in the sport.
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.
I live near the Potomac river and am wondering what is the best jiging technique for a tidal river?
Thanks you keith combs you’re amazing.
Thanks! I appreciate it.
You can only have one set up-rod,reel,line,lure- on all spring, what would it be & what would you key in on?
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.
When did you know you had the winning pattern? Question from my hubby Pete G
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
How are you preparing for the next event?
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!
Congrats on your win KC ! From your Marshall at Wheeler. Ya I picked you on my fantasy team. Fear KC in Texas!
Thanks! Just trying to take it all in. Wins don't come around often.
What’s your favorite light jig set up consist of rod/reel/line/ jig im talking no heavier than 3/8oz
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.
Keith what hooks do u put on your 6XD's?
I usually replace them. I use Owner treble hooks - Owner Stingers.
Congrats Mr.Combs. bet it felt great to win so close to home!
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!
What's your favorite lake in Texas? Besides Falcon!
Sam Rayburn. That's my home lake and it's got it all -- grass, wood, brushpiles, you name it.
Or was it just business as usual? How was your mental planning different if at all going into day 4
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
How early on did you know you had the strategy/pattern that could win you the tournament? Did it ever change?
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.
This is soo awesome thank you for taking the time and chatting with us
I appreciate it. I wish I could talk to everybody more often, but I've got to fish!
Yes you do good luck in your next tournaments
Congrats on the win. Did you make any modifications to your crankbait or any special retrieve you think was key?
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.
What's your favorite top water lure?
@StrikeKingLures Sexy Dawg similar to Spook but with a loud knocker. In a clear lake, it'll really catch 'em.
what is the first thing you did after your win?
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.
@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?
Keith, what's it like to go from the flw pro series to bassmaster elite series? Any big changes?
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!
Keith, thank you so much for spending time with us today! Fans, thanks for your questions!
Big shoutout to Keith thank you for your time
I totally appreciate everyone's support! I'm just trying to take it all in, and I can't say thank you enough!