Keith put together a pattern in practice that hinged on his knowledge of the lake, the way the fish were acting and how to effectively manage his time. Despite a couple of unforeseen obstacles, his plan came together perfectly.
Day 1 found Combs at the lower end of the lake on offshore structure chunking a Strike King Series 6XD, his primary weapon during the event. One spot in particular gave up some big bites and he ended the first day in the driver’s seat with 5 bass that weighed 34 lbs. 13 oz.
Day 2 found Combs having to compete for the spot where he caught them on Day 1. He ended up moving around and fishing several spots and put a 5 fish limit together that weighed 28-1 to retain the coveted pole-position for yet another day.
Day 3 was the most frustrating for Keith as he lost 3 hours of fishing time due to a mechanical issue. Fellow competitor Clark Rheem picked Combs up and allowed him to fish the remainder of the day from the back of his boat. This act of sportsmanship allowed Combs to once again fill his limit and remain in first place, but the day’s events caused him to weigh his smallest bag of the event at 20-5. On a day that Combs dealt with the frustration and plummeting weight, BASS veteran and legend, Rick Clunn, put together a monster sack and made a run at the top of the leaderboard, narrowing Combs' lead to 1 pound.
Day 4 of the event was cancelled by BASS tournament directors due to high winds. The safety of the anglers was in jeopardy, so in a rare move, the final round was postponed until Monday.
Day 5, the final day, started off well for Combs as he boxed 4 fish that weighed about 21 pounds by around 8:45. Then he meticulously made his way through a multitude of spots that culminated with him catching a 7 ½ pounder only five minutes before weigh-in. That fish concreted his victory.
Keith ended up with a four day total of 111 pounds and 5 ounces to overcome the hard-charging Clunn by a margin of 5-15.
Here are Combs’ comments on the event:
“I was fishing a Strike King 6XD crankbait in Chartreuse Powder Blue Back on 15 lb. Seaguar Tatsu line. I was throwing it on a Power Tackle cranking rod. That bait fishes better at a fast pace than any other crankbait I’ve ever fished and casino that seemed to be the deal to trigger bites from the bigger fish. It casts like a dream and runs to a perfect depth for most situations and bass just flat out eat it!” Combs said in reference to his primary fish-catching tool for the week.
“I also caught about 3 fish during the event on a plum Strike King Rage Recon worm. I had it weighted with a 3/8 Tour Grade Tungsten weight and was throwing it on 20 lb. Seaguar Abraz-X” remarked Combs.
“My deal was running a bunch of spots that I knew that they got on and not spending too much time on any of them. I was basically fishing rocky spots that had a drop-off associated with them. They weren’t necessarily deep. In fact, they probably averaged 10 feet or less” Combs said.
“Falcon is an awesome fishery despite that it’s been tougher that normal the past several months. The quality of fish there is the deal and you have to target big bites to win. Equipment choices are also crucial. You need baits that consistently catch a better grade of fish and the line and rods to get them in the boat once they bite. This place is just special” Combs relayed as he was driving to Douglas Lake in Tennessee for the upcoming PAA event.
So after two BASS Elite Series events we have two victories by members of the Strike King pro team. They are off to a great year! Check back often for more inside info from the most successful pro staff in all of bass fishing.