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Angler Pro File Keith Combs
By: Haag, Shaun
Published Date: 2/29/2012
Former machine shop supervisor from Huntington, Texas Keith Combs is not your high profile screaming in the camera kind of Pro Angler. Keith is more of a sun up to sun down 300 plus days a year busts your butt kind of guy. I recently had the pleasure of riding in Keith’s Yamaha power Ranger boat for days one and two of the 2012 Bassmasters Classic.
At a media event the day before the Classic I sat down with Keith to ask him a few questions. Keith ended last year by winning the Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) on Lake Conroe beating arguably the best field of anglers ever assembled. The TTBC takes the top anglers from FLW, BASS, and the PAA. Being Keith is from Texas and some rumors on the internet I asked Keith if he had a lot of local help on Conroe. Keith’s reply was “I live 2 hours from the lake I put in countless hours practicing and graphing the lake. Do I have friends that live near Conroe? Sure but I didn’t go to them for help. I worked my but off to find those fish!” I asked Keith if the High from winning that event would carry over to the Classic. I got a chuckle and the response was “No I was on a high for 2 days then it was back to work fishing and preparing for an event in Florida and the Classic”. This was the first sign to me of the inner workings of Keith Combs.
Day one 2012 Bassmaster’s Classic.
“We are going to run 15 miles to the lock then another 30 miles to my spot then we’re going to catch em”! He wasn’t kidding it only took about 20 minutes to put a limit in the boat. One was a good one about 4lbs so he knew the right size lived there he would just need to work on them. Around 11:30 AM a veteran angler Keith had been sharing the area with was leaving and made mention that maybe they should save the fish in there for day 2. Both anglers at that time had around 11 lbs. After the angler left Keith said to me “why would you leave and want to save 11 lbs worth of fish for day 2? 11lbs is nothing! I need to get 15-16lbs before I think about saving fish. You’re not going to win on 11lbs a day!” This second thing Keith had said that proved to me he is an angler of a different breed. He truly was not going to fish for limits to save face at weigh in. He was there for one reason and that was to win! Keith clawed his way up to a 13lb 9oz limit losing a couple key fish but defiantly still in striking distance. Seeing Keith’s fortitude and the area he was fishing I requested to ride with him again on day two.
While sitting in the lock Keith is talking with another competitor fishing his first Classic. This angler talked about wanting to lock to pool 3 where he had caught his best fish in practice, but was afraid they wouldn’t bite because of the weather. That’s why he didn’t go there day 1. After that conversation Keith said the 3rd thing that sets him apart in my eyes. “Those are the kind of fish that win and you don’t go because of weather! What the hell does weather have to do with it?” Weather!! If I had found those fish there would be no question! Weather!?!”
What a difference a day makes. We went from windy and over cast to flat calm a sunny. Keith quickly figured out he was going to need to make a change to catch these fish. He had landed the bulk of his fish day one on a spinner bait. Day two he started pitching a Strike King Creature bait. His 3rd fish of the morning was a monster 6lber, but the bites were a lot harder to come by. Keith made another adjustment mid morning and hit the area where he had lost a couple fish on day one. We turn the corner only to find a couple of locals’ right in the spot where he had lost those fish. We saw them catch 3 fish from that area, but this didn’t phase Keith one bit. As we fished the area Keith was able to fill out his limit as the two anglers moved out of the area. Keith pulls in makes the exact same cast as the day before and BAM 3 ½lbers hits. Keith said “I know this is the same fish I lost on day on I know it.” Later on in the day Keith made one more switch to try and coax the bigger fish into biting. He said “It’s donkey time;” As he pulled out a Hollow Belly Frog. Keith culled a couple of key fish with the frog on his way to a 15lb bag for the day moving him up the latter. On the way back Keith talked about the frog being his ticket. “If I can get them to bite the Donkey I’ll catch 20 plus pounds tomorrow!” Keith went down swinging for the fence as they say. Doing the only thing he knew would give him the best chance at winning. There is no doubt in my mind Keith Combs will be a main stay on the Pro Tour! The B.A.S.S. Elite tour is heading into the 3rd stop of the year and Keith is sitting in 5th place in the Angler of the Year Race looking to make a big move.