June 17, 2016

A Day on Lake Fork with Keith Combs

I just got back from a trip to Lake Fork, TX. This was my second time to the famous lake and the first time I really got to fish.  I was there in 2014 covering the TTBC and was in a camera boat watching Keith Combs wail on giant bass all day.  This time I was in his boat helping him do it.

The event I attended was with Shimano/Loomis/Jackall and I was also able to get on the water with Mark Zona, Dave Mercer, James Elam and Greg Yates of Shimano.  After the first few half day trips I had caught two bass total and also a giant catfish while fishing with Mercer. Besides that I was able to test out some awesome rods and reels from the brands, but that will be another story for another day.

The fishing was very tough since we were immediately after the Skeeter Owners Tournament that had around 1,000 boats!  The fishing got better and better and fishing with the best angler on Lake Fork after he had a few trips to figure it out set up perfectly for me.

We threw big crankbaits all day long.  I was using the new Shimano Zodias 176MH-G rod and Casitas reel. I had never caught a fish on a Stike King 10XD and I thought they would wear you out cranking all day since they are so big.  That really isn’t the case if you are deep cranking the right way.  Most of your time is idling around until you find them, then making a few casts, then idling more.  There really aren't enough casts in a day to wear you out.

That's a 10XD and a 6lb bass. Giant cranks!
Keith knew what he was looking for on his Humminbird units and when he saw it he let me know we were about to start catching them. We got into several flurries of action and he called it several times. He really impressed me with his knowledge of electronics and I definitely learned a thing or two.

A look at Keith's sonar settings
After all was said and done, he had caught a 9, an 8 and a several 5-6lb fish.  I caught one that was 8lbs as well as several 6lb class fish.  

I also lost a ten pound fish that still makes me sick thinking about it. I was grinding a Strike King 6XD in about 15 feet of water when it stopped and felt hung up.  Lake Fork is full of trees and I hung up my fair share of crankbaits in the first few days, but this time my line started rising and a 10+ jumped and spit my bait.  Keith said “That was a ten right there” and he knows what big fish look like.  The trick is to keep reeling no matter what because the big ones feel like that and you need to crank as fast as you can to keep them coming in.  Lesson learned…the hard way.

Keith with the biggest of the day. 9lbs 4oz
I also had another close encounter with a double digit.  During another flurry I was reeling in a small two pound white bass (on a 10XD!!!) and a giant largemouth followed it all the way to the boat.  Either it was trying to eat the bait or the fish I was reeling in, but either way is was really cool.  We were both freaking out at how close it was to the boat even after I stopped reeling the fish and just let it swim around while Keith dropped a big spoon next to it. 

Overall, the Content Creators Conference was an amazing time.  I caught some fish, got to check out some great new gear and learned a ton about deep cranking!
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