BassWestUSA - Summer, 2012, Page 52

Hang-ups and snags are simply part of a day of deep cranking, a prospect that can become costly if you are unable to retrieve lures that commonly run $7-15 apiece. Prior to running a heavy lure retriever down the line, Combs suggests grabbing the line beyond the rod tip with the left hand and using the right hand to grab

further down the line, toward the crankbait. Pull this line taut with the right hand and release quickly, causing the line to release with a sudden snap. The release of energy transferred to the crankbait will often be enough to make the crankbait backup just enough to free minor snags. For more severe cases, pull out the lure retriever and go to work.

can often get a school of bass ‘fired up’ into a feeding frenzy because they get competitive for the food source. When this happens, you can catch them on back to back casts for a long time.”

Combs employs deep crankbaits throughout the year across most every venue on the tournament trail, using this technique exclusively to win the 2011 PAA Toyota Texas Bass Classic on Lake Conroe. Combs shares his insight and ex- perience for getting the most from these hard diving lures.

How deep Is “deep”?

slamming the bait into cover for the bass to strike. This is a reaction bite and if you aren’t deflecting that crankbait off of something, they will rarely bite it.” Combs adds that an angler must be fearless in throwing a crankbait into heavy cover and/or rocky bottoms, which can be another factor for reluctance for those unwilling to risk losing their investment on the lake bottom; however, the big bills required for achieving deeper depths will often assist in limiting the hooks from penetrating deeply in the cover. Accord- ingly, Combs always keeps a heavy lure retriever at the ready for freeing the most stubborn hang-ups.

To start, Combs explains that the definition of “deep” really depends upon the reservoir and the water clarity; how- ever, 8-12’ of water is usually considered mid-depth range and anything 12’ or greater falls into the “deep” category for cranking. Regardless of the depth range he’s fishing, his approach and setup rarely changes. He continues, “You absolutely must be touching the lake bottom or


Equipment is also key to Combs’ approach and his setup rarely varies. “I use a Power Tackle PGC170, which is an all fiberglass rod that is helpful for two reasons: it has enough ‘give’ when a bass eats the lure he can inhale it deep in his mouth. The 7’ glass rod also allows me to make extremely long casts, which is the



Summer 2012