Editor's Note: Professional fisherman, 46-year-old Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Florida, a member of Strike King's Pro Fishing Team, won the gold medal for bass fishing in the Olympics of outdoor sports -- the Great Outdoor Games.
Question: What is one of the Strike King baits that you've really gotten excited about?
Grigsby: I do a lot of saltwater fishing, and again, these 3X soft plastics have stunned me with their salt-water success. In fact, just recently, my friend Billie Henderson and I fished the Zulu in salt water. Billie throws the bait out there, hits the top of the water, and starts telling me about this spot.
He says, "Now this point is really good. The redfish usually hold on this point." And about that time, there's this big explosion on his bait. The explosion happened before he moved the bait. He caught about a 7-pound jack crevalle. Now anybody who knows anything about salt water knows that you virtually will never catch a jack crevalle on bait that is not moving. You usually have to move a bait super fast while twitching and jerking it to get a jack crevalle to hit. And this jack hit that dead bait sitting on the surface, which tells me that the jack thought it was a live shiner.
I've also had Spanish mackerel crush this bait. I've caught trout, redfish, tarpon and literally everything that swims in the ocean on this bait, and the bait doesn't tear up. Even a mackerel can't tear up the bait. I have a feeling that the 3X soft-plastic line is literally going to take over every bit of salt-water fishing in the sense of the soft-plastic type line.
Question: How did you rig the Zulu to fish it in saltwater, to catch all of these salt-water species?
Grigsby: I like to use a small, octopus-style hook called a 7226 Eagle Claw. It has a real sharp needle point and a very resistant coating called a Black Diamond Finish. You can use this hook in salt water. It is tremendous. If I rig it with a Zulu, and I'm not around anything that I can get hung-up on, I'll just throw it out in the open water to catch tarpon, trout and redfish.
If I throw it out in basically open water, I'll thread it on and run the hook out the top of the bait with the eyes up. If I plan to work it around grass, I thread the hook just past the eyeballs, turn it back, punch it back in to the bait and work the bait upside down with the hook held in the hook pocket underneath the bait. So either way it makes it very, very weedless, and you can throw it around in the grass and the vegetation and anything like that to work it. But that little 7226 Eagle Claw does a killer job with it.
Question: What color Zulu do you like for salt-water fishing?
Grigsby: I love the pearl color. I also like the watermelon or watermelon-red color. Both of those are kind of shrimpy looking colors that also work very well. I usually put a short leader of 25-pound fluorocarbon on the pearl-colored fluorocarbon when fishing for redfish, trout or snook. Now if when fishing for tarpon, I'll up that to about 60-pound fluorocarbon because the fish are big and bulky, and they tend to cut through the fluorocarbon.
Question: Tell us about another bait that Strike King makes that you've learned some new techniques or tactics with or that you've tried this year that you really like.
Grigsby: Well, I like a Pro-Model spinner bait. This bait is a standard bait in my tackle box. In the fall, I usually take the chartreuse-and-white, 3/8-ounce Pro-Model with a 4 1/2-inch willow rear blade and a small Colorado blade to fish for bass. In the fall, I like ripping this thing. You want to wake the spinner bait, especially on lakes that have fairly clear water and some rock structure. These fish primarily key in on shad.
I take a rubber core sinker, you can buy them at any tackle store, and I pull the rubber core out of the sinker. I usually use either a 3/8-ounce or a 1/4-ounce sinker, but the 3/8-ounce works real well. I put it on the hook shank and then crimp it on it. Usually, I have to expand it just a little bit to have it fit around the hook shank. Then I crimp it back on there with pliers. This technique adds 3/8 of an ounce to a 3/8-ounce spinner bait. With this additional weight, you can zing the bait out 1/2- mile. This rig makes great, long casts. It will track really straight because of the weight on the hook shank and because you can burn it and keep it from skipping out of the water. This bait rig works great for fall fishing.