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Grigsby Grabs The Gold

Shaw GrigsbyEditor'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: How long have you been a member of the Strike King team?

Grigsby: I think three years.

Question: What award have you recently won?

Grigsby: I won the Great Outdoor Gold Medal in the bass-fishing competition on July 13, 2002.

Question: What did you have to do to win?

Grigsby: To win, I had to compete in the tournament and catch more bass than the rest of the guys. The guys I competed against included incredible fishermen, such as Mark Davis, Kevin VanDam, Davy Hite, Clark Wendlant, Gary Klein and Rick Clunn. Competing against those guys and winning was very special to me.

Question: How many guys fished in the tournament?

Grigsby: 10

Question: Those were some of the best bass fisherman this year, right?

Grigsby: Yes, I fished with some of the best pros in the country, including one amateur, Ken Christ, who won the B.A.S.S. Federation Championship this year. He gave a good performance. When he went to the 2002 BASS Masters Classic in Birmingham, Alabama, he came in fourth place for two straight days. He's a great angler and a good guy.

Question: Where did you fish?

Grigsby: I fished in the Saranac chain of lakes next to Lake Placid in New York.

Question: What did you know about these lakes? Had you ever fished these lakes?

Grigsby: No. I never had fished those lakes.

Question: How did you set up your strategy? What did you decide to do?

Shaw GrigsbyGrigsby: Since I never had fished up there before, I decided to drive up on July 4. I travelled for two days to get there. I fished all day July 5 and caught a ton of bass. I just basically wanted to learn the layout of the lakes.

Question: How did you catch fish on a lake that you never had before fished?

Grigsby: Basically, I just play-fished. I threw spinner baits, tubes and top-water baits. I started catching bass on a bait called the Zulu, which is Strike King's new 3X soft-plastic bait. The bass loved that bait.

Question: What does a Zulu look like?

Grigsby: The Zulu is a soft-plastic jerkbait made out of that Cyber Flexxx material. The bass ate it like candy. The Zulu locked me in on Middle Saranac Lake, where I ended up fishing during the tournament. I found plenty of bass in the creek that runs from Upper Saranac to Middle Saranac.

Question: What pattern were they holding on, and what kind of bass were you catching?

Grigsby: I caught largemouth and smallmouth, and they were holding in the current on some boulders. I made that location my No. 1 spot to fish. When I got there for the tournament, I practiced on July 5 and July 6. I had to fly out to Indianapolis, Indiana. I came back on July 10 and fished on July 11. Then the Great Outdoor Games put that entire creek -- my No. 1 spot -- between Upper and Middle Saranac off-limits. So, on the July 11 practice day, I told my wife, Polly, that I would fish the Middle Saranac because I had more confidence in that area than I did anywhere else. In fact, during practice, my son caught a 4-pound largemouth on those little rock shoals, and we caught some more real nice smallmouth there. So I figured I'd fish in that lake. During practice there, I found this little sharp, rocky ridge with smallmouth bass all in it.

Question: Why did they put your No.1 spot off-limits?

Grigsby: Apparently, the guy who owns the land on both sides of this region didn't want anybody fishing in there. I ended up fishing in the same place I'd fished on our official practice day, which was July 11.

Question: What was it?

Grigsby: I fished a sharp little rocky point that had grass on top.

Question: At what depth of water did the fish hold?

Grigsby: The fish held from probably 16 feet all the way up to about 8 or 9 feet deep.

Question: What did you use to fish?

Grigsby: I caught them on a Denny Brauer Flipping Tube. I rigged it on an exposed hook called a Bite Me jighead, and I Texas-rigged it with an Eagle Claw No. 3 High-Performance hook.

Question: Now did you rig it -- Texas style or with an open hook?

Shaw GrigsbyGrigsby: I used both style hooks. I had the open hook on 12-pound-test line and the Texas rig on 12-pound-test line. I rigged both of those on original green Stren line. I fished them on a 665 PT rod and a 705 PT Tour Edition rod, which are both Tour Edition Quantum's new outstanding rods. I'd drag the Strike King flipping tube on the bottom to make it look like a crawfish crawling through the rocks. The bass loved it. On the last day, I had to catch them all on the exposed hook because the weather was so windy. But the first day of the competition, which was the qualifying day to make it to the finals, I just needed to make the top six to be one of the final six guys to go for the gold medal. I caught the bass on a High-Performance hook. The water was slick and calm on the qualifying day, but the wind was blowing and howling on the competition days. I just had to have an open hook to stick the bass. My bait got hung-up more often, but I definitely caught the fish when they would bite, although I couldn't feel their bites well with that much wind.

Question: What color tube jig were you using?

Grigsby: I used a watermelon-colored tube and a green- pumpkin-colored tube. I also used the sand candy-colored Kevin VanDam tube as well.

Question: Explain why you used an exposed hook on a windy day.

Grigsby: Because on windy days, you can't feel the fish take the bite as well. A number of times, as I started to reel down, the fish would have the bait in its mouth. I really didn't have to set the exposed hook. The hook would just stick in the fish's mouth without any effort. I took a chance, because most of the times with an exposed hook, I'd have a less hook-up percentage. In other words, you hook them, but then they jump and throw the hooks, with a lead head attached to each. I prefer to throw that Texas rig with the high-performance hook because when you stick them, they won't come off. You just never lose one when you fish with a Texas rig.

Question: Why is that?

Grigsby: I like the design of the hook, and then the lead weight separates from the bait. The Texas-rigged lead slides up and down the line. When the bass comes up and jumps, it doesn't have leverage, so you tend to keep that fish hooked-up much better. Plus, the unique bend of a high-performance hook really holds the fish in place.

Question: So on windy days, when you can't feel the bass take the bait, fish an open hook with a lead head. On calm days, when you can feel the bass take the bait, rig the tube Texas style and use a sliding lead, correct?

Grigsby: Yes, use a slide lead and a High-Performance hook.

Question: Now what did you win by winning the Outdoor Games?

Shaw GrigsbyGrigsby: I won money and the gold medal. I also got the recognition of winning the Olympics of the outdoor world. This competition includes timber sports; dog sports, such as trials and agility; hunting sports, such as archery, sporting clays; and bass fishing and fly-fishing. This competition is a tremendous venue and is really fun to attend. If you win a gold, silver or bronze medal, you automatically get invited back the next year. Competing against the likes of Kevin VanDam and the rest of the top guys out there was special in itself. Then, to win the gold medal was really a treat of a lifetime. I guess the older I get, the more I appreciate winning because I know it doesn't happen all of the time, and it won't happen a ton more. I'm just real thankful that I had the opportunity to win.

Grigsby's Secret Tactics

Shaw GrigsbyEditor'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: Tell me a secret tactic for using one of your Strike King baits.

Grigsby: The bait that I have just totally fallen in love with this year is the Zulu, which is Strike King's new 3X soft-plastic bait. It is very unique. This bait resembles a soft-plastic jerkbait with a fishy-type body. The way it floats and its durability are real impressive. I fish it like a top-water bait.

The bait is made of this new material called Cyber Flexxx, which is flexible and rubbery. You can just barely move the bait, and it has a ton of action, because it so flexible it looks like it's alive. So I've started throwing it as top-water bait. I just throw it out, let it sit, and then twitch it a few times like I do a Spitting King or a standard top-water bait. But when the bass miss this soft bait, they come back around and hit it again. If they eat it, they mistake it for a live bait and swallow it. I can catch basically every bass that hits this bait.

I rig the bait with a 3/0 High-Performance hook or I'll use a 4/0 hook when I fish with heavy line. But the 3/0 hook is the perfect size for using 12- to 14-pound-test line and letting it float on the surface and twitching it every now and then. I twitch it a few times and let it sit. Fish just think it is a live shad.

Shaw GrigsbyQuestion: Do the fish hit the bait when it stops, or do they hit it when you twitch it?

Grigsby: They hit it both ways. I love the Zulu when the bass hit the Zulu sitting still. But I've had them also hit it when I twitch it. I'll work the bait a few times, allow it to sit on the surface, twitch it a couple of times, let it sit again, twitch it a couple times, and then I'll twitch it on in just like a regular bait. I'll snap the bait. I work the bait like a top-water bait at first and then change off to the jerkbait retrieve. I'll end up catching a ton of bass on this bait.

Grigsby's Choice

Shaw GrigsbyEditor'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.

Shaw GrigsbyI'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?

Shaw GrigsbyGrigsby: 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.

Shaw GrigsbyI 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.

Grigsby's Favorite Jerkbait

Shaw GrigsbyEditor'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 another lure that you like and that you use a lot?

Grigsby: I use all the Strike King lures. I really like the Wild Shiner jerkbait. It only comes in one size of floating and sinking models. If I had to chose one, I'd choose the suspending model. I like the one with the gold and black back and orange belly. The orange belly is just one of the key ingredients to catching bass which seem to like an orange belly.

I also like the new color that's kind of clear with a greenish back to it. It is a killer bait. I usually throw that bait on 12-pound-test line, and I'll cast next to grass beds, grass points and/or weed edges. I'll twitch it down one time while it is on the surface, and then bring it on down maybe three, four or five consecutive twitches. I'll stop once I get it down close to its maximum depth. I'll twitch it once or twice, and I'll stop it. Then I'll twitch it once or twice and stop it again. That helps it to keep from coming back to the surface.

Shaw GrigsbyThis technique tends to keep it down there in the bass strike zone. The bait will dive down to 7 or 8 feet on 12-pound-test line. So I make sure to not throw this bait in super-shallow water. If you plan to fish shallow, go back to the floating model.

I usually use it on a about a medium-action rod as opposed to a medium-heavy rod. The medium-action rod has a lot of flex that gives plenty of action to the bait. And, I'll twitch it fairly hard. You'll hear that line snap when you pop the rod. That makes the bait dart side-to-side. Then you stop it, twitch it again, dart it side-to-side and stop it again. This bait works tremendously all through the summertime and especially in the fall when the bass are after shad.

Grigsby's Glasses

Shaw GrigsbyEditor'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: You just developed a new set of sunglasses called the Shaw Grigsby sunglasses that are produced by Strike King. What makes these different from sunglasses that you can pick up at any supermarket?

Grigsby: Well, of course they have great, great lenses. You'll get really good ultraviolet protection for your eyes, which you must have. You have to have basically 100% ultraviolet blockage and polarization to see into the water to look for structure. You need a good pair of polarized glasses any time you go fishing. We have mirrored lenses combined with yellow basic lenses.

From the back they look amber and from the front they look mirrored. The mirrored finish blocks out a lot of the rays that heat up the glasses and make you feel tired. You'll feel much cooler if you have those mirrored front lenses that reflect the light rays. The amber lenses give your eyes sensitivity. With these lenses, you can see more detail and pick out movement. You can spot grass beds, rock and stumps with the help of the amber lenses.

Shaw GrigsbyQuestion: Do they come with a strap?

Grigsby: Instead of having ear pieces, these sunglasses have a strap that comes around and distributes the weight perfectly, eliminating nose pressure, temple pressure and pressure from the ear piece hooking around your ear. The soft-sided strap really feels wonderful and takes that pressure off your nose.

Most sunglasses push down on the bridge of your nose, and if they don't fit just right, they'll cut into your temple and give you a headache. Or, the hooks behind your ears can give you a headache. The soft sides distribute the weight so that you don't even know you are wearing them. It is just a wonderful concept in sunglasses to not have ear pieces, plus the strap makes the sunglasses fit anybody. You just tighten up the strap in the backside, or you can wear them loose.

Question: Now, these sunglasses help you with sight fishing, correct?

Grigsby: Yes, they help sight fishing and fishing in general, and it doesn't matter if it is pouring down rain. That is why I like the amber lenses because I tend to wear them the moment I get into the boat whether it is early morning, late evening, overcast, cloudy or rainy. The sunglasses protect my eyes from bugs, baits or anything that may fly by and hit me in the eye.

Shaw GrigsbyPlus, the glasses allow me to see little details in the water, like a darker spot. I know that those darker spots are probably grass or limbs or something underneath the water. And the fish will key in on those spots. So even if I'm not sight fishing, I'll wear those sunglasses to protect my eyes from the ultraviolet rays, from the sun, from flying objects and to see the subtle differences in the water which hold fish. If you ever see anything that is a little darker or a little lighter, make a cast at it, and you may catch a bass.