The Attack of the Zulu
Editor's Note: Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Florida, won a gold medal in the ESPN Outdoor Games for fishing in 2002. He's qualified for the BASS Masters' Classic nine times and has won eight B.A.S.S. tournaments and four invitational tournaments. He's also the host of the "One More Cast" TV show on TNN.
Question: What did you learn at the 2002 ESPN Outdoor Games at Lake Placid?
Grigsby: I was practicing on a Friday, the week before the Outdoor Games in Lake Placid, New York. The water was clear and most anglers were flipping and pitching. So I set up some tubes and some jigs on my rods and started fishing like everyone else. While I was fishing, I said to myself, You ought to try that Zulu, a soft-plastic jerkbait made from the new 3X material that Strike King has just developed. I'd tried this bait when fishing in New Hampshire, and the small bass just attacked this bait unmercifully.
When we pulled up to the very first place I was going to fish that day in the Outdoor Games, I began to fish the Zulu. When the Zulu hit the water, I jerked it twice. About 15 smallmouth tried to attack it at the same time. I caught one of the smallmouth, unhooked it, and while I was trying to put the fish in the livewell, my son picked up my rod with the Zulu tied on and caught two more smallmouth before I could get him to give me my rod back. I tied the Zulu to his rod, and we continued to catch fish there. Then when we went to my next spot, the first cast we made, we both had on smallmouth.
The smallmouth were eating those Zulus just as though they were live shad minnows. When you twitch that Zulu, the entire body ripples just like a live baitfish. And the smallmouth will just crush that bait. But we didn't just catch smallmouth. We caught quite a few largemouth using this lure. This was one of the most phenomenal fishing days that I'd ever had in my life. I knew that if I fished the Zulu in these two spots, I could blow the competition away. But for some reason, those surefire spots have a way of escaping me.
Just before the Outdoor Games tournament began, the tournament director declared the two spots where I'd caught all my fish off-limits. So my fall-back plan was to use the Denny Brauer tube jig, and I won the tournament on the tube jig. However, the knowledge that I gained from fishing the Zulu taught me the kinds of areas to look for and how to fish for these bass on this lake. The Zulu really saved the day for me.
Although the Zulu may look like many other soft-plastic jerkbaits, it's really quite different because:
* it floats and doesn't sink like other soft-plastic jerkbaits,
* you can make the Zulu sink by fishing it on a jig head or putting some lead on the hook,
* the flexibility of the bait is phenomenal. When you twitch most soft-plastic baits, they usually dart either to the right or to the left, but the Zulu ripples throughout its entire body when you twitch it, causing the whole bait to look alive.