Most Frequently Asked Questions
Editor's Note: Shaw Grigsby, a tournament bass fisherman from Gainesville, Florida, and a member of the Strike King Pro Staff, competes on many of the national bass-fishing circuits and hosts the television show "One More Cast." One of only four anglers to have won over $1 million in B.A.S.S. career earnings - ranking 4th on B.A.S.S. all time money list - Grigsby has had nine BASS Masters Classic appearances and eight wins. This week he shares a few of his most unusual bass-fishing tactics and answers some of the industry's most-asked questions.
Question: What are some questions people ask you, and how do you answer them?
Grigsby: A lot of guys want to know how to become a professional angler. If they're youngsters, the first thing I tell them is to get an education and take some courses in marketing, public speaking and advertising to give them a better grasp of the business side of professional fishing. Then I suggest they continue fishing with their local clubs and honing their fishing skills. When they graduate from college, they'll have a very good opportunity to make a living in this sport. That's what I've told people over and over again.
Another question I get asked a lot is "How do you get sponsors?" I tell people that you must work very hard for a company to get a sponsorship. What I did in the beginning was ask what I could do for the company. I'd find bait that I really liked and go to the Strike King representatives and say, "Man, I just love these Strike King baits. Let me show you what I can do with them." Nowadays I call the local outdoor writer for the paper and take him fishing. We'll catch the fire out of the bass on a particular bait, and he'll write about our success in the newspaper. I do that as many times as I can.
I also go to tackle stores and say, "You need to carry this new bait. It's just awesome." I back-up the products I use by making sure they're available at the tackle stores. Then all of a sudden Strike King realizes you're doing a lot of work for them, and the company may decide to sponsor you. That's how I've gotten sponsors. I don't search for potential sponsors and say, "Hey! I'm a great fisherman; I've won this tournament and that tournament, and you need to give me bait and money and all kinds of free products." Companies hear that all the time. Instead, if you prove yourself to them, they'll be very willing to work with you.
Another question I often get asked is, "How do you find fish in so many different bodies of water? I know I can go out to my local lake and catch bass, but how do I catch them everywhere else?" What you have to remember is bass are very predictable; they're the same whether they're in New York, Florida, California or Texas. They're still bass, and they'll do the same things in various locations. The main thing you want to look at is the type of lake you plan to fish. What are the water conditions, colors and temperatures? What type of coverage is available? If you consider those things, you generally can locate fish anytime of the year because bass will do about the same things anywhere.
I'm from Florida, and we don't get really cold weather, we don't have really deep water, and we don't have many little reservoirs where bass can migrate. We have several small bodies of lakes. So anglers in this area need to realize that fishing in a natural lake will be a little bit different than fishing in a reservoir or in a river. But a bass is still a bass. They still love to be around cover. They're predators, and they like to ambush their prey. So if you have a little knowledge of bass in general, you should be able to take that information, go to any lake and catch fish.
People also ask me how I can go to a new lake and figure it out so quickly. Well, if I take a small section of a lake, like a major cove or a creek, I'll start at the mouth of it and work all the way to the back. That section is going to be my body of water for that day. That way I can try several different patterns. I also can fish the main lake and the main lake points. I can go into the pockets, the secondary points and the creek channels. I can do all that in one day.
I'll also record each and every bite I get and try to determine what the fish are telling me. For instance, I may get one bite inside a pocket and then fish way back in the creek and not catch anything. Then I may come out on the other side of a little creek and get more bites on another point. I'll know that these fish are on the secondary points back inside the pocket. Those are the spots where I am catching fish. I'll develop a pattern and apply it to the rest of the lake. This is a very good way to eliminate water quickly rather than just looking at a lake that's 40-miles long and 10-miles wide and wondering how in the world you're going to figure out this body of water. Just focus on one area, and fish it. Fish it hard, and don't worry about the rest of the lake. Once you figure out a pattern, you can use it on other parts of the lake.