Editor’s Note: The second Sunday in March, 2011, Shaw Grigsby won the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on the Harris chain of lakes in Florida to cinch his ninth victory on the BASS circuit in his career. According to Grigsby, “I was so excited and giddy on the stand that I forgot to thank my sponsors, my family and all the people who’ve helped me over the years. I was like a little kid who just hit a homerun to win the game in the Little League World Championship. This win was huge for me, not only because of the money, but to also prove that the old guys can still bass fish.”
Part 1: Show Grigsby Found the Mother Lode of Bedding Bass During Practice at Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes
Question: Shaw, what did you know about the lake before you started fishing?
Grigsby: I’ve fished Florida’s Harris chain of lakes quite a few times, not only in national tournaments but also in local and club tournaments. I’ve fished a lot of one-day tournaments there, as well as several Bassmaster Invitationals and Opens on that chain. So, I’ve had quite a bit of time on these lakes. In 1987, during a Megabucks tournament there, I lead all four days and had a huge lead until the last day, when they zero your weight. We went to a 6-hole type tournament, and I lost, though not by very much. This time, in this tournament, I was able to knock the ball out of the park and hold on for a win.
Question: What did you learn in practice?
Grigsby: I started-out just fishing down the bank. I was running some banks and looking for bedding fish. I went into a canal and didn’t see much bedding activity, and I was disappointed. Finally, I found one 5 pounder on the bed. I went into another canal, and I spotted two, 7-pound bass and one 5-pound bass. Then I began to see a lot of big bass on beds that I believed I could catch by sight-fishing. On Day 2 of practice, I went to a completely-different area and was amazed at how many big bass I was able to see on the beds with my Strike King sunglasses.
In one pocket I went into, I saw nine bass on the bed that all would have weighed 6-pounds each. The biggest fish probably weighed 10 or 11 pounds. In the next pocket I looked in, there were 12 bass on the bed that would weigh over 6-pounds each, and that was the place I decided to fish during the tournament. I marked each one of these bedding bass on my GPS, and that’s when I made the decision to fish that particular canal.
Question: In practice, did you throw lures to those fish?
Grigsby: No, I didn’t cast any lures to any of the bass I saw. I didn’t see any reason to try to catch them. The first time I fished for any of the bass I’d found was on the first day of the tournament.
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