Shaw Grigsby Raw - Part 1

Keri May, owner of spent a day on the water with Shaw Grigsby posing questions that members from our forums submitted for Shaw to answer.  Here is part 1 of a nine-part audio series where Shaw answers every single one of them!

In this episode, listen as Shaw explains how to find fish, his first boat, making it as a pro, and more!
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Keri:  I think one of the most interesting questions that quite a few people asked in many different ways so I will try to just cover it and with one group. Being a new angler to this area how do you go about figuring out where to go? Obviously electronics on how to get there. But what is the strategy on what to do?

Shaw:  In any place you go the one thing you learn after many, many years of fishing. It doesn't matter where you are in the country. A bass is still a bass. They are exactly the same critters whether they are in New York, Florida, Japan, Italy, or Spain. I fished Spain. Portugal. They are all the same. It's a bass. And they still react and do the same things.

Finding the mother lode, the fish to win, obviously doesn't happen all that easy. But finding fish is something that you should be able to do in any situation. They are doing something the same in all situations. Meaning that we look at, when we came here the first thing I did was grab a map, and spend a lot of time in map study.

I have Google maps on my iPhone. I sat there and looked at it over and over and over. I am finding places where they have dead end canals. Because all this is, is a canal system. It is a giant canal system. So you go till you find dead end canals that have clear water, cleaner water. Dead end canals are going to be canals that warm up quickest.

In this situation we are coming out of winter. We are looking for water to warm up. Fish to get in a pre-spawn mode. Possibly if you found some real warm water they could get in spawn mode. But we are a little early for that. So we are pretty much just looking for warmer water. That means you are looking for something that is a dead end. That doesn't have anything running in to it.

You have a lot of these canals. If you look at them on the map, a lot of these canals will break out in to a lake. So you have a little creek, or little drainage ditch at the back of it.

All that water that is out on these lakes and in open areas are real cold.  And then all the dead end ones have an opportunity, being protected, to warm up quickest. That is kind of what we did here is look for those dead end canals, pick you a bunch of them out and then find out how to get there. And you're finding out how to get there, GPS and maps.

Sometimes you think a canal is open getting there and it's not. You run a ground. Sometimes it is suppose to have four or five feet of water in it and it's got three inches. Because the water is so low this year. It is just a matter of trial and error and finding your way to it. And then hitting enough of them that you can find which ones have the better fish. Or which ones have a few more fish than the other ones.

What's interesting, is what I found, is I'm in canal systems and I can pull in to this one dead end, get two or three bites and I will go to this one right next to it and get none, go to the one right across from it and get none, and go to another on right there. They all look the same. They all have good depth, everything, cover. Not get another bite. Then go to another deal and pull in and no bites, no bass, and then one little shoot will have them.

That's just to me, that's crazy. You would think that instead of having just one little deal that is happening that you would have a lot of areas that would have fish. It has not been that way with me. I have been struggling to get bites and when you get them it's just like you are going to get them in one area and that's it.

Keri:  Do you use the Internet at all as far as forums?

Shaw:  I do a little but not that much. I looked at Louisiana Wild, some magazine that they have here. Had a couple articles about fishing in this area. Some you do. A lot of times you read the stuff and you are not sure whether you can trust it or not trust it.

Keri:  Sure.

Shaw:  You would like to think everything is very truthful and honest. Not so on the Internet. We looked at a number of things. I haven't done well in the muddy water which is what I am sitting in right now. But I keep trying it because I know the fish don't care. They will be in either but it seems like my best results have been in clean water. Just finding clean water pockets that are warm enough. Then you tend to get some bites.

Keri:  What was your first job?

Shaw:  First job. I worked, well obviously as a kid mowing yards, raking leaves. I used to load hay for a dollar an hour. My first real job, when you could turn 16 and get a job, I worked at public supermarkets bagging groceries. And then stocked groceries. That was my job for quite a few years through high school. It was fun.

Keri:  What lessons have you learned on the water that also apply off the water?

Shaw:  A lot of patience. A lot of patience and perseverance. There are so many times you will be fishing and things are not happening the way you want them to and you just got to keep going and persevere. And that is the same thing in life. A lot of times things don't go the way you want them to. They go the way they do and you just have to make the best of it. And with anything you got to do. You work hard with it out on the water and you better work hard at life off the water.

Keri:  How do you handle the stress of being an elite angler and TV schedule?

Shaw:  Handle?

Keri:  Yeah. They said stress and pressure being an elite angler and TV.

Shaw:  I know I have been able to handle it quite well in the past and don't think much about it. I have felt it and noticed it. Not a whole lot you can do about it. You just relax and go fishing and let things happen. You realize early on there is not a whole lot you can do about it. You just fish hard.

You do everything you can to do as good as you can and at the end of the day it's what it is. You really just fish as hard as you can and that's it. I don't do anything special.

Keri:  What motivates you besides fishing?

Shaw:  Just love it. I absolutely have a passion for it. I like the bites. And we are all major competitors. We wouldn't be here. Just being a fisherman you wouldn't be here. You have to be a competitor. And every one of these guys, I don't care if you are playing tidily winks or badminton or a video game. Every one of them wants to beat the next guy. They are extreme competitors. That's what drives them is the competition. So, that is pretty much it.

Keri:  In your opinion what do you think is the most exciting new addition to bass fishing in the industry itself?, an electronic lure . . .

Shaw: I think Structure Scan from Lowrance, HDS units or StructureScan are just phenomenal.  It's crazy good.  I, when I first got it, it took me months before I would fish.  I would just, literally, idle around and look at everything.  I still do.  I still catch myself.  And now, I've got my transducer mounted. My son was breaking my boat in for me and he sent me a text. He was kind of worried. He said, "Dad your Structure Scan quits at about 50 miles an hour." And it was, like, really? I was like lit up. And it works at about 60, so it's really cool.  So, yeah, I'm really thrilled with that.

So you can go looking through things real fast and find laydown logs, rock piles.  I found so many sunken boats and just cool stuff on the bottom.  It's really, really fun.

Keri: Now the version you have in front, the Lowrance unit in front is a smaller version of the one you have . . .

Shaw: Yeah, it's an eight on the front and a 10 on the back.  Now, a lot of guys do a 10 and 10, do a 10 incher on the front and back.  I just like a little more room on the front.

Keri: Larry Sullivan is a friend of ours and a member of the Western Bass Club.  He was the one who mentioned the Perry boat. 

Shaw: Yeah, Terry Bass.

Keri: Is that Terry Bass, is that what it is?

Shaw: It's Terry Bass with a "T," is the deal.

Keri: Oh. Okay.

Shaw: Perry is what I ended up with, made out of Perry, Florida.

Keri: Oh. Okay.

Shaw: But Terry boat was the boat.  I mean, when I was growing up, oh my gosh.

Keri: So you ended up getting a Perry boat then?

Shaw: Yeah, P-E-R-R-Y instead of T-E-R-R-Y.

Keri: So you actually bought one?

Shaw: Yes I did.

Keri: You did?  Are you going to restore it?

Shaw: No, that was a long time ago.  That was when I was 15.

Keri: Have you ever thought about getting another one and . . .

Shaw: No.

Keri: No?

Shaw: No, I am real, real happy with my Triton.  If I wasn't sponsored by anybody, I'd go buy a Triton.

Keri: Yeah. I think I just more mentioned the question for nostalgic reasons, to . . .

Shaw: No.  I have no old boats.

Keri: Yeah.

Shaw: I have no desire to restore or work on . . .  I have so much to work on.  I have so much stuff that I do that I don't have time to do things like that.

Keri: Sure.

Shaw: It's not a blip on the radar screen.

Keri: Now Larry, he did his homework here.  His next question is: After making the decision not to follow in your dad's business, how long did it take you to get comfortable knowing that you could survive on a fishing income?

Shaw: I love it. This guy did do his homework.

Keri: Yes, he did.

Shaw: I don't know that I've ever been comfortable.  It's one of those businesses where your major sponsor could drop you tomorrow.  You're never confident that everything's cool. It's just not a business. If you're worried about finances and all, this is not a business to be in.  Because it's up and down and you never know. 

So the past couple of years have been really tough, no matter how good you are.  Now I'm sure that Kevin and Skeet and those guys are doing quite well, but you have to be, definitely, way on top.  But, most all of us, no matter that I've had a 15 year run on television and, 25, 26-year run on professional fishing.  All the accolades I've had, we all have taken mega-cuts.  When that happens it's scary.  You just tighten the belt and go on. 

The one thing you have is your fishing ability.  Nobody can take that away from you, and so, that's your base.  That's what really is your livelihood.  You have to always work on how good you are, new techniques, things that come along and make sure you're on the cutting edge, not following behind.  Because if you're not performing up to snuff, especially when ESPN bought BASS, they pretty much made it current stuff. 

I mean, like Roland Martin, they're not letting him back in.  He has to work his way to fish Elites here.  Roland Martin should not have to work his way to do anything.  He ought to say, "I want to fish," and people should go "Yeah.  He's Roland Martin.  Put him in."  And he deserves that after being nine-time Angler of the Year and all the stuff he's done in the industry.  It ought to be just opened up.  He's an Elite angler.  He retired, got out, and now it's like he's got work his way back in. 

Well, because of that, there is no comfort level in this sport.  You know what I mean?  You've got to work your way every day, work on your skills, work on your knowledge and stay on the cutting edge of it or you fall behind.

Keri: Great answer.

Shaw: That's the only thing you've got, your fishing skills as your base.  That's what keeps you going.

Keri: I like that.  You'll love this question. Same guy, on Facebook, he talked about rigging your new boat, with all the high tech gear.  Did you do this yourself, or did you have someone do it for you?  How did you arrange to get it done in such a short period of time, since you've only had it a week? 

Shaw: I have a great dealer, Miller's Boating Center in Ocala and the guy Shane there is a tremendous rigger.  He's their head mechanic, and all that.  So, he was set aside.  We knew this problem was happening, and he was set aside to work on our boats, mine and Terry Scroggins. Fortunately, Terry's came in early, and he was able to get that done and then when mine came in, he jumped on it. 

I was down there for two half days.  That was all I could spend and I did a lot of the stuff myself.  Like the electric locks, running the electric lines, trolling motor and all kinds of little things that I did myself, or my son and I did. And all the big stuff, hanging the Power-Poles, running the pumps, mounting the motor, doing all that stuff, jack plate,  Shane did. 

Fortunately, Darrell from Lowrance, Darrell Rawlings, had set up a complete system for the electronics, so you just ran the cords, everything was just plug and go. 

So everything worked out really well. 

They got it done and, basically, in two-and-a-half days. 

And I wasn't around, because I was working the sports show and so my son, went and spent about three hours on the water running around, breaking it in, checking all the systems, just making sure everything works.  And, of course, he calls me and says, "you do want me to test the trolling motor."  And I said, "Yeah.  Just make sure it spins and does that," and he says, "Oh no, you need to put time on it." He wanted to go fishing.  And I 'm like, "You dog, no, I want that motor run. Don't be going fishing."  So he's pretty funny about that.

Keri: How long does it take to break one of these Mercurys in?

Shaw: I do a six-hour break in.  They only recommend two hours, but I'm old-school, and I was taught by the best, a Mercury mechanic that was on tour with us for 15 years or 20 years named Roy Ridgel who died of a heart attack.  But he taught me how to break a motor in, years and years ago.  He spent two hours running it from 3,500 to 2,500 to 3,500, back and forth.  Never let it set more than a minute at any speed.  So you're fluctuating the speed for two hours under 3,500, then two hours under 4,500, two hours under 5,500 and then you're going.  And you really want to put at least four hours on it before you ever open it up.

And so that was the situation. 

Now, my son had put three hours on it when I got here.  So I only needed about an hour before I was going to let it rip.  And he couldn't handle it by the way, he did open it up, sorry dog. He said, "runs good."  And I was like, "You sorry son-," and he said, "I didn't do it long," and I said, "I know. I probably would have too."

Anyway, I got hours on it here and got it broken in and it's doing good.  I can't say anything but it's doing good.

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