Shaw Grigsby Interview

Original Bass Pro Interviews
Exclusive interview with Shaw Grigsby where he talks about tournament tactics and life as a pro!

Glenn: Hi, I'm Glenn May, and I'm with Bassmaster Pro Elite and television celebrity, Shaw Grigsby. Shaw, great to have you on board today.

Shaw Grigsby: It's great to be here, Glenn.

Glenn: Shaw, can you tell me a little about how you got started in bass fishing, and how you ended up getting to where you are today?

Shaw: Well,I started fishing like everybody else. My dad would take me, and actually, I caught my very fish just south of here, Shreveport, on a little place called Little River, with a little H&H spinnerbait, and I had one of the little Zebco push buttons, and I hooked him, and it was like I couldn't hardly turn the handle anymore, so I ran up the bank, drug him up on the hill, and dove back on him, and it was pretty cool.

But that kind of started it. I love the outdoors. We always did things outdoors. Then, a buddy of mine calls me up in high school and says, "Hey, let's fish a tournament." So, I fished a tournament, and I said, boy, this is really awesome, because you got the boat race back in those days. So, it was boat racing and fishing, and you couldn't beat it, so one thing led to another, and here I am at the Bassmasters Classic.

Glenn: How did that end up getting you to the TV career and the television show that you have?

Shaw: That ended up just being personable and doing some little things on other shows, Bassmaster television and all, and them noticing that I had a talent. And a guy finally came to me and said, hey, we'd like to do a show. And I said I'd love to do it. So, off we went, and it's been like 13 years now that I've been on "One More Cast".

Glenn: Fantastic. That's a good long run.

Shaw: It's been good.

Glenn: So, can you tell me, what was the one defining moment in your career or in your life that really changed your life?

Shaw: Well, career-wise, I could probably choose a number of tournaments that I've won or back-to-back tournaments, but really, the most defining moment of my life was accepting Jesus Christ, and I did that back in January of 2000, and it's been great ever since.

Glenn: Changed everything?

Shaw: Actually, I am totally wrong. It was January 22, 1990, not 2000, and that was my big day.

Glenn: Fantastic.

Shaw: That's changed my life.

Glenn: For the better, obviously.

Shaw: Absolutely.

Glenn: Can you tell me a little bit about, now that you've been at this for quite a while at the pro level, a little bit about strategy? It has a lot to do with your success. Does it change from tournament to tournament, or is it basically the same? How do you approach a tournament?

Shaw: You really approach it, number one, doing a lot of study. Study on the water, spend time on the water, learn as much as you can about it and how the fish react. And then, you have got to throw all that away pretty much when you come out there and the first day of practice, you've got to let the fish tell you what they're doing.

And that's the hardest thing, because you may have built up this strategy that I'm going to fish here, here, and here, and I'll hit this spot first and then this one and this one, and then all of a sudden you go out there, and the fish are doing something totally different. You've had an off limits period or the weather has changed, and then all of a sudden, it's like, what do the fish really want you to do?

So, that's the hardest thing, adapting to the conditions and changing and rolling with the punches, so to speak. So, that's the hardest thing that I've ever had to learn in tournament fishing, is rolling with the punches and changing, rather than sticking with what you thought, or trying to make fish do what you want them to do.

Glenn: Right. Now, if you have a bad day on the water or even if you have a bad tournament, how do you stay focused and adapt to that?

Shaw: As a professional angler, you're always going to have more bad tournaments than you are good. I think I'm about 50% on my tournaments. I think I've placed in 56% or something, so it's pretty much half and half. And when you look at that, you've got to accept those bad ones, you've got to analyze what you did wrong, and you've got to take it and make it better for next time.

Try to remember anything you did wrong, how you missed a particular pattern or didn't fish as hard as you should have, didn't go into this area when you should have gone there, things like that. And then analyze it, and just try not to make the mistake again, and that's pretty much what I do. I try to make every instance that I'm in, every situation, I try to make it a positive and learn something from it.

Glenn: Have you ever fished one of those tournaments where you do it more for fun, just like, hey I'm just going to enjoy it and see where I land, and you do really well? Can you explain that?

Shaw: I've done both. I've taken things way too serious and done well, and I've taken things way too,... Every time I go up north and we're fishing on the Great Lakes or Champlain, Oneida, any of those things, I'm so excited. We're getting to go smallmouth fishing in Florida, anywhere right. We don't have smallmouth, so this is really a treat. And the water's clear, it's pretty, and you're just having a great time.

To me, it's more of a vacation, to go up there and fish the tournaments. So, those I take a little lighter, in the sense of just internally, but I'm still focused, I'm still concentrating. I can't explain, because I don't think I ever fish tight, meaning that I'm so focused on it that I end up messing up. I don't think I do that.

Like you were saying in the question about fishing so loose, you know, you're just going to go enjoy it and then you just whack them, I really haven't had too much of that happen. You know, I whack them because I get on them and catch them, but it's not really because of my attitude.

Glenn: Okay. Spending all this time on the tour with all the different pros, it almost becomes like a second family. You guys get a really good camaraderie going, you really become good friends, and inevitably, in come the practical jokes, and you start having fun with each other. Can you share any practical jokes with us?

Shaw: I can tell you one right here, a Classic, it's really great. My buddy, Gary Klein, now we room together, and he collects decoys. So, if he finds an old duck decoy floating out on the river or something, he collect them. And he's got a whole collection at the house. Well, while we were here in prefishing, back in December, I got three of them. So I collected them and I had them stuffed in my live well.

Well, I go to the first tournament of the year, which is a PAA tournament of the year, in Florida, and I open my live well and here are these decoys, like doggone it. So, I dump them out, because I've got to have my live wells open. Well, my buddy, Donnie Courtney, from Baton Rouge, was up here, and he found out about Gary getting this love of decoys and getting decoys.

So, he goes out, and he buys a whole sack of these little yellow rubber duckies, tub toys, and he puts a sack of about 50 of them in Klein's live well. So, Klein's out of the water, and I wheel around the corner, and I come up to him, and I know about this, but he didn't know about it. So, he'd gone through and he had found a decoy right out there. So, he went and he grabbed it, and he shoved it in his live well.

Well, when he opens his live well, here are all these little rubber duckies, like, you son of a gun! Well, I come around the corner, and I got him to look, and I said, "Hey I got you a duck! He says, you son of a gun!" I know you all did this. There's rubber duckies and he starts throwing duckies at me. It was pretty funny. I laughed about it for about an hour-and-a-half that he had all these rubber duckies. He's probably still got them tucked away in corners in his boat, so it's good.

Glenn: That's fantastic. All right Shaw, I just have to ask. What's with the beard here? What's going on here?

Shaw: Well, I'm 52, and I never grew a beard in my life. Actually, after Classic practice, I quit shaving. This was back in December. And then I went to this first PAA tournament in Florida, and I caught a 13 pound 6 ouncer, and I get text messages all over. "Can't shave the beard!" "Don't shave the beard!" So, I just haven't shaved it. But, it's different.

I don't like shaving, and I've shaved my whole life, and so it's nice not to have to shave. All I do is trim a little bit and just let her go, and it's pretty cool. I don't know how long I'll keep it. I really thought I'd shave it before the Classic, and it may be there. Who knows, it may be a lifetime commitment, or it may just be a couple more weeks. You never know! So, it's here.

Glenn: Well, it looks good on you.

Shaw: Thank you. I've heard everything from homeless to... My kids say, "Man, you look homeless!" So I had to trim it up a bit, but anyway.

Glenn: Now, Shaw, I want to give you just a moment, what I call a shameless plug moment, where you can talk about your sponsors or anything else, or you want to say something your fans out there that maybe you're not able to do on a one-to-one basis. Anything you want to say?

Shaw: I'll tell you what, the sport is amazing and it's a great sport. The people that support us, and I don't care if it's just me, Dick's Sporting Goods and Triton and Mercury, and all the rest of the sponsors, but if you look at any of the professionals and you see them with a logo on there, that means these companies are taking their time and effort and money, supporting the fishing industry, we need to support that as an overall. Don't get into petty little stuff. This is a great industry, great people involved into it. Support the sponsors that help this industry, and you'll continue to grow this industry, and that's really important.

Glenn: Absolutely, absolutely. Well, Shaw, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us today. Good luck out there, and we'll see you on the trail!

Shaw: Thank you.