Keri May, co-owner of BassResource.com, spent a day on the water with Shaw Grigsby posing questions that members from our forums submitted for Shaw to answer. Here is part 8 of a nine-part series where Shaw answers every single one of them! In this episode, Shaw talks about hunting, tournament etiquette, and his fishing tips!
Keri: So we know you hunt.
Shaw Grigsby: I love it.
Keri: You like to fish for tarpon.
Shaw: I bow hunt.
Keri: You bow hunt? Really? Okay. The question is, what do you do in your spare time? A lot of it we already know.
Shaw: I bow hunt.
Keri: I bow hunt.
Shaw: I fish so that I can bow hunt. That's precisely what the deal is. I fish, and my spare time is bow hunting, and that's the deal if I can do it. I film my TV shows. That's not spare time. That's work. When I finally get some days off, and it's usually in the fall, I bow hunt. Now, if I get some days off and it's in the spring, usually in January, this is the first year I haven't been able to do it, but usually, I'm fishing a week solid every day in January and getting tuned up for the season.
I get on the spawning fish and the sight fish and watch them, and I just get dialed in on fishing. Then the season starts, and everything falls into place. This year I had no time and no opportunity. I didn't have a boat, so I didn't have any opportunity to go fishing in the spring. And it was a great spring. They were crushing them. FLW at Okeechobee took over 100 or 108 pounds for four days.
Terry Scroggins finished 4th with 100 pounds. You're looking at just monster stringers when you're catching 25-pound bags a day at Okeechobee. You go to Toho, and they're catching 25, 28, and 30-pound stringers, and I missed it all. Usually, that's my deal. When I get time off at fishing time, I'll fish. But if it's the fall, you'll catch me in a tree with a bow in my hand.
Keri: You hunt deer.
Shaw: Deer. I like hunting anything with a bow, but we have wild hogs in my yard. I hunt those 365 days a year I get to do that. The turkey is the turkey season in the spring, and the deer is most of it. I love elk hunting. I used to go every year and haven't been there in a few years. I don't have the money to do that. I got in a deer lease that's special. It's something that my son and I can do together. I don't know how long we'll be in it, but it's one of those things that I love. It's just an enjoyable, passionate deal to go out there.
They just found the shed. My son had this giant deer, probably low 160s at 40 yards, and the club rule is you don't take a shot at him until 30; basically, it's a 30-yard pin, so 30, 33, 35 you can shoot them, but 30 yards is what we try to do with your bow because you get pretty much 100% recovery. Anyway, he had it at 40, and it just turned and was coming right to him. The deer came out way down the bottom end of a field. If it had come out five minutes later, Shaw would've killed it. It was a big giant deer.
It would be the biggest deer of his life. He hunted him every day, the whole season, and finally got him at 40, and the deer turns and walks away. He was crushed, but they just found his sheds, and they measured it, and it'll be a low 160 deer. It's impressive, and who knows how big it will be next year, but it's impressive. Hopefully, he'll get the shot next year. I can do it with the family together, and we love it. We come in each day, and we talk about our experiences, and of course, you're texting out there.
This is there, and this is there. Sometimes you get pictures and videos. You got a deer walk underneath your stand, and I'm videoing him like that and then watch him go, and he's like, I know something is wrong, and then I turn around and take my iPhone and send the video to my son. We have fun. It's just a great family deal. If I can get back to elk hunting, I will. I got invited for this next year in Colorado. I will do everything I can to do it, but I don't think scheduling will allow it, so TV shows and all that. Business has got to take a little bit of precedence, unfortunately.
Keri: So, give us a day in the life of Shaw Grigsby?
Shaw: Sleep, wake up.
Keri: Don't we all?
Shaw: I generally wake up at 7:00 something every morning, and I'm not a morning person. I hate getting up early for tournaments, but simultaneously, you see some incredible sights when the sun comes up in the morning. The mornings I'll be sitting there, and it's a cool morning in the spring, and you'll see these little tornadoes of fog on the water, and they're just spinning around you, and it's just cool, and you'll see some magnificent sunrises. The whole world comes to life, and you're out there fishing, and it's nice.
But do I like it? No. If I'm home and I don't have a tournament, you will not find me watching the sun rise unless I'm hunting. The only time I'm willing to get up is hunting and then tournament competition or practice for a competition. I'll wake up, read the paper or grab a bite to eat. Then it's either I'm doing production stuff and getting ready to film or going here or there, or I'm doing a deal for sponsors, or we're going to fly here to do seminars and sports shows. So there's always something keeping you grounded and doing this or that.
Keri: How do you balance it with family, your wife, and being away?
Shaw: At first, we struggled with that. There was a real problem. She didn't expect that as my career took off, I'd be gone a lot and all that stuff. The good thing is she is so much of the business. She's Shaw Grigsby as much as I'm Shaw Grigsby. She does a lot of my booking, a lot of my stuff, all of the taxes, all the business stuff, so we're partners. Not just life partners, we're business partners, we're partners. So in every situation, she's a part of that, so she's never been excluded. It's not like this is my business, and then I'll see you when I get home, and I do everything, and she doesn't. No, she's very much a part of it. When they say your wife is your better half, in this case, she's my way better half. I definitely over-married.
Keri: That's great, though. You're lucky.
Shaw: She has done a marvelous job of raising the kids because I haven't been around. Now we have a grandson coming tomorrow, and I can't wait to see him.
Keri: Really? Congratulations.
Shaw: He just turned four on the 13th, Sunday.
Keri: Oh, how cool.
Shaw: He is a handful. He's my fishing buddy, my hunting buddy, he's my buddy, and he's going to enjoy the Classic this year.
Keri: That is wonderful. Cool.
Shaw: Especially if grandpa Shaw would ever catch a fish, but grandpa Shaw might not catch a fish.
Keri: Catch a fish. They're here. I can feel it.
Shaw: This is gorgeous water now. We've come into 57-degree water, 58, and it's getting clean and clear, dead-end canal again. Everything is right. There goes one. Look at that. There goes a nice bass. He's just swimming with it.
Keri: I told you.
Shaw: That's one. We'll put a little waypoint here.
Keri: Can you see him?
Shaw: I'll see if I can't bring him to the top.
Keri: There he goes.
Shaw: He was probably about two-pounder.
Keri: I told you. Good job. There's one right there.
Shaw: So I'm okay on my bait selection.
Shaw: I'm okay with what I'm doing, and the question is, is this the only place because this is a dead-end pocket, or can I find them in that dead-end and that dead-end, and you can see how the water clarity is really getting to be what I like. It's not clean, but it's not mud. We were in mud, and here we're getting some clean stuff. So what would be cool is to get one or two more bites, and I'll be happy.
Keri: In your opinion, what's the number one mistake the weekend angler makes?
Shaw: You could answer that a thousand ways.
Keri: Sure. You bet you can.
Shaw: Probably what I was telling you earlier about watching the guys, and these are not weekend anglers. These are Classic competitors, and seeing how they dissect the water. I think sometimes it's fishing too fast. I see many weekend guys not confident in what they're doing, so they'll fish this bait, and they'll fish it for 5 minutes, and it's like, okay, they're not biting, then I'll change. They've got that change syndrome. Got to find the right bait, got to find the right bait.
As a professional, you learn. Just like today, I've fished for two hours, probably before my first bite, but I've stuck primarily with a jig. I'm not questioning whether they're going to bite the jig. I know that I know that. I don't have to think. I know that I don't have to think about that. When you look at a lot of the weekend anglers, they question what they're doing. Am I doing right? Do I have the right bait? Is this the right line?
So get your two or three baits that you're really confident in and learn them, a jig, a spinnerbait, a crankbait, you can cover a lot of stuff with that. You know, tube, drop shot, something like that. You've pretty much got it covered. You can go from ultra light and heavy and catch all the fish in between. You look at Skeet Reese. He's a crankbaiter. He loves crankbaits. He catches a lot of fish on those little crankbaits and catches enough.
He has to change every now and then but obviously catches enough to where he's angler of the year or almost angler of the year for two years, never on his record. The point being is Rick Clunn made a career out of throwing little crankbaits. Just killing them and catching them, and he did some spinnerbaits and stuff, but his real deal is crankbaits. You can find a few techniques that you're comfortable with. You see people like Denny Brauer or Tommy Biffle. A number of those guys throw jigs. I mean, there's a handful of guys they throw a jig. You can learn a few techniques and then have confidence in what you're doing. You won't be changing all the time and spending your time trying to find that special lure. That's an excellent piece of advice.
Keri: There's been a lot of talk about spot ownership, especially in the smaller tournaments. Is there a problem? Has anybody ever come up and run over the top of you?
Shaw: Oh yeah. It happens to everybody. In the old days, it was really cool. It was exceptional the sportsmanship we had. Ray would stress that, and everybody adhered to it.
I remember fishing in a tournament, one of the Superstars tournaments in Peoria, Illinois, and I'm fishing in a lake; I don't remember the name of the lake, but I'm catching them on a spinnerbait. I finished, I don't know, third, fourth, whatever, but I had an opportunity to win it. Guido was fishing the same deal. He would come down to a tree, and we'd meet, and then he'd turn around, and I'd go back. We never crossed each other. We never worried about it. We knew that was it.
We played with each other. At one point, he had a bank across the deal, and I'd be sitting there fishing, and I'd have a big crowd of people around me, and I'd go, man, "Guido's killing them over there," so they'd all go over to Guido. Twenty minutes later, Guido would say, "Shaw is killing them over there," and they'd all come back over to me, so we'd mess with each other. But it's one of those things to have fun, and it was one of those things where you could take a pee, at least when you got them all away. But it was fun. That's honor and stuff.
I don't have blame for it, but there was another tournament circuit start-up, and they didn't stress that sportsmanship. They felt that if you were fishing a spot and had found it too and another guy had found it, he had the right to fish as you did—that kind of hurt the sportsmanship end. Now you get a lot of guys that pull in. It's part of life now, so you deal with that now that we didn't have to in the early years. In the early years, there was kind of an unwritten rule. I remember the years that if I didn't catch them and I got paired with you, or I got paired with a guy, and he's doing good, I wouldn't even ask about fishing out of my boat.
I'd say, okay, you're catching them, I'm riding with you, good luck, and I hope you win it. I got paired with Denny Brauer when he was winning a tournament on Rayburn, and I just climbed in the back of the boat and said let's go. That's the honor that we had. That was when we fished as competitors against each other in the boat. Now everything's on your own. There's still a lot of good sportsmanship. There's a lot of guys that aren't going to come in on you, and then there's a few guys that won't even question it, they'll be right there. You have to sometimes push them off your trolling motor or something.
Keri: So tell me about your rods and reels, preferred brands?
Shaw: Quantum. I've been with Quantum my whole professional career. They make tremendous equipment.
Keri: You don't mind if I take some shots here?
Shaw: No. You don't have my rod and reel out there, unfortunately.
Keri: We'll get a picture of it when we get back.
Shaw: Well, I didn't put it out because it's got my number one bait on it, and I just don't have it out.
Keri: And what's that number one bait?
Shaw: We aren't talking about it. It's a jig.
Keri: It's a jig.
Shaw: It's a jig.
Keri: And what kind of jig is it?
Shaw: It's just a jig.
Keri: And what color is it?
Shaw: It's a jig. I've got two of them in there, one's black and blue, and one's like a green pumpkin, but two jigs stay in there and are coming out on tournament day. They're just a jig. Real similar to this, but not quite. This is more of a flipping jig, and it's a little bit lighter, more of a casting jig, so you can pitch it around, cast it, and do a lot of cool things with it.
Keri: What kind of rods?
Shaw: Zebco Quantum Shaw Grigsby. PT Tour Edition. These are Kevin's; these are crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Kevin VanDam, and that one is a Hackney. The gray one and Smoke is the bomb. That is the reel that I just absolutely have fallen in love with. It's not the most pricey, the KVDs are the most pricey, but the Smoke is light and just everything.
Keri: It's a nice-looking reel. So talk to me about hooks. This is your favorite hook?
Shaw: Absolutely. I've got a number of them. The TK190 and the TK130 are mainstays, and the TK110 and 120 are mains. Those are all TroKar hooks.
Keri: I love TroKar hooks.
Shaw: They're all extremely sharp. The TK190 is the hook we designed, the old HP hook, a high-performance hook that we designed back in the late '80s. A friend of mine, Tommy Clark, designed it. We modified, and worked on it, we got a few features right and got it to where you get a bite, you set the hook, and you've pretty much caught every fish. It still, to this day, sells very, very well. They decided to put it into their line of TroKar hooks, which was exceptionally nice of them.
Their tube hook is what they call it, and it is. It's superior for tubes and grubs, but it's good for flipping, pitching, craws, and any soft plastic. It's the best hook. I'm trying to get them to upsize it to get a 5/0, 6/0 in it would be tremendous. I may not use any other hook if I've got that one in there. That's the TK190, TroKar 190 tube hook. Then there's the TK130, which is what you're looking at right here on this one, and that's also on this flipping stick there.
It's the big, wide gap, heavy wire flipping hook, straight shank. Beautiful flipping hook. It's just devastatingly effective. You catch a high percentage of them on it, so those are my two main ones. Then if I'm drop shotting, it's a TK110, like a 1/0. That's for drop shotting when you have a hook buried Texas style, so that's you're in and around cover.
Even a lot of times, I just like that hook so much that I'm getting to the point where I'm not necessarily nose-hooking. If I nose hook, it's the TK150; that's the drop shot hook they have that's another TroKar razor sharp little nose hook, octopus style hook. Then sometimes I use the big TK120, it's a beefy extra wide gap hook with a 90-degree kind of a Z bend on the front to hold your bait on and all that, but I prefer using the 130 and the 190, probably more than anything. Those are my biggies.